But who is watching the watchers?
December 1, 2014 11:02 AM   Subscribe

Nearly two years after the Numbered Air Force Commander overturned the court-martial conviction of a fighter pilot for sexual assault, the Chief Prosecutor for the Air Force has retired and joined the advocacy group devoted to changing the way the military prosecutes these crimes. His decision to retire was based, in part, on continuing clashes with senior Air Force judge advocates regarding his positions on how the military treats survivors of sexual assault and a downgraded performance review (denied by the Air Force) as a result of his conversations with members of Congress about how the military prosecutes these kinds of crimes. In the meantime, the Commander who overturned the court-martial conviction has retired (minus one of his stars) and the Inspector General who went on social media to express his "bitterness" with the situation and whose own handling of sexual assault cases has come under fire is still in his position overseeing military discipline.
posted by youdontmakefriendswithsalad (11 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
 
In case you're wondering what a Numbered Air Force is.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:33 AM on December 1, 2014


It seems the Air Force is even worse than the other armed services due to its unique dependence on a small fraction of its members who happen to be pilots and are therefore almost impossible to replace. Maybe someday the increasing prevalence of highly automated aircraft and drones will reduce this problem.
posted by miyabo at 12:13 PM on December 1, 2014


My understanding is that the AF academy has basically become a hotbed of conservativism (maybe linked to all the megachurches in the area) but I wonder if the fundamental culture at the Academy is enshrining a boys will be boys attitude that allows predators to operate pretty much unchallenged.
posted by vuron at 12:28 PM on December 1, 2014 [4 favorites]


There was a post here a couple of months back which I now take as the Rosetta Stone for understanding this dysfunction. It quoted a police sexual assault investigator who said that 90% of the cases are phony. That's the attitude where any reform needs to start its fight. This is why the victim is victimized. This is why the institutions are so reluctant to "ruin someone's career." Until they believe every case must be taken seriously, they are not going to reform.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 12:30 PM on December 1, 2014 [3 favorites]


I wonder if the fundamental culture at the Academy is enshrining a boys will be boys attitude that allows predators to operate pretty much unchallenged.

A female friend of mine who went to the AF academy and later did a stint as a JAG with the AF said that the men tended to be super, super conservative, and the women were very, very liberal.
posted by joyceanmachine at 12:33 PM on December 1, 2014 [2 favorites]


To clarify for anyone who isn't clicking through every link, the "bitterness" the IG was expressing was not over the the overturning of the conviction, but that the Commander who overturned the ruling retired with a slap on the wrist. The IG wrote that he was concerned "that political pressure on commanders to prosecute sexual assaults will result in ‘significantly tilting' the balance of justice that we all hold so dear."

So the real question is obviously how Air Force Generals -- clearly a quailing and spineless group -- will resist the "political pressure" to... take sexual assaults seriously?
posted by Panjandrum at 12:43 PM on December 1, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'd be much cooler with enduring all the extinction spasms of American racism and sexism if the spasmers didn't have almost all of the most advanced military weaponry in the world.
posted by srboisvert at 12:50 PM on December 1, 2014 [6 favorites]


... the balance of justice that we all hold so dear."

That sounds like it could be set to music.

Who's we, kemosabe?

Having dealt with the JAG on other matters, and knowing that their primary motivation is to screw anybody any which way they can, I can tell you the feeling in this house is Fuck the Air Force
posted by BlueHorse at 1:32 PM on December 1, 2014


There was a post here a couple of months back which I now take as the Rosetta Stone for understanding this dysfunction.

This one, I bet.
posted by rtha at 2:34 PM on December 1, 2014


There was a post here a couple of months back which I now take as the Rosetta Stone for understanding this dysfunction.

This one, I bet.


Damn it rtha. I got all upset reading that post the first time around. Now I foolishly followed your link and got upset all over again.
posted by notreally at 3:30 PM on December 1, 2014


The IG wrote that he was concerned "that political pressure on commanders to prosecute sexual assaults will result in ‘significantly tilting' the balance of justice that we all hold so dear."

I'm a serving military officer (reserves), a seventh-generation U.S. servicemember, and the child of a retired JAG officer, and I honestly cannot figure out what in the ever-loving olive-drab fuck the IG is talking about. The rapist was convicted by a jury of his peers* and the general** flat-out said, "Nah, he doesn't look like a rapist."***

* -- A term that in courts-martial means a lot more than it does in the civilian world, as they literally choose juries from the defendant's approximate rank, which means they're the defendant's approximate age and likely a racial and socioeconomic match rather than 12 random people who couldn't get out of jury duty.
** -- Who did not, let us recall, ever go to law school.
*** -- The rapist does (I'm sure coincidentally) look a lot more like the general than does the survivor.

posted by Etrigan at 4:25 PM on December 1, 2014 [9 favorites]


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