Tuesday, June 19, 2012

These are the Attitudes that Poison the Fleet (See comments below)

 This was the article.. a very good one I thought.. and God Bless Jackie Speier..  What got me, was the comments after the article that shows EXACTLY why this problem still exists.
My own comments to follow...

U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., was to ask the House Armed Services Committee to investigate the sexual misconduct scandal at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland. "What is being uncovered at Lackland flies in the face of what we are being told by our military," Speier said. Photo: Justin Sullivan, Getty Images / 2011 Getty Images

U.S. rep calls for Lackland hearings

Updated 11:44 p.m., Sunday, June 17, 2012

A San Francisco Bay Area congresswoman was expected to send a letter today to the House Armed Services Committee, asking for hearings on a growing sex scandal involving Air Force instructors and trainees in San Antonio.
Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., cited instances of instructor misconduct at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland that have triggered charges against four staff sergeants on the installation, home of Air Force basic training.
“What is happening at Lackland is systemic and warrants this committee's immediate attention,” a draft of the letter states. “In light of the alarming trend of sexual assault cases documented in the military as a whole, it is imperative that Congress hold the military accountable and truly implement a zero-tolerance policy in response to this problem.”
The Air Force has said more instructors are being investigated and revealed in a federal Freedom of Information Act request that 35 Lackland trainers have been yanked from their jobs for various reasons in the past 11 months. The number of those removed because of sexual conduct allegations isn't known; Air Force lawyers only have said it is fewer than half.
One former Lackland basic training instructor, Airman Peter Vega-Maldonado, told a recent evidentiary hearing that as a staff sergeant he had illicit contact with 10 women — not just one, as he pleaded guilty to in a deal that spared him from a bad-conduct discharge. The Air Force hasn't said what Maldonado did with the trainees or if they were in the all-female unit he led until commanders reassigned him three weeks into its training cycle.
“Vega will be forced to leave the Air Force but without a bad-conduct discharge,” Speier, a Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, said on the House floor. “Imagine that. Without a bad-conduct discharge.
“If the military is as vigilant as they say they are, how could such a repetitive, widespread and sickening behavior still be occurring?” she asked. “What is being uncovered at Lackland flies in the face of what we are being told by our military.”
The Air Force is saying little about the case, but Lackland spokeswoman Collen McGee conceded that “there is a problem” at the base and called it “a horrible situation,” one that commanders were trying to correct. Few details of what the Air Force was doing have been made public since Vega stunned a Lackland courtroom while testifying against a fellow instructor he claimed to befriend.
So far, the Air Force has charged Staff Sgts. Luis A. Walker, Kwinton Estacio and Craig LeBlanc with sexual misconduct with women in basic and technical training. LeBlanc is accused of being involved with two women, while Estacio is charged with seeing one. Walker faces a July 16 trial on charges of illicit contact with 10 women, including intercourse with four of them and raping one. He faces life in prison if convicted.
Other military training instructors, called MTIs, also are under investigation, though no one is saying how many. In the meantime, Gen. Edward Rice Jr., head of the Air Education and Training Command, told the San Antonio Express-News he has ordered a review of basic training.
But Speier, a vocal critic of the military's handling of sexual assault cases and Pentagon efforts to prosecute offenders, said the incidents at Lackland underscore the military's inability to deal with the problem.
Pointing to MTI assertions that they were involved in consensual relationships, she echoed sexual assault victims who say the military legal system often fails.
“It comes down to the words of the accused and the accuser: the instructor against the trainee,” Speier said in her floor speech. “In the military, this usually means the perpetrator gets off or receives a disproportionately small punishment, and the victim endures an arduous and humiliating legal process with no sense of justice at the end.”
Speier's Sexual Assault Training Oversight and Prevention Act, which she introduced in November, would take the reporting, investigation and victim care of sexual assaults away from the chain of command. An independent office consisting of civilian and military experts would hear those cases instead, with a director deciding when to prosecute.
The bill is called the STOP Act.
“The age-old problem in the military is that nine out of 10 women (Airman) Vega has now admitted to committing sexual misconduct with have not come forward because they know that the odds of getting justice is slight, and the odds of their careers being finished is great,” Speier said.
“What's happening at Lackland Air Force Base should and needs to be a wake-up call.”

and now come the comments, and myne, which I warn you will be a more then a bit snarky.  Cuz this is my blog and I get to be snarky here when I wanna be. Since I can't say what I want to these folks in the comment sections there, I'm putting it here!!!


 We can only hope the Congresswoman's STOP act dies in committee. While her bravery at the Jonestown atrocity is to be applauded, she has never served in the military and seems not understand the importance of the chain of command to good order and discipline in the services. Taking command authority away from the chain of command, as she proposes in the STOP Act, is a very bad idea.
 -Right butt head.  One doesn't have to serve in the military to know what's being done to our service people, men and women, is WRONG on soooo many levels.  They can't stop it themselves!  It HAS to be taken away.  The chain of command in this instance, isn't working.. When it IS the Commander doing it, who do you turn to???  There is no discipline in the service when it comes to MST! The STOP act may be the only thing to save them. What if it was YOUR daughter or sister this was happening to.. or worse, to YOU since one in 7 men has been raped in the military? -

The Air Force seems to be dealing with this appropriately. Investigations and courts-martial are in progress. If I recall correctly, decisions about how to proceed in sexual misconduct cases have been reserved to the Colonel (O-6) level and above. People are going to go to jail over this; as noted in the article, Walker could get life if convicted. The only reason Vega is getting off so lightly is that he struck his plea deal before he admitted to the vast majority of his misconduct; he could still be prosecuted for those other acts if other evidence (independent of his admission) is developed.
-How many never make it past reporting to get a 'well, your in the service now, men simply can't behave here because you are here so you should expect it.'  For every 1 that goes to jail, about 1000 don't.  Out of  the thousands of  reports filed last year, only 200 were convicted.  Anyone who does this and still gets out without a dishonorable and some sorta code that informs folks of WHY he was tossed out is getting off easy and unfairly I think.
Read more: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/military/article/U-S-rep-calls-for-Lackland-hearings-3640878.php#ixzz1yG8nzk7B

Oh, man...just think about a world without politicians. Now THAT would be a REAL utopia.
 -Another sensitive and heartfelt comment about the victims?  Oh... no,wait... there isn't any word there about it.. just a snarky political comment.

Sexual misconduct complaint from a politican representing San Francisco California? This has to be taken from the funny pages...right?
 -Now THAT's a useful comment.What does one thing have to do with the other???  They totally ignore anything about the article and what happened, and can only focus that she's from San Francisco.  Geesh!

Oh shut up you old bag! Let the Air Force handle their business! What we don't need is another munti-million dollar study that will state everything the AF's IG will state after their investigation. Just another waste of taxpayer money!
- Best one for last?  We've all seen how well the military does on it's own handling this.  Not one comment here has any heart to it, not a word of caring about the victims here.  Just politics and disdain about the situation.  And this, this is why this problem STILL exists I think.  What will it take for us to become decent humans to each other????

Sighs sadly.  See, see what we have to contend with???  The mind set that is out there right now?   

Myst, pointing out why things keep happening like they are, and why they have to change...
Over and out

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