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Saturday, December 10, 2016

7 Responses to Military Justice

  1. Congress defeated the legislation that would have changed how the military approaches its epidemic of sexual assaults by removing officers from the loop of both investigation and punishment. By removing the specter of civilian oversight from this one aspect of military behavior, we can expect to see further similar decisions that will eventually result in the military becoming a force unto itself, answerable to NO civilian authority, and bringing the US one step closer to the possibility of a military dictatorship. Democracy is slowly dying.

  2. Long ago, in a different place, time and culture, an American general had an affair with the female soldier who acted as his driver. History does not record whether it was mutually consensual, whether she suffered afterward due to the humiliation of having been assaulted, but neither did she turn notoriety (because there was little attention paid to it) into money like a certain White House intern did. What history DOES record is that the free world was in grave danger, that this general, leading millions of troops (who, of course, deserved a great share of the credit), defeated a grave threat to world peace and human rights. Later, he was elected President and added to the peace and stability of the world and the American economy. He was not a perfect man, and while he initiated some of the great improvements which made us prosperous (such as the Interstate Highway System), some of them came on his watch unbidden, and all he could do, or needed to, was enforce the law in order to help (such as Brown v Topeka resulting in Little Rock High School integration).

    But that was in a REAL war (both legally declared and against a much more powerful enemy), and I doubt that General Sinclair is on a par with General Eisenhower in talent; certainly not as irreplaceable in a crisis. It is good that the culture has changed, but we need to weed out scumbags during the officer training phase, not wait until they become high-ranking and, in some cases, temporarily indispensible leaders in a national crisis.

    The legislation recently defeated in Congress might be made more friendly to the military command if it were amended to allow EITHER the commanding officer OR the civilian leadership to bring a case to trial, so that neither has a “veto” power to drop charges for sexual assault, and to allow for rescheduling a trial in the event of military necessity (with the President to make the judgement call).

    • Since we are talking about military leaders who later became president, consider the following

      “Sally Fairfax — another of the Virginia Landed Gentry who was married to a much older man – George was madly in love with her. There are letters that prove that a strong relationship between the two most surely existed.

      Mrs. Wallace (Lavenia) Vanderweaver, a well known local widow and friend of the Washingtons, was a self proclaimed long-time mistress of Washington, and spoke as if it were no secret to the community.

      Mary Gibbons — She came from British records where they made plans with John Clayford (a friend of Gibbons), an American Loyalist officer, to set up an abduction of Washington while he was at his mistresses home.
      It was stated that she was fond of the older General but quite taken with John Clayton more so.

      And finally the mother of West Ford, known only as “Venus”, a slave of his brother’s wife. Very similar to the Henning – Jefferson situation, of course the Washington family refuses the DNA testing after what happened with the Jefferson affair. Young West Ford is a carbon copy of a young George Washington in portraits. West Ford received quite different treatment than the other slaves and was afforded all kind of privileges and eventual freedom.

      George and Martha possibly grew to care for one another later on in life but seriously —-
      Washington married the very, very wealthy widowed Martha Dandridge Custis (with children), initially to heighten his social status and provide her with security.
      George did not suspend his relationship with Fairfax and the letter are dated after his marriage to Martha.
      Martha was a “Lady” in her own right, and George had best treat her like a queen.

      Of course things were different then.

      • Even more than in the 1940s. When Washington was having his fun, there WAS no United States with a UCMJ which could have prosecuted him. The organization of the Revolutionary Army was being made up as they went along, for obvious reasons. But in Eisenhower’s day, the Constitution had been in effect for 160 years, with all the bureaucracy that we know (and love?) today, and adultery WAS a punishable offense then, as now (to say nothing of “fraternization” or the not-yet-invented term “sexual harassment”). It was, in both cases, bad politics and bad stewardship of critical wartime resources to prosecute the most important general officer while the was was going on. In Washington’s case, however, there was not yet a legal basis on which to prosecute, unless the Continental Congress could have voted on it, and they had a hard time voting to fight the war itself. Eisenhower COULD have been fired by FDR (who, however, had his own legally untouchable affair), or after the war by Truman, but that was not considered important enough to outweigh his war hero status (and it would have looked like Truman was trying to eliminate an opponent of his party; the backlash could have caused a less moderate Republican — Goldwater? or was that too early? PATTON? — to be nominated to run against Stevenson).

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