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View Diary: Old white man decides to leave military sexual assault decisions in the hands of old white men (175 comments)

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  •  Civilian Is Better (1+ / 0-)
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    RoseWeaver

    Yes, there are problems with the civilian justice system. The answer is not to hand them to the military justice system, but rather to fix the civilian justice system.

    If the military justice system is better, the civilian one should be changed to adopt those ways that are better. US civilian justice should be the best possible, without even the exceptions military justice must include to cope with its dedication to effectively doing grave injustices to the enemy, and the necessary sacrifice of rights by people on our own side when doing them.

    I said:

    We could start with rapes outside active war theaters treated as crimes under the jurisdiction of the local civilian police, prosecutors and judges. Outside the US subject to whatever governs non-military Americans in that foreign country.

    To be clear, Americans involved in military actions in foreign countries should be governed preferably by US law unless under control of a foreign government. And when under that foreign control, which might (depending on the circumstances of a particular war) be any time they're outside an American base, they have to be careful to abide by foreign laws, even when they're in conflict with American laws. And if that's too risky, Americans should either not be in that position, or accept that some of the casualties of war will be by foreign law.

    Until the hard to imagine day that we have no Americans at war anywhere anymore, we have to accept that making war will make it difficult for Americans to live under only American law. But because we can expect this difficulty will persist, we have to make American law apply as much as we can to Americans wherever they are, leave military justice to purely military matters, and otherwise accept that foreign laws apply in foreign countries even to Americans, even while we're at war there.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 10:46:47 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  how is it better? (0+ / 0-)

      I don't mean to be a jerk, but just saying "it's better" isn't very compelling given my own experiences.

      In what ways is it specifically better?

      Here's the next problem, if the vast majority of rapes are now tried in the civilian system, then you have REALLY inexperienced military prosecutors trying these cases in war areas.

      As for foreign/non-war countries, are you really going to be that blase?  There are many nations that have laws we would find rather unfair.  It isn't the Soldier's fault that the military has assigned them to such a nation.  Nor is it always the case that Soldier's who are accused of crimes are guilty, so I would think the idea of saying, well, too bad deal with it if you get into trouble overseas is inexplicable to me.

      We want the military to try and be responsible for those folks, under our laws...that's why we have Status of Forces Agreements that allow that to happen.  And we aren't the only ones who do that by the way.

      It certainly wouldn't hold to your standard of applying "American law to Americans."

      Second, you seem to have a misunderstanding that Military law is somehow not "American law."

      First, the military rules of evidence VERY closely track the federal rules of evidence.  A federal criminal justice participant watching a courts-martial and seeing the rulings and rules used would not be watching something anything than very familiar.

      Second, supreme court law is binding on military courts, and appellate court law is highly persuasive.  We also have our own, civilian appellate court, the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces.

      You have a poor opinion of military justice clearly, but with all due respect you've done not much to show why, or why civilian justice is better.

      Put another way, is it not possible, that the issues in the military with sexual assaults might have a lot less to do with the lawyers and judges and the actual trial process, and more to do with other areas?

      •  Chain of Command (1+ / 0-)
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        RoseWeaver

        For example, military justice is subject to intervention by military commanders, regardless of the outcome of the military justice until that point. This is of course the entire issue at hand, the subject of this article.

        Meanwhile, your defense of military justice as superior is that it's subject to various parts of civilian justice.

        As far as the risks of foreign laws applying to Americans there: that's how laws and jurisdictions work. Either Americans work out treaties with foreign countries allowing American civil law to govern Americans there, or Americans should of course be subject to foreign laws. Of course enemy countries we're invading are an exception, but American civil law should apply to all but strictly military actions.

        And if that's not acceptable, it should be an impedence to Americans going to war there. Where they can be shot by the enemy, in addition to captured and tried under their laws.

        "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

        by DocGonzo on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 04:39:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  so the answer is (0+ / 0-)

          you don't know.

          You don't think there are pressures in the civilian justice system?  You think DAs take drunk sex cases very often? Do you think they take he said/she said cases that aren't slam dunks?

          Which system currently has Congress and the media focused on it? Congress is focused on taking away the ability of the General to reverse a verdict.

          Of course, the occurrences of this can be counted on one hand out of thousands of trials a year, but there isn't a ton of resistance in fact several of the top military lawyers said, mighty fine to do it.

          You've not listed one way the justice system is worse in the military than the civilian world, yet you propose a widespread and sweeping change.

          With all due respect, you don't seem particularly knowledgeable about either the civilian criminal justice system or the military criminal justice system.

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