Chuck Hagel, Secretary of Defense Calls Sexual Assaults in the Military, a “Scourge”

Hagel speaks at West Point

While both political parties are rallying against the “scandal” involving the IRS and tax exempt status, and Republicans continue to search for one iota of evidence that the President let four American citizens die in the Benghazi attack, Chuck Hagel has spoken out about the most important scandal.  And it’s one that apparently holds no interest for our Congressmen.  The Secretary of Defense spoke out about sexual assault in the military, calling it a “scourge”.

This entire subject has been virtually ignored for many years.  The military has known of its existence for decades, and has chosen to “ignore it, and it will go away.”  Well, the time has come when its ugly head is going “full screen”.

Mr. Hagel was addressing the graduating class of the United States Military Academy at West Point Saturday.

“This scourge must be stamped out,” he said. “We are all accountable and responsible for ensuring that this happens. We cannot fail the Army or America. We cannot fail each other, and we cannot fail the men and women that we lead.”

Just as recently as May 14th a sergeant was charged with videotaping female cadets in the showers and bathrooms.  The Academy attempted to keep the upcoming charges quiet, but rumors spread, and when the media received the information, they reported the violation.

The 12 known victims were notified in March about the investigation which lasted a year.

Mr. Hagel also commented on the changes and challenges this graduating class will face.  The vast majority will not see combat, thanks to the end of the Iraqi invasion, and the winding down of the conflict in Afghanistan.  They and their families will experience less stress do to separation and fear.

“At the same time, budget constraints are forcing the Army, along with all our other services, to curtail training and cancel exercises, impacting readiness and morale,” Mr. Hagel warned.

“Meanwhile, other threats to the health and quality of the all-volunteer force are increasing, alcohol and drug abuse, suicide and mental illness, sexual harassment and sexual assault,” he added.

Mr. Hagel urged the new officers “to not just deal with these debilitating, insidious and destructive forces, but rather you must be the generation of leaders that stop it.” This challenge, he said, “will require your complete commitment to building a culture of respect and dignity for every member of the military and society.”

Complaints and accusations levied at male members of the armed forces, were and are often ignored.  If action is taken, punishment levied is often later removed, as well as having the charges expunged from his record.

The reality is, is that for every complaint filed, there are believed to be another five or more that are not.  The “silent complaint” cannot be measured accurately.  But reports from women in the military, who have chosen to make it their career choice, say they are fearful of receiving the same treatment as other’s before them.  They are frequently branded and their advancement opportunities become limited.

This is the scandal that our Congressmen should be outraged about.  These women fight alongside the men, but are allowed to be treated as unequal.  It’s another piece of proof that Congress remains the “good old white boy’s” club.

As far as the so-called IRS scandal, I don’t think anyone, any entity, should be tax exempt, including churches.  But that’s for another discussion about overhauling our antiquated tax code.

James Turnage

The Guardian Express

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