In many respects, the military is destroying its strength by its obsession with the exercise of moral policing. Months ago, I wrote about the hypocrisy in the Petraeus/Allen scandal. I wrote about the hundreds of careers those two generals ruined because of their exercise of moral police in the interpersonal relationships soldiers engage in with no regard to actual military disruption. Now, Yahoo has picked it up on the front page: “Sex is major reason military commanders are fired”. It’s time command stays in their lane.
Obsession With Sex Destroying Command
There is a world of difference between preventing and prosecuting offenders of rape, and destroying careers over minor sexual harassment scenarios and consensual private sexual situations. However, for some reason, the military can’t seem to distinguish the two.
Front page news today features the case against General Sinclair. BG Sinclair is accused of actual sexual assault offenses going back years. Instances like this, and the years of abuse by Air Force instructors, need to see the inside of a courtroom. However, it has become entirely evident the military brass can’t distinguish the difference between sexual assault and sexual harassment.
Last week, the Air Force published the results of a service-wide sweep for evidence of sexual harassment — literally walking office to office around the globe. Included in the writeup: Air Force Times showing woman breast-feeding, Princess Leia Star Wars action figure, “50 Shades of Grey”, and WWII fighter jet nose art. In a time where the Air Force isn’t going to have enough money to fly planes, we are paying to fly rank around the world to inspect offices for action figures!
I don’t know if there are 4-stars that actually believe actions figures cause rape, or if they are just trying to satisfy a few congressmen, but we have entered the ridiculous. Just as absurd, is the notion that adultery with no military nexus should end the career of commanders or any soldier.
Stay In Your Lane
It’s time command focuses on what’s important and necessary to the defense of our country. Rape and sexual assault cannot be tolerated, but there is no reason to distract from our real missions to clear action figures from offices — why does the military have so many JAGs? The military spends millions every year on its sexual assault programs, and it continues to expand. The vast majority of these sexual assaults could be prosecuted by local District Attorneys and investigated by experienced local detectives. Absent a case overseas or with unique military situations, why aren’t we questioning the motives of those in charge of these prosecutions?
At the end of the day, discipline and ‘military justice’ is job security for the JAG brass. The rate of prosecution in the military far outnumbers the rate in the civilian world. Even more telling is the refusal by many JAG offices to settle cases out of court. There is a spoken policy to prosecute cases in front of juries for the benefit of training young JAGs. I was in the room when the Air Force’s top JAG, Lt Gen Richard Harding, made this very statement in front of 1200 senior JAGs, and not one flinched. Why? Because there is a culture so deeply rooted in senior leaders that there is no thoughtful consideration of justice or the best interests of military policy.
Begrudgingly, there is increased attention on the problems with the military’s obsession with sex. Perhaps, a front page Yahoo story will bring some focus on the quality of commanders run out of office because of an ultra-conservative moral authority pervasive in the military, but more likely, our military quality will continue to be denigrated by the obsessions over ridiculous distractions.