In an article entitled “New peril in war zones: Sex abuse by fellow GIs”, this gem from the New York Times:
BAGHDAD – Capt. Margaret H. White began a relationship with a warrant officer while both were training to be deployed to Iraq. By the time they arrived this year at Camp Taji, north of here, she felt what she called â€ścreepy vibesâ€ť and tried to break it off.In the claustrophobic confines of a combat post, it was not easy to do. He left notes on the door to her quarters, alternately pleading and menacing. He forced her to have sex, she said. He asked her to marry him, though he was already married. He waited for her outside the womenâ€™s latrines or her quarters, once for three hours.
â€śIt got to the point that I felt safer outside the wire,â€ť Captain White said, referring to operations that take soldiers off their heavily fortified bases, â€śthan I did taking a shower.â€ť
So the female Captain is portrayed as a victim. However, did not the Captain “began a relationship with a warrant officer”? One who was “already married”? Are these not serious breaches of discipline? Indeed, violations of the UCMJ punishable in Courts Martial?
Make no mistake as to my point here. If the WO in question committed sexual assault, he should be locked up and the key thrown away. No excuse for it, ever. But the point has been made here once before that the way to deal with the problem is to ENFORCE DISCIPLINE, and not to waste valuable training time with nonsensical feel-good stand-down sessions and mandatory training requirements that make good copy but accomplish nothing. Hammer those guilty of wrongdoing. Yes, that includes both those who commit such acts as sexual assault, and those whose breaches of conduct and orders create an even more fertile (no pun intended) environment for such occurrences than exists already. Admiral Harvey has the right idea.
So, what jumps out at you from the good Captain’s story above? She began a relationship. With a married man. She is the senior soldier in said relationship. From the temper of the story, the relationship was professionally inappropriate. But wait, there’s more:
She had dated the warrant officer when they arrived in Fort Dix, N.J., for predeployment training with the 56th Stryker Combat Team. The newly revised article of the Uniform Code of Military Justice says that â€śa current or previous dating relationship by itselfâ€ť does not constitute consent.Once at Camp Taji, a sprawling base just north of Baghdad, she grew troubled by his behavior…
She admits she continued the relationship once in theater. So, let’s count up the score. She should have been charged each time under Article 92 for violating the infamous General Order #1. She violated Article 133, having a sexual relationship with a married man, and could be charged numerous times under 134. She should have been at a Special Court Martial.
But apparently she wasn’t.
After their deployment ended in September, the officer pleaded guilty and resigned from the Army in lieu of prosecution, Colonel Smith said. Captain White said that she was satisfied with the legal outcome of her case…
And in the course of this investigation, was Captain White not found to have committed any wrongdoing?
If she was, why wasn’t she dismissed from the service? And if she was found not to have, why not? She clearly admitted as much. Have we gotten to the point of being so politically correct, or fearful of those who are, that we no longer enforce ANY rules or regulations that uphold good order and discipline? Do we expect this situation to do anything but get worse when all senior leadership is willing to do is ignore those factors that exacerbate an already serious problem?
Why does the flavor of this instance taste much like that of Major Hasan? Where’s the leadership? When it comes to enforcing discipline against those who might lodge an EO complaint, it seems we have a new motto: “Even when we know, we’ll pretend we don’t.”
Stand by for the consequences.
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- Live on Midrats 17 August 2014: Episode 241: Personnel Policy and Leadership, with VADM Bill Moran, Chief of Naval Personnel
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- Sea Control 47 – British and American Surface Warfare Officers