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Panel of (white, overwhelmingly male) military leaders at Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on sexual assault.
Gee, they looked so open and forthcoming.
The military's failure to prevent or punish sexual assault adequately extends to a refusal to be transparent or accountable on exactly how bad the problem is and what policies are leading to the overall failure, Darren Samuelsohn reports. From instituting new sexual assault policies without telling Congress that it planned to do so to not releasing information on prosecutions that are occurring to taking more than two decades to set up a criminal database ordered by Congress, the military makes clear that it doesn't believe it's answerable to anyone for the appalling rates of sexual assault in its ranks—rates we still don't know the full story on, thanks to lack of transparency.

This may best convey the attitude:

But a senior military lawyer said there’s also a limit to how much the public should expect to weigh in on internal Pentagon policies.

“At the end of the day, this is not the public’s problem,” said the Pentagon attorney. “This is the military’s problem, and so there’s no stakeholder that would be brought in by vetting things along those lines.”

Sure, I don't get to walk in off the street and tell them how to do things. But Congress has oversight powers and yet can't get answers. And, more, the leadership is absolutely locking out people with a very deep interest in what's going on and a right to know how their own safety is being protected and justice ensured:
For example, the Service Women’s Action Network is battling the Pentagon in federal appeals court over a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, seeking the files on nonjudicial punishments that military commanders frequently use instead of a court-martial. SWAN’s lawsuit also asks for data on the department’s social service work with military families — a place where domestic violence reports often are made instead of to the military police.

“We’re not bringing cases about confidential informants in Pakistan. We’re talking about how our government treats its own citizens and service members on issues like internal discipline and medical care,” said Michael Wishnie, a Yale Law School professor who is representing SWAN in the lawsuits. “The question it leaves in my mind, and for a lot of people, is, what are they hiding?”

And the closer you look at it, the harder it is to conclude anything but that the military has a lot to hide when it comes to sexual assault.

Tell the U.S. Senate to take action against sexual assault in the military by passing Sen. Gillibrand’s Military Justice Improvement Act.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Wed Sep 25, 2013 at 07:45 AM PDT.

Also republished by Feminism, Pro-Feminism, Womanism: Feminist Issues, Ideas, & Activism and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  military problem= public problem (21+ / 0-)

    that is the reason the Founding Fathers made sure the CiC is a civilian and not a military type.  Even more to the point, the problems of the military in handling sexual assault reflects the problems of our society in general in dealing with the issue (albeit it seems the military's problems are our problems on testosterone)  

    Bit offthread but perhaps germane was some of the information contained in this post by PZ Myers about Pat Condell and his worldview:
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/...

    The related bit was the attempt to connect the statistic that 1 in 4 of Swedish women will be raped during their lifetime (and Condell's assertion this was due to Muslim immigration) and the discussion of how different countries define rape and even criminalize rape:
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/...
    I can find a parallel between the way different countries and cultures view rape and the difference between the way the military and academies tend to view sexual assault vs the way the larger society views sexual assault.  For example, a midshipman in being questioned about a rape was subjected to all sorts of outrageous questions about her personal sex life and advised to drop the matter lest her career be damaged.  We have not made so much progress since the "Tailhook" scandal it would appear  

    •  "Military Problems" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      alwaysquestion

      "military's problems are our problems on testosterone"

      Really?  Please tell me what large city of more than 1.4 million has a sexual assault rate lower than the military?  Just one.

      Please tell me one large college campus that has a sexual assault rate lower than the military.  Just one.  

      Even by the most generous interpretation of bad acts with a sexual component - including dirty jokes - the military is dealing with less than 1% of its total population doing ANYTHING bad.

      It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

      by ksuwildkat on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 08:26:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well...I take your point, but (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        qofdisks

        I have to believe it is  more than 1% given the unreported cases.  But whatever the rate, let's go with transparency and get it all cleaned up.  That would be the goal.

        1. What does it mean? 2. And then what?

        by alwaysquestion on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 08:58:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  1.4 million (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          alwaysquestion

          1% would be 14,000

          Actual - 3300

          It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

          by ksuwildkat on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 09:12:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Then it looks like we have 3300 assault (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            qofdisks, Yo Bubba

            victims that deserve justice.  Let's find a way to do that.

            1. What does it mean? 2. And then what?

            by alwaysquestion on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 09:40:08 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Violent agreement (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              qofdisks

              1 is too many.  But then we are talking about asking for perfection and that is unreasonable.

              I think REASONABLE people can agree that .25% is an exceptionally small number.  

              Reasonable people can agree that if your system works to the point where 99.75% are doing the right thing then it is pretty good.

              The REAL problem is what we do with those .25%.  Are we conducting fair and impartial investigations that lead to fair and impartial trials and fair and impartial punishments?  The record is mixed at best.  

              But again, lets be realistic about sex crimes as the society at large treats them.  I have yet to see a military court issue a 30 day sentence for rape.  Do we have issues?  Yes.  Is it a crisis?  Not even close.

              It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

              by ksuwildkat on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 10:40:20 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  according the Stars and Stripes, only 10% of (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            qofdisks, Militarytracy

            military assaults are reported
            http://www.stripes.com/...

            •  Ksuwildkat ain't got no time for that! (0+ / 0-)

              Reports from Stars and Stripes would require reading and then caring

            •  Dig deeper (0+ / 0-)

              The numbers they present are formal vs informal complaints.  Informal complaints include "hostile work environment" factors like dirty jokes, offensive posters/calendars etc.  

              The problem with informal complaints is that they are anonymous and there can be no follow up.  Any attempt to determine who made a complaint can result in serious punishment.

              Not mentioned here was that of the 26,000 reported last year, 14,000 were make on male.  This represented a HUGE increase in male on male reports and happened to coincide with initial discussions on ending DADT.  While it is impossible to confirm - because the reports are anonymous - there is strong circumstantial evidence that many of the male on male complaints were fake and designed to give the impression that gay soldiers were out raping poor unsuspecting heterosexuals because of Obama and Benghazi and more Obama.  Since there was not a corresponding increase in formal, not anonymous complaints of male on male assaults it makes it even more likely that there were significant shenanigans involved.  

              It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

              by ksuwildkat on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 03:37:45 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  got to commend you; you are dogged when it comes (0+ / 0-)

                to argumentation.

                However I would note that civilian authorities are tightening up loopholes in their rape statutes, such as in CA among several others.  I note no such similar movement among the military brass.  After all, I would hope the presiding judge in a civilian case would reprimand the defense attorney who had the temerity to ask a rape victim how wide she opened her mouth during oral sex  

      •  There isn't enough transparency to (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        entlord, qofdisks

        Be able to make such a claim.  Are you claiming all of our PTSD soldiers and different things happening with them and their families aren't happening?  I am glad we are finally dealing with it and no longer dumping our PTSD soldiers in the gutter.  Stuff is happening there though in on post housing that makes no newspaper, and as a community we are beginning to embrace and assist our own.  I am very grateful for this new direction.  But you are making wildly impossible claims.

        Secondly, being raped in the military and having the whole power structure work against you or question you....often with hostility, is much more damaging to a raped soldier's psyche than being raped in the civilian community.  There are so many areas for support and healing in civilian culture that do not exist in military culture.  When a rape takes place we all choose sides, and sometimes a Commander's pet rapes someone, how is a rape victim supposed to heal and soldier on in such a hostile climate they often have to live in 24/7?  And from the figures recently released, please tell me why in the Air Force the enlisted get the book thrown at them and anyone with rank is retained and receives mild punishments?  And how is anyone supposed to serve next to a fucking convicted rapist with confidence and pride?

        •  ??? (0+ / 0-)

          First off, I never said anything about PTSD so I have no idea where that came from.

          Second there are actually MORE resources available to military victims of rape because ALL of the civil services are available AND all of the military ones.  

          I could refer you to a number of college students who would disagree that rape in the military is somehow special or worse because they too have to live with their rapists.  I know some domestic help who would like to chime in.

          I cant speak for the Air Force in particular but in general punishment follows a bell curve in relation to rank.  Maybe hockey stick is a better model.  In any case, we will see if the Army will succeed in punishing BG Sinclair.

          It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

          by ksuwildkat on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 11:25:29 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  As if you have any idea of what it is (0+ / 0-)

            Like to be raped and need to recover. So you create your own reality about it. Several psychologists and psychiatrists with impeccable credentials have studies that prove otherwise about military rape victims. Not that you care.  At this point in discussion you demonstrate exactly why military commanders are in this predicament and why this authority will be removed from them, denial of reality...crazed egos...willful arrogance.

      •  well how many large cities have their mayor (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        qofdisks, Militarytracy

        or Chief of Police advising a rape victim that bringing such allegations will damage her career or bringing charges of moral turpitude against the victim?

        I think that most estimates show that women are equally at risk in both environments but that the military environment is generally more "forgiving" of such behavior by males.  I would also add many sports teams, particularly in HS, also suffer from this POV that most rapes are buyer's remorse on the female's part

  •  Seems like the military (23+ / 0-)

    needs a house cleaning.  The lawyer who said

    a limit to how much the public should expect to weigh in on internal Pentagon policies
    Should be shown the door immediately.  There's no room in the military to forget that the military is under civilian control.

    That statement, and the accompanying attitude, is unacceptable.

  •  Wait, what? (14+ / 0-)

    The military is made up of members of the public, and paid for by the public, but we get no say?  

    "The light which puts out our sight is darkness to us." Thoreau

    by NancyWH on Wed Sep 25, 2013 at 08:22:52 AM PDT

  •  Comfort Women, American Style (16+ / 0-)

    This really should not be such a goddamn issue, especially in a professional military force.  There is nothing positive at all about allowing soldiers to rape their fellows.

    Obama: self-described Republican; backed up by right-wing policies

    by The Dead Man on Wed Sep 25, 2013 at 08:52:06 AM PDT

  •  not hiding... camouflage (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Militarytracy, alwaysquestion

    Dudehisattva...

    "Generosity, Ethics, Patience, Effort, Concentration, and Wisdom"

    by Dood Abides on Wed Sep 25, 2013 at 09:07:41 AM PDT

  •  They are hiding thier utter lack of discipline. (7+ / 0-)

    I give the order to keep your hands off your fellow soldiers.

    Does it get obeyed? ... No.

    I call that a fundamental problem with force readiness.

    If you can't obey the order to keep your hands to yourself, HOW can you be counted on to charge that machine gun position?

    For a time, the penalty for sexual abuse and rape in the military needs to be SUMMARY EXECUTION.

    We are at war, the punishment should fit the crime AND serve as a real deterrent.

    •  It appears that it's a culture (8+ / 0-)

      issue that leads to "some standing orders are different than others."

      I'm living in America, and in America you're on your own. America's not a country. It's just a business.

      by CFAmick on Wed Sep 25, 2013 at 12:48:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  That's a little extreme for me:) (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      alwaysquestion, qofdisks, The Jester

      Simply because I want all soldiers humanized.  I see that as a primary problem here, and executions aren't very humanizing.  I am willing to settle for the punishments meted out in the civilian system and those found guilty no longer serving, forfeiture of all benefits.

    •  Really? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Militarytracy, alwaysquestion

      So you never speed, roll a stop sign, "borrow" a pen or otherwise do anything you are told not to do?

      You, I am sure, are a perfect human and therefore have no issue demanding perfection in others.

      So I was supposed to execute the soldier in my company who was accused of assaulting a neighbor teenager.  Only thing is security footage showed he was 8 miles away when it was supposed to happen.  Turned out they just didnt like a large black man living near them.

      And I was supposed to execute the soldier accused of rape by the girl he was having an affair with when he refused to divorce his wife and she got mad.  I guess it would have been ok since that is what she said.....right up until she recanted it all and begged him to take her back.

      But you are perfect so you would have gotten those right......

      It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

      by ksuwildkat on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 08:33:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hmmmm.... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        qofdisks
        So you never speed, roll a stop sign, "borrow" a pen or otherwise do anything you are told not to do?
        Wow.  You are working yourself pretty far away from rape, don't you think?

        So, I don't think anyone here wants YOU to execute the soldier accused of rape.  I think people want the accused to stand trial in a court of law, where the facts can be presented.  And yes, our system has failures wherein we charge innocent people as guily, which is also an issue.

        1. What does it mean? 2. And then what?

        by alwaysquestion on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 09:08:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The poster has a point though (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          alwaysquestion

          Nobody is so perfect they should be comfortable with summary execution and people are sometimes falsely accused, it was wild and inhumane to post that the penalty for sexual assault and rape should be soldier execution.

        •  Summary Execution (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          alwaysquestion

          Words mean things.  Summary executions are done on the spot.  

          From Wikipedia:

          A summary execution is a variety of execution in which a person is accused of a crime and then immediately killed without benefit of a full and fair trial.

          Just because some here is low in vocabulary skill doenst mean they shouldnt be challenged in there assertions.  

          It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

          by ksuwildkat on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 11:18:15 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I think one of two things are going on here: (4+ / 0-)

      Either they don't know how to change the culture and it's not important enough to the PTB to figure it our or they just don't care.

      I cringed when Sec. Hagel said that the forces needed to be re-trained on this issue, because, in my view, it's not a training issue.  Yes, military personnel need education around informed consent and the types of relationships that are appropriate, BUT without a concomitant transformation of the culture, nothing will change.  

      For example, if a soldier rapes a fellow soldier knowing that it's extremely unlike that any negative career impact results, let alone charges being filed or punishment exacted, this policy is a paper tiger.  It basically says, "Here's what not to do, now go ahead and ignore what we just said."

      All "training" does is let the Pentagon throw up its hands the next time this happens (and there will be a next time), and say, "Well, we trained them!"  

      •  the culture of alcohol is one thing (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LSophia, qofdisks

        that needs to be changed--that would take care of a percentage of rapes, and it also makes me queasy that an inebriated soldier has so much access to guns and ammo.  But, when my husband was in the service, the guys only got into drunken fistfights.

    •  Not execution but, kicked out and subject to (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Militarytracy, The Jester

      prosecution.
      Keeping hand to self is unrealistic.  The military needs to have protocols for sexual relations that are realistic, not puritanical.  Allow people to have sex with permission and strict protocols.

  •  They could do it, but.... (7+ / 0-)

    The military cannot deal honestly with sexual assault in the ranks without compromising its unwritten policy of compartmentalization.  Anyone interested in advancement knows better than to bring bad news to his or her superior.  This keeps the superiors somewhat isolated from the problem and gives them plausible deniability.

    Following the My Lai massacre in Vietnam, letters were written by eye witnesses and submitted "up the chain."  Those letters made it no further than the desk of Army Major Colin Powell, who concluded that further investigation of the alleged atrocity was not warranted.  The rest is history.

    Where guns go, stupid seems to follow.

    by mojave mike on Wed Sep 25, 2013 at 01:22:39 PM PDT

    •  Really (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      qofdisks

      So all those years of being told "bad news doesn't get better with age" was just BS.

      All those times Ive seen people fired for NOT telling the boss the bad news until its too late were just for show?

      The only person I have ever known who got fired for delivering bad news was was MG Taguba.  He wrote the Abu Ghraib report and was fired by the SecDef.

      It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

      by ksuwildkat on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 08:36:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Shinseki got fired too (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        glitterscale, qofdisks

        For telling the boss the bad news before it was too late

        •  Not bad news (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          qofdisks

          but disagreeing with the "good news."  THe boss was selling war on the cheap.  General Shinseki disagreed and said it would be expensive.  

          It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

          by ksuwildkat on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 08:54:04 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Parse much? (0+ / 0-)

            So it wasn't good news, but it wasn't bad news, was it Fox News?

            •  Not at all (0+ / 0-)

              Secretary White got fired for the same thing.  Not for hiding bad news from the boss but for telling the boss news he didnt want to hear.  Getting fired for disagreeing with the boss is not really unusual.  If you are not on board, time to get off the ship.

              SecDef Gates fired the Chief of Staff and Secretary of the Sir Force for slow rolling UAV pilot training.  He said what he wanted done and they disagreed.  He told them he didnt care about their disagreement, get it done.  They decided to slow roll him and when he found out he fired them both.  Disagreeing with the boss.

              The OP stated that people in the military attempt to hide bad news from their boss because that is the way to get ahead.  I have never seen that work out well for the person hiding the news while I have seem people do just fine while delivering bad news to the boss.  

              It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

              by ksuwildkat on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 11:08:18 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  I'm certain there are many more instances too (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        qofdisks

        Of commanders going after individuals bringing to light things that they hinted at that they did not want light to be placed on.

        All of life is political, even military life.

      •  Now I'm curious -- (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        qofdisks

        not that I'll ever know the answers:

        How many people in the military are "fired" for " telling the boss the bad news"?

        and

        How often is bad news not reported upwards for fear of reprisal?

        Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

        by corvo on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 08:45:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Daily (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          qofdisks

          Now remember being "fired" in the military is a bit different.  You lose the job you are in and get pushed into something crappy but you still get paid.  Actually sometimes people wish they could get fired like a normal job because they dont want to be there anymore.

          I knew a guy who was on track to go to a high speed job as an Army researcher.  He failed to let the boss know about something bad that happened and next thing he knew he had been reassigned as OIC for a range in the middle of know where.  He was out of the Army a few years later.  Miserable years.

          It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

          by ksuwildkat on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 09:06:59 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Ahh. What kind of bad thing was it? (0+ / 0-)

            Was it the kind of thing that would've made the brass look bad?

            Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

            by corvo on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 09:17:32 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Tank rounds (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              qofdisks

              His unit went to the range.  They came off the range and failed to clear all the unexpended ammunition from their tanks.  Two tanks had nearly full semi ready racks.  He attempted to cover it up rather than just being open about the mistake.  He was not very good at covering things up.  When the fecal matter hit the rotating blades it went badly for him.

              I knew another commander who was a kill the messenger type.  He was especially hard on the logistics folks.  Eventually they started giving false maintenance reports.  He stopped yelling at them and Division was happy that his maintenance was so good.  That was all good until the day he got told to move his unit.  Then he found out that instead of 48 functional tanks he had 14.  It went badly for him and his staff.

              It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

              by ksuwildkat on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 11:14:02 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Ah, so both of your examples demonstrate (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Militarytracy

                that covering the brass's a$$ is what it's all about.

                Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

                by corvo on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 12:40:51 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  Volunteering means informed consent (6+ / 0-)

    If information about what one can expect in the military is witheld, then a troop could reasonably argue that their was a lack of voluntariness when they joined the military.  Who would have their sons and daughters join an organization that cannot and will not transparently address the issue of systemic enablement of sexual misconduct

  •  Soldiers are still citizens (6+ / 0-)

    Numerous legal cases over recent years have set this precedent in other areas.  So I find the military lawyer attempting to section off "the military" from society in general where sexual assault is concerned to be laughable.  A raped soldier is a raped citizen and the military is an institution, not a separate country.

    In the military we are constantly told to participate in our communities so soldiers don't end up dehumanized and unknown to civilians.  Common sense too.  But it is infuriating to me that the Pentagon wants you civilians to humanize soldiers while they step out cleanly and briskly flaunting dehumanizing raped soldiers!

  •  That it is ok with the brass nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    alwaysquestion

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 08:13:18 AM PDT

  •  Not the public's problem? (6+ / 0-)

    Are you fucking KIDDING me?  What a fucking jackass.  No one with an attitude like that should be in public service of any kind.  You wanna think like that, go work at some crackpot conservative think tank that isn't answerable to anyone but their corporate masters.  Dickhole.

    "Give to every other human being every right that you claim for yourself." - Robert G. Ingersoll

    by Apost8 on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 08:14:16 AM PDT

  •  The public pays for the military, right? (7+ / 0-)

    So it is the public's problem. A military that believes it's not accountable to the public it's supposed to protect eventually believes it should rule the country instead of the other way around.

    •  Public health care (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      alwaysquestion

      so if someone is on public health care then you should be able to know what they are being treated for?

      And if someone is on public food assistance you should be able to examine their shopping receipts?

      And since they are on those two you should be able to find out if they are doing unhealthy things like taking drugs so you should be able to test them for drugs?

      Careful what you ask for.........

      It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

      by ksuwildkat on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 08:46:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sen. John McCain said he couldn't recommend to (5+ / 0-)

    any woman to join the US military because of the rape epidemic.

    The enemy of US female soldiers are their fellow soldiers.

  •  Don't ask ..don't tell (4+ / 0-)

    Is a communication style that runs deep up and down the chain of command.  The military is blinded by its culture.

    If cats could blog, they wouldn't

    by crystal eyes on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 08:16:57 AM PDT

  •  Even worse (4+ / 0-)

    Bad enough if the military was trying to hide something, but the reality is far worse.  They don't have to hide anything.  We've set up a system in which the military is not accountable.  Something to hide or nothing to hide, either way they don't want mere outsiders like Congress poking into their business.  

    And they don't have to put up with what they don't want.  The military has a much higher public approval rating than Congress.  We're not going to get anything more confrontational out of Congress than, "Thank you for your service!".

    The states must be abolished.

    by gtomkins on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 08:19:04 AM PDT

  •  "At the end of the day, this is not the (7+ / 0-)

    public’s problem".

    Dear US Military,

    Your organizations are the sole and exclusive property of the American People, and solely exist to serve their ends. As such, your problems are by definition their problems.

    Do try not to forget this.

    Signed,
    The people who pay your salaries

    Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

    by Robobagpiper on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 08:23:23 AM PDT

    •  And we have no guarantee that (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lissablack, alwaysquestion, qofdisks

      Military service will always be volunteer.  Draft was talked when our forces became broken due to Iraq.  Military policy is under civilian control, the sons and daughters of civilians may have to serve in this system at any time of emergency.

      •  Correction (0+ / 0-)

        women cant be drafted yet.........

        It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

        by ksuwildkat on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 08:47:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  How long will that stand if a draft is instituted? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          alwaysquestion, qofdisks

          The only reason why that discrimination hasn't been addressed is because a draft hasn't been recently instituted.  Women can serve legit in combat roles now.  So how do you propose you will only draft sons before that big ole discrimination lawsuit slaps you in the head?

          •  Women serve in the Israeli forces (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            alwaysquestion, qofdisks

            So good luck with that fantasy :)

            •  and that matters how? (0+ / 0-)

              the facts are that RIGHT NOW women are not subject to registration with the Selective Service

              It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

              by ksuwildkat on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 09:38:44 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  It sets another precedent (0+ / 0-)

                You are attempting to tell folks they don't have to worry about their drafted daughter being raped, and that is not true if we crossed that threshold.

                Just because the threshold hasn't been crossed yet doesn't mean we ignore the precedent being set that will draft our daughters.

                •  WTF? (0+ / 0-)

                  I never once said anything about not worrying about being raped.  Stop making crap up.

                  As far as precedent the US military has never and likely will never care about how other militaries conduct themselves.  On the other hand LOTS of militaries attempt to mirror the US military.  If anyone sets precedent it is the US military.  The abandonment of the draft by the US military was revolutionary at the time and yet most countries are now all volunteer.  If anything Israel is on the wrong side of history with the draft.

                  It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

                  by ksuwildkat on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 11:30:32 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  This is bull too (0+ / 0-)

                    One of the biggest incentives to lifting don't ask don't tell was close service with our NATO allies in Afghanistan who aren't goofy homophobic.  We looked like a bunch of bumpkins next to them and rightfully so.  You are crazy arrogant to think we don't pull from the successes of other militaries...but whatever.  I'm beginning to think you are just flat out crazy arrogant period....

                    •  Fun because (0+ / 0-)

                      most of those allies you talk about all had bans in prior to DADT being instituted and simply took a bigger step than we were willing to.  With the exception of the Dutch, they followed OUR lead.  Had Al Gore been able to carry his home state of Tennessee or the state of Vermont DADT would have been lifted in early 2001.  

                      DADT was simply putting into force what was already the de facto way.  I served with a number of gay soldiers in the 80's.  I wont go so far as to call them "open" or out but they sure as heck were not hiding.  EVERYONE - including the Commander and 1SG - knew and NO ONE CARED.  They did their job and kept their private life private.  The medical world was so gay (for men) that nurses used to openly complain about the lack of available partners.  A straight guy at a hospital was a very lucky guy.  Gay women tended to be in Signal and Ordinance in the Army.  

                      It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

                      by ksuwildkat on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 12:16:05 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Oh...you served in the perfect military (0+ / 0-)

                        And not that one where a gay soldier rubbed someone the wrong way in the 80s and was suddenly in trouble and out, or a gay soldier inherited a homophobic commander who insured his/her career was soon over.  Now I know you are full of shit :)

                        •  I didnt say that at all (0+ / 0-)

                          Some commands were worse that others.  Some services worse than others.  The Air Force has always been particularly hostile to gays while the Navy had a well earned reputation for being relaxed about what happened on the ship.  The Army did ok prior to DADT but then seemed to go out of its way to pound people who were not careful with the dont tell part while ignoring the asking part.

                          Like just about any other thing if you were left an opening by doing something stupid you got hammered.  I had a couple of soldiers who were swingers.  No one wanted to dig into that.  But then once they got in trouble for something else it was game on with the lifestyle.  You can be an alcoholic in the military and as long as it doesnt impact performance its all good.  But screw up at work and we make it all about your drinking.  And yes, gay soldiers in the wrong command had it pretty bad.  

                          About a year after I left my first command I found out I had the "gay" company.  Both my 1SG and I were from Northern California and we were known as "gay friendly."  Little did they know I just have the worst gaydar on the planet.  I never agreed with DADT but it was the rule and I would have enforced it had anyone "told."  Lucky for me - and my soldiers - my wife and my 1SG let it be know that I was stupid, not accommodating and no one "came out" to me until after I was no longer their commander.  By then it wasn't my problem.

                          It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

                          by ksuwildkat on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 12:57:04 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  You just lined out exactly why commanders (0+ / 0-)

                            Cannot have the authority of God.  Because none of them are the same God and it destroys morale when soldiers cannot have faith in such a crazed system of authority.

                          •  Im going to guess (0+ / 0-)

                            that you have never commanded anything.

                            It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

                            by ksuwildkat on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 02:42:14 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I am going to guess (0+ / 0-)

                            You haven't commanded anything other than maybe....maybe....maybe a unit a hundred social light years ago!

                            If you really mean to do any commander a good turn in the crisis they are currently facing you need to stop pretending you were any sort of meaningful commander and get off dailykos.  Not kidding, you are only helping them lose this discussion!

                          •  shove it (0+ / 0-)

                            how about you take your suggestion I leave kos and shove it.  After you do that you can go back to being a bitter, uninformed little person.

                            It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

                            by ksuwildkat on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 09:26:57 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I don't think you need to leave dailykos (0+ / 0-)

                            Entirely.  I think it might do you some good to read and interact.  On the subject of the sexual assault crisis in the military though you seem light years socially behind today's military social structure.

                            I don't know if you watched the Congressional hearings on this issue, I did and your attitude and arguments about this crisis are archaic. If the top commanders adopted your public attitude about the crisis at hand they would have already lost all debate on this. So you aren't doing them any favors trolling Daily Kos diaries about military sexual assault.

                      •  I just reread your comment (0+ / 0-)

                        And if you were a commander and you have any current commander friends, expect an email any minute to get your ass off Dailykos as you are proving Jackie Speier 100% correct in everything she claims is broken in our military system.  Seriously, you are a douche!  the medical world was so gay...

                        You are a jackass!

    •  So Im property? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      qofdisks

      I think the 13th Amendment would have an issue with that....

      It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

      by ksuwildkat on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 08:48:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Are you an organization? If not, the statement (0+ / 0-)

        does not apply to you. If you are, I must confess surprise that a bureaucratic institution achieved self-awareness before a computer.

        I chose the subject of the sentence with care.

        Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

        by Robobagpiper on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 08:59:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I cannot believe that an old soldier (0+ / 0-)

        Would even make this retort because pertaining to your military service you are property.  You don't get to choose which physicals and tests and vaccinations you will take, my spouse must wear a safety belt to ride a motorcycle because he currently "belongs" to the military and the US military belongs to its civilians.  He physically belongs to them. It is a permanent joke in the military among soldiers that they are property and they are owned.

  •  The military needs more transparency (5+ / 0-)

    in spite of what the lawyer said about limiting public involvement/oversight in "Pentagon policies."  I am a survivor of PTSD/MST who served in Vietnam and was sexually assaulted there.  After many years, I sought help and treatment through the VA healthcare system and found a sympathetic person in the system with expertise and a stellar reputation in treating male sexual assault survivors.  That treatment was a breakthrough for me.  It is now over and the groups have ended, and the therapist has moved on - but it all was a lifesaver to me.  And those in my groups were so grateful and benifitted so very much.

    The military is under civilian control.  That is the way our system is set up.  That is the way it functions best.  The Pentagon must not approve religious influences in the US military (The USAF had a very serious problem with this at the AF Academy - as did the Pentagon with some high ranking christianist officers doing out-of-control proselytizing and organizing of christian religious groups).

    So, to be brief, the US military has been reformed and updated under the Obama administration and his progressive policies.  The end of DADT is wonderful - groundbreaking - spectacular to those of us who were and are gay and serving and to gay veterans and to our straight brothers and sisters who know the numbers of gay troops who have always served in military organizations since the beginning of time.

    Thank you, President Obama.  I love you.  I am very sincere about this and I am completely open and grateful always that I worked to get President Obama elected twice.  One aside - the president is now speaking about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and I admire him so much for getting that through Congress and approved by the SCOTUS (I believe the president was active in those processes - as allowed by the US Constitution).

    •  treatment is not really "over" - (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      qofdisks

      poor choice of words.  The intensive groups have ended for me.  I remain in individual monthly counseling and I see a VA Psychiatrist every three months.  The excellent and expert therapist who conducted our groups has been transferred to a different VA facility.

  •  If the public pays for it (4+ / 0-)

    it bloody well is the public's problem.

    What doesn't appear to be clear to Mr. Pentagon Attorney is this:

    - these are our sisters
    - these are our brothers
    - these are our parents
    - these are our cousins, our aunts and uncles, our dear friends
    - these are ourselves

    Just because they are in the military doesn't automatically transform them into a separate category of being.

    Also, just because the military is the military doesn't automatically exempt it from the law.  If anything, since they are entrusted with the use of deadly force, they should try to ensure their members act in ways that inspire trust and serve as role models - not skulk behind a camouflage curtain.

  •  F^CK the military on this one (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LSophia, corvo, alwaysquestion, qofdisks
    At the end of the day, this is not the public’s problem,” said the Pentagon attorney. “This is the military’s problem, and so there’s no stakeholder that would be brought in by vetting things along those lines
    That's absolutely fucking bullshit.  As mentioned, Congress has oversight authority and the American public is definitely affected by problems that occur in the military b/c those people carry those scars with them into their civilian lives.
    I am so tired of the US military thinking that it is beyond the reach of democracy.
  •  Another Diary, still no answer (0+ / 0-)

    Please explain just once how you are going to have separate justice systems for "sex crimes" and all other.  DETAIL PLEASE.

    I have read MANY diaries about this topic and yet NOT ONCE has anyone explained how removing commanders from the process will make them care about sexual assaults MORE.

    Please give me ONE example anywhere in life where making someone not responsible for something has made them take more responsibility for it.  Just one.  

    Please tell me how we can get rid of commanders who dont take sexual assault seriously by telling them it is no longer their responsibility.  How can we hold them accountable when your proposal will make them not accountable?

    Please tell me how we get more command emphasis for something by removing commanders from the process?

    Do you have any idea how command works?  Dont you know that if you take something away from a commander it doesnt become the lowest priority, it disappears completely.  In fact any commander who was doing and activity that was not part of his command should be relieved on the spot.  If its not his job he better not be doing it.

    Finally, please tell me how many other areas are too hard for commanders to deal with?  Do we have Rape courts and all others?  Or do we have Rape courts, racial discrimination courts, sexual discrimination courts, etc, etc, etc?

    You seem to love to write about this as a huge problem but you never give any facts about how the rate of assault in the military compares to any other large group of people.  Maybe its because the facts dont fit your agenda?  Leaving out FACTS makes you no better than climate deniers who say global warming is a myth because its cold that day.

    It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

    by ksuwildkat on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 08:39:50 AM PDT

    •  This is bullshit (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      alwaysquestion

      Commanders always care when soldiers are in trouble with civilian authority and law enforcement.  I have never seen commanders more serious. They care more about that because that affects our public image when the public knows.

      The legislation I have seen calls for legal civilian oversight in other areas too.

      •  You make my point (0+ / 0-)

        Because they are still responsible for those soldiers.  Instead the proposal is that they would loose ALL responsibility for any case involving a sexual crime because they are too stupid or something.

        And of course all of those proposals ignore that changing the military justice system requires changing the Constitution......

        It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

        by ksuwildkat on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 09:33:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You know this to be factually incorrect (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          alwaysquestion, qofdisks

          They (you since you claim to hold this position or once to have) are always responsible for their/your soldiers, even when they rob a 7eleven.  When their/your soldiers do rob a 7eleven and they get out of lockup awaiting trial, commanders usually lock such soldiers down until the trial because they are responsible, and nobody thinks them irresponsible in this...and justice is done and everybody soldiers on.

          Justice has not been done repeatedly though with commanders overseeing sexual assault because they are made completely responsible for every dynamic of it in a closed system....so they hide it, camouflage it. Stop making it something that will potentially destroy their careers because we are a closed system in this instance, and the crimes will no longer be hidden anymore than robbing a 7eleven is.  And raping soldiers will be swiftly removed, the average quality of our soldiers will be improved as well as morale!

          •  Nice try but no..... (0+ / 0-)

            So in the case of a soldier robbing a 7-11.  In most cases that would be deemed a purely civil matter.  If the soldier was granted bail he would be free to return to his normal duties.  Most commanders would impose some form of reduced pass privilege but it is highly unlikely that the soldier would be placed in pre-trial confinement.  Unless the civil authorities decline to charge the soldier it is also highly unlikely that they will be given concurrent or separate punishment under the UCMJ.  Although double jeopardy is possible under the UCMJ it is rarely exercised.

            Commanders are the only ones who can be responsible for military justice.  The Constitution gives two people the power to restrict the liberty of a citizen - a judge and a military commander with the authority of the military commander restricted to service members except under martial law circumstances.  

            What you and others fail to recognize is that the military system is mirrored in the civil courts.  The District Attorney has the sole discretion to bring a criminal case to the Grand Jury.  Only after a grand jury issues a true bill does the case move forward.  Given the EXTREME control the District Attorney has over grand juries it is rare that they disagree with the wishes of the DA.  In fact the military Article 32 system is much more independent than the grand jury system.  Few commanders will mess with the Article 32 hearing because it makes it to easy to get a conviction overturned.  

            As I have pointed out in other posts, we are dealing with a tiny fraction of the military.  So tiny than any large city mayor would make the LOW rate that the military has the centerpiece of a campaign.  Are we perfect?  No.  But if perfection is the standard we are all in big trouble.

            It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

            by ksuwildkat on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 10:34:20 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well, this is where you and I will (0+ / 0-)

              Always disagree, and that is where the person who can or should administer justice in the military is only and always a military commander.  That has FAILED, and you are accountable to civilian authority and they have basically had it with you guys.

              The failure of commanders in being just is IMO also undermining military morale  as well as civilian trust in us.

    •  Insincere, at best. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Militarytracy
      Please tell me how we can get rid of commanders who dont take sexual assault seriously by telling them it is no longer their responsibility.  How can we hold them accountable when your proposal will make them not accountable?
      Because they don't take it seriously for YEARS of being told to take it seriously, it appears that they are complete failures with this task and it is time to give this job over to those who might actually succeed at making those accountable for their crimes and making justice a goal.

      That is what any boss does....looks at the job list and if there are glaring failures, they get someone else to do the job.  What will be embarrassing for those commanders is watching someone else succeed where they so miserably failed.

      I am not so worried about what extra courts need be established for these extra case loads; I think that will be the easier part of the set up.  The goal is justice....let's get there in a new way given the old way is ripe with failure.

      1. What does it mean? 2. And then what?

      by alwaysquestion on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 10:21:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Again lets be careful what we call failure (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        alwaysquestion

        I will not argue that some service members have been failed.  failings are part of the human condition.  Men have been put to death for crimes they didnt commit.  Mothers kill their children and some how walk free.  Karma caught up with OJ but it took a bit.  All failures by not one but multiple humans.

        I can think of 4 people off the top of my head who were effectively dismissed from the military for sexual harassment/assault in the last 2 years.  This at a relatively small command with a relatively senior population.  In two of the cases the punishment could have been greater - criminal charges - but the victim refused to press the worst portions of the offense.  The command was left with using the same type of NJP the original post insinuates as part of the problem.  The end result was the person was removed from the military.  It was the best justice available.  

        I look around and I see the vast majority of people trying to do the right thing.  I also see a society that is so screwed up on all things relating to sex that men/women who KNOW they have been wronged are unwilling to press charges because of some mistaken belief that they are the responsible party.  Blaming the victim starts at home.  It starts with mothers teaching their children that getting raped is what happens to sluts and whores.  It starts with fathers telling their children that dressing up that way is asking to get raped.  Is it a wonder when it happens that those young people think "gosh I guess I am a slut who dressed badly"?  Try being a commander begging a young lady who you know is a great soldier and person to stop blaming herself and file charges and having her refuse to do so because "Im not sure if I made him think it was ok."  Please tell me how I am supposed to turn that into something good?

        It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

        by ksuwildkat on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 11:00:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  If you could go the really extra long mile (0+ / 0-)

          and counsel someone into pressing charges after talking them into understanding it wasn't their fault, then good for you.  But may I suggest that you first look at all of the cases that are brought to attention by victims that clearly think it is the fault of the rapist and work a way to get that list addressed.  That is more the focus at this point.

          If you are willing to invest time and effort into talking someone into pressing charges, then I well imagine you are someone who can think of a solution as to how the military goes after those already accused.

          1. What does it mean? 2. And then what?

          by alwaysquestion on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 11:35:03 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Agreed (0+ / 0-)

            Our focus needs to be conducting those fair investigations, fair trials and fair punishments.  The problem is that for some unless every investigation turns into a trial and every trail into a conviction and every conviction a harsh sentence they are not happy.

            I have sat on rape trial juries.  They suck.  You PRAY for DNA evidence, pictures or videos and eye witness accounts.  What you get are two people who were alone, drunk and have vastly different versions of what happened.  No one wins.  They could EASILY both be telling the truth.  

            Give me a nice case with solid evidence and I will tell you there will be no issues.  As long as the VAST majority of rapes involve two people who know each other and there is alcohol involved we will continue to have these messy cases that could be decided by a coin flip and have the same results.  

            It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

            by ksuwildkat on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 11:46:19 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  We must accustom ourselves to the knowledge (3+ / 0-)

    that they believe that sexual assault is a right and a privilege.

    Maybe it's part of the ritualized brutalization that's supposed to make soldiers both obedient and angry, and thus able to carry out orders with all of the vigor resulting from pent-up rage.  Then we punish the grunts (who, after all, are responsible for their acts) while letting their superiors go free.

    Probably no surprise, therefore, that according to a recent Harper's Index, 53 percent of sexual assaults in the military are male-on-male.

    Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

    by corvo on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 08:43:14 AM PDT

  •  Is there any reason our Commander in Chief (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    alwaysquestion

    can't just, you know, COMMAND them to release the data the Congress is looking for?

    "We need institutions and cultural norms that make us better than we tend to be. It seems to me that the greatest challenge we now face is to build them." -Sam Harris, neuroscientist

    by MarthaPeregrine on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 08:57:51 AM PDT

    •  This. (0+ / 0-)

      You just threw a cold bucket of water onto a bunch of fighting drunkards (ok, saying some are drunk and others are just enjoying a nice glass of wine off to the side...)

      Anyway, ding, ding, ding.  You win the prize.  Everyone, put down your pies.

      1. What does it mean? 2. And then what?

      by alwaysquestion on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 10:13:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The military is likely hiding two major things: (3+ / 0-)

    1. The prevalence of sexual assaults, and
    2. The quixotic ways individuals were held and not held accountable for them.

    Like the Catholic Church, it does not want light to shine on a set of problems that it cannot bring its extensive cadres of "management" to deal with adequately, not only in the past but up to this day.

    Let's face it. The military is full of macho men (yes and women) who are very disciplined in teamsmanship. Why should we believe that in their off-duty time, they bury that culture, that somehow they're willing to rat each other out for what macho people do in their spare time? To discipline otherwise well-respected soldiers who have your back with respect to everything else?

    2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

    by TRPChicago on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 09:15:13 AM PDT

  •  i was in the military (0+ / 0-)

    and the military do not deserve the respect they get considering the things they do in the name of freedom.

    this outrage about sexual assault in the military is just one example of the neanderthals that are in charge of our defense and their incompetence and lack of a moral compass.  

  •  Not the public's problem? Ha. The military is ours (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Militarytracy

    -- the public's military. We are the government, and the military is ours. Someone tell that guy.

    Furthermore, in representing the US, the military's behavior projects OUR image. It also has our children in its clutches and we care about the men and women in our military subject to abusers who are not punished!

    "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

    by Gorette on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 10:35:35 AM PDT

  •  Best I can tell...the military works for... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Militarytracy

    the American people.  All government agencies, including the sacred military, should be open and accountable to the people who pay their salaries.  Maybe we the people should incorporate to increase our leverage.....

    "A weed is a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered." Ralph Waldo Emerson

    by Yo Bubba on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 12:39:49 PM PDT

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