military

Lieutenant General Overturns Service Member’s Rape Conviction

Lt. Colonel James Wilkerson had been convicted by a jury of abusive sexual contact and aggravated sexual assault, but Lt. General Craig Franklin used the little-invoked power of “convening authority” to overturn the decision, claiming insufficient evidence.

The Lieutenant General’s decision has warranted outrage from members of Congress. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) said “The military needs to understand that this could be a tipping point. I question whether, after this incident, there’s any chance a woman assaulted in that unit would ever say a word. … There’s a culture issue that’s going to have to be addressed here.”

Apparently in making this decision Franklin considered a “clemency package” of letters of support for the defendent, because we all know that someone whose friends say nice things about him couldn’t possibly rape anyone. All rapists are evil, soulless men in black masks who jump unsuspecting women in alleyways.

Anway, McCaskill and others are calling for an investigation by the Air Force Chief of Staff, so maybe this won’t be the end of the story.

Two U.S. Servicemen Imprisoned For Rape in Japan

The Naha District Court handed down a sentence of 10 years to Navy Seaman Christopher Daniel Browning and nine years to Petty Officer Skyler A Dozierwalker for raping a Japanese woman after attacking her in a parking lot.

The rape occurred in October 2012.

At the time, both men were visiting from Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth in Texas.

After their arrests, Lt. Gen. Salvatore Angelella, commander of U.S. forces in Japan, put troops at Okinawa’s Kadena Air Base on a curfew and apologized to the victim.

Finally, someone responds to rape by restricting what men do, not what women do—exactly the response I want out of the United States military.

Radical Woman of the Day: Anna Mae Hays

On this day in 1920 was born Anna Mae Hays, the first woman in the United States Military to be promoted to the rank of general. Graduating from Allentown General Hospital School of Nursing she joined the American Red Cross and volunteered for the Army Nurse Corps when the United States entered World War II after the events of Pearl Harbor.

Deployed to India, Hays spent over two years supporting the U.S. troops building the Ledo Road through the Burmese jungle into China. In April 1945 she was promoted to First Lieutenant, and at the end of the war she decided to remain on active duty. After the outbreak of the Korean War she was stationed at Inchon with the 4th Field Hospital, which saw over 25,000 patients.

Returning from Korea, Hays was assigned as Head Nurse of the ER at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, DC, where she was one of three nurses assigned to President Eisenhower during the 23 days he spent in the hospital for surgery; they remained friends until his death in 1969. By 1963 Hays had been promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, and in September of that year she became the Assistant Chief of the Army Nurse Corps. Four years later, having been promoted to full Colonel, she was sworn in as Chief. She would remain in that position until her retirement.

During her time heading the Nurse Corps, Hays instituted new training programs and increased the number of nurses deployed internationally, attended the signing of a law that permitted women to be promoted to the rank of general, and saw the end of a policy that automatically discharged female officers when they became pregnant. On June 11, 1970, she was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General, along with Elizabeth P. Hoisington, Director of the Women’s Army Corps. Hays retired in 1971. She is currently 92.

Mary Walker's Quest to be Appointed as a Union Doctor in the Civil War

Alexis Coe tells the story of an abolitionist surgeon eager to serve in what she was convinced would become a “war of liberation”. Denied a commission in the Union army, she took to dressing as a man, working without pay alongside less-qualified male doctors.

By 1861, the Sanitary Commission recommended amputations be conducted when a limb had serious lacerations or compound fractures, but the practice was controversial, with disconcerting mortality rates: Nearly 60 percent of leg amputations done at the knee resulted in death, while less than 20 percent survived hip-level amputations. Walker observed her colleagues senselessly amputating for want of practice. She wrote, “It was the last case that would ever occur if it was in my power to prevent such cruel loss of limbs.” She began double-checking their work, surreptitiously counseling soldiers against the surgery when appropriate. Many wrote her thankful letters after the war, reporting their limbs to be fully functional.

Great story, and the money quote is here:

The [New York] Tribune continued to criticize the military’s reluctance to recognize her efforts, asking “What ‘ism’ is more absurd than Conservatism? If a woman is proved competent for duty, and anxious to perform it, why restrain her?”

Plato Does Not Apply

Now that the Army has decided women may serve in combat situations, someone has dug up this old post on the subject by John Piper from 2007. In it, Piper expresses the following death wish:

“Suppose… Jason and Sarah were walking to McDonald’s after dark. And suppose a man with a knife jumped out of the bushes and threatened [them]. And suppose Jason knows that Sarah has a black belt in karate and could probably disarm the assailant better than he could. Should he step back and tell her to do it? No. He should step in front of her and be ready to lay down his life to protect her, irrespective of competency. It is written on his soul. That is what manhood does.”

Jenny Rae Armstrong takes this nonsense apart piece by piece, and it’s a beautiful thing.

India Enacts Harsher Punishments for Sexual Assault

Permits the death penalty in the event that an assault leaves the victim in a permanent vegetative state and outlaws types of sexual assault previously unaddressed, as well as human trafficking. There’s still progress to be made, though:

While many are applauding the new ordinances, some women’s right activists believe that the new laws don’t go far enough. For example, under the new laws it is still legal for a husband to rape his wife and service members are protected under a special law that gives them impunity.

Pentagon to Lift Ban on Women in Combat

Leon Panetta will reportedly drop the news tomorrow.

The services must now develop plans for allowing women to seek the combat positions, a senior military official said. Some jobs may open as soon as this year, while assessments for others, such as special operations forces, including Navy SEALS and the Army’s Delta Force, may take longer. The services will have until January 2016 to make a case to that some positions should remain closed to women.

The groundbreaking move recommended by the Joint Chiefs of Staff overturns a 1994 rule prohibiting women from being assigned to smaller ground combat units.

As long as military personnel of both sexes still have to get through the same boot camp and other field testing, I don’t see how all the doomsayers can worry that our armed forces will be undermined with substandard performance.

DoD Blocks LGBT Websites from Military Computers

And before you think that it’s a non-ideologically-based policy that applies equally to non-LGBT advocacy sites:

Blogs by Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, and the blog of anti-gay extremist group Family Research Council are permitted.

The Department of Defense outsources their web filtering. Time to find a new vendor.

Two Seconds, Not Two Days

A former UN division commander is trying to teach UN peacekeepers how to respond when they witness a rape in progress, because apparently the most common responses currently include walking away or pretending not to notice.

Cammaert said he also trains peacekeepers to look out for warning signs, so that rape is not just something they stumble onto but something they can actually prevent. He gave an example: “If you hear from female committees that the females are going from their IDP camps back to their village to work in the fields, but they still sleep in the forest,” he said, something is amiss. “You have to dig deeper [and ask]: ‘Why are you afraid?’”

Via Fem 2.0.