Don’t ask, don’t misbehave

by on February 7th, 2004

The Secretary of Defense has properly ordered a review of sexual assaults alleged to have committed against female soldiers in Iraq and Kuwait.

Sexual assault against women in the military – and against civilians – is an ongoing problem and certainly not confined to Iraq and Kuwait. Though it will never be eliminated entirely, the Pentagon can and should take steps to deal with it quickly as it occurs.

One investigation comes on the heels of another; the Navy’s 1991″Tailhook” scandal, the U.S. Air Force Academy scandal, sexual assault charges made by Okinawan civilians; one gets the feeling these incidents are just the tip of the iceberg.

The Pentagon is to be commended for acting quickly, realizing after the Air Force Academy scandal that a cover-up only makes things worse.

WomensENews reports –

“Though reports to criminal investigation authorities are difficult to find, a common estimate among advocates and health care experts is about one quarter of women in the military say they have been sexually assaulted during their careers.

Some might see the pervasive problem as opening the door to a discussion of women’s role in the military. But women are not the source of the problem, any more than gays are the source of “gay bashing” or discrimination.

Military leaders (and some politicians) have argued that “allowing gay people to serve openly would harm military readiness by destroying troops’ morale and disrupting order and discipline.”

Dismissing women and gays from military service is obviously not the core of the problem. Order and discipline might be better preserved by improving the conduct of heterosexual men, through swift punishment for those who choose to disrupt the order.

Some have argued that the military is not the place for “social engineering”. However, the military does a good job of teaching men and women to show respect for superior officers – teaching respect for everyone, regardless of race, gender, or religion should be a part of the training. That isn’t “social engineering”, but common sense.