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Letters: The military's sex assault problem

June 09, 2013

Re "Military on the spot over sex assaults," June 5

Two respected U.S. senators — both women — are sponsoring legislation to shift decisions on serious crimes in the military, including rape, from commanders to independent military prosecutors. The highest levels in all services, including the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, would rather not see that authority taken away from commanders.

The photo accompanying the article offers one possible reason for their position. Of the 12 military officers shown testifying to senators, only one was female. Though it's impossible to ascertain her position, it raises doubts about the fairness of a policy even being debated by a power structure dominated by members of the gender responsible for most sexual assaults.

Perhaps we'll have to wait until the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is not a man.

William A. Christer

West Hollywood

Regarding the very real military sexual assault scandal, Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) said: "The young folks that are coming into each of your services are anywhere from 17 to 22 or [23]. Gee whiz … the hormone level created by nature sets in place the possibility for these types of things to occur."

If, in a civilian rape case, an attorney used that argument to appeal for clemency, the lawyer would be laughed out of the courtroom. Rape is a crime of power and dominance, not of hormones.

Regardless if he's a soldier or civilian, an accused rapist should be fairly tried and severely punished if found guilty. Commanding officers should not have the authority to overturn convictions, and assistance should be provided to the victims.

Arch Miller



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