‘Chain of Command’ Overshadows Military Sexual-Assault Bill

Senate members remain divided over a bipartisan amendment helmed by Kirsten Gillibrand

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Senate members clashed over a proposal to allow sexual-assault victims to seek outside legal action rather than go through their military chain of command, leaving a bipartisan effort lacking enough votes to pass.

Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s proposal strips commanders of their power to prosecute sexual-assault cases. Gillibrand has support from nearly half the Senate, but opposition from the Pentagon and congressional allies — including two female Senators who are former prosecutors — has halted the proposal, the Associated Press reports.

Critics say the proposal undermines the responsibility of commanders, who should be held accountable for any incidents of sexual assault.

Gillibrand’s revision, which she says has received private support from more than 50 Senators but falls short of the 60 votes needed, is a part of an annual defense-policy bill that the Senate will consider this week.

[AP]

13 comments
ScottLRice
ScottLRice

I am a male and I was raped by another soldier for two years in the 1980's.  The command has no business being judge and jury - it should be handled by JAG officers instead.  This is not a male/female thing.  It is not even a gay thing.  There are solders that use sex as a weapon against other soldiers.  Military sexual assault is not harrasment - it is much more.  It is not a casual joke or comment.  Unlike the civilian sector, soldiers cannot just pick up a move to a new place to get away from their rapist.  Enough is enough.  To be honest, it would be best handled by DOJ or local authorities instead of the military.

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

That is what you get when you integrate people who should not be integrated. One big question never asked is females who are jilted by their male colleagues can easily sue harassment. What then ? Do males have the proper protection just like their female counterpart ? This will just destroy the morale in the military, that and the forced integration of gays.

jmac
jmac

When I volunteered as a Red Cross worker on the wards of a military  hospital at Eglin AFB in Florida, the children's ward was full of children abused by their fathers.   One child was blinded when his father threw him across the room, one child had a broken arm from abuse.   None of the fathers were going to be prosecuted.  

Military prosecutors rather than the accuser's boss obviously should have the say in who faces a trial in a sexual assault case.     This should be a no brainer and good for Gillibrand for standing up for this.  The argument that it would "disrupt discipline and undermine (the commander's) authority"  doesn't make the case.   

vstillwell
vstillwell

Why does everything need 60 votes? There are 100 Senators. Fifty one votes > 49 votes. I know some politicians these days are nothing but cable news blowhards, but this stuff is pretty simple.

roknsteve
roknsteve

As long as all males are in charge the sexual assaults will only get worse. 

RonJ
RonJ

@jmac  You lie!!  You don't know the outcome.  I was on the other side of the fense...the law enforcement at Eglin.  Every incident is reported all the way up to the 96 Air Base Wing Commander. (I was his exec)  No unit commander can shove those incidents under the rug.  You were a Red Cross worker and you would not have be privy to what happened from a legal point of view.   


Gillibrand is an idiot.  She does not understand the military justice system nor even the culture.  She didn't bother asking her own military fellow in her own office for guidance--a female military person.  She's out to make a name for herself, not to actually "fix" anything.  She's only focused on a symptom and not the cause...because she's just that clueless...just like Red Cross workers. 

RonJ
RonJ

@vstillwell Because the two chambers are different in function...one operates on a majority system the other uses the minority to prevent populist tyranny.  Not everything requires 60 votes but it does require 60 votes if there is a significant unified opposition.  Anything can pass on a simple majority.  If we do away with the filibuster, we should just do away with the entire Senate. 

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

@roknsteve As long as all males are in charge ? I thought many of the superior officers were females already. Dont know if you are a liberal or not, but liberals do tend to confuse the issue, lie and make up facts. Look at your role model Obama.

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

@RonJ Social restructuring will only destroy the finest military in the world. Liberalism and political correctness will finish it. 

jmac
jmac

@RonJ Then the nurses and doctors at the hospital were lying to me.   But I imagine it was the exact same situation back then  (1970's)  as it is now with sexual assault.   It wasn't up to the doctor to turn them in, it was up to their commander.   

Gillibrand is not an idiot.    Gillibrand:   There's a growing chorus of generals, of veterans -- the Vietnam Veterans Association, Iraq veterans, Afghanistan veterans, all support this case. And there's a panel, a DOD commission that actually advises on the status of women, handpicked by the DOD, and they have just come out to support every aspect of this legislation. 10 votes in favor. Those 10 votes, 9 out of 10 are all former military and four are generals. RADDATZ: Still a long line of generals who do not support it. GILLIBRAND: Those are the chain in command generals who may not speak publicly. 

I certainly understand the "culture" of the military.   My father was Army career and my husband was Air Force career and I worked my way through school working for the ROTC on campus.  Your anger and aggressive attitude are certainly familiar.  

jmac
jmac

@RonJ  You are wrong.  Reid has to have 60 votes for cloture to stop filibusters (to stop the 'debate' and vote).    McConnell has used and abused the silent filibuster.  

It wasn't done under Bush.  Remember  Fox repeated ad nauseum, "Give Us An Up or Down Vote" when Democrats held up a judge?    Fox could use that cry almost every day for the Democrats - if Fox were democratic.   

lordofthefly
lordofthefly

@ReneDemonteverde @roknsteve 

What is the issue? I am not a liberal or a conservative, and I think rape in our military is not acceptable. Most of the officers in command have been male - not female. But what difference would this make? Wrong is wrong.