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Maj. Gen. Michael T. Harrison (center), commander of U.S. Army Japan & I Corps (Forward), visits with the deployable assessment team chief, Col. Frank Clark (left), while touring exercise Sapporo Epicenter, a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief exercise held at Camp Sapporo, Hokkaido, Jan. 23-27, 2013, with Lt. Gen. Kiyofuni Iwata (right), commander of Northern Army, Japan Ground Self Defense Force.
Maj. Gen. Michael T. Harrison (center)
The military has so far succeeded at keeping decisions about sexual assault prosecution in the hands of its own commanders. Here's a crystal-clear example of why that's a terrible idea:
The sexual misconduct complaints piled up on the desk of Maj. Gen. Michael T. Harrison Sr., the commander of U.S. Army forces in Japan. A colonel on his staff had been accused of having an affair with a subordinate, of drunken and inappropriate behavior with other women at a military club and lastly, of sexual assault.

But Harrison let most of the complaints slide or reacted with leniency, according to the Army. He had known the colonel for two decades and said he didn’t believe some of the allegations. In March 2013, when a Japanese woman accused the colonel of sexually assaulting her, Harrison waited months to report it to criminal investigators — a clear violation of Army rules, according to an internal investigation.

Oh, it gets better. Harrison was eventually suspended and officially reprimanded—but only because the Japanese woman went outside the chain of command with her complaint. And despite the reprimand, Harrison was made director of program analysis and evaluation for an Army deputy chief of staff at the Pentagon. Some punishment for grievously mishandling a series of sexual assault and misconduct complaints! Harrison will retire soon, and according to the Army, all this shows that he was totally punished very severely, and we should all chill about it because they are handling things.

Maybe this is what passes for punishment of a general who puts the man he knows above the women that man mistreated and "boys will be boys" above justice. But that's something the military needs to be fixing. And the fact that they keep not doing so is just one more piece of evidence for why Congress needs to step in and force them to fix it.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Wed Apr 23, 2014 at 08:22 AM PDT.

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

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Comment Preferences

  •  when the army aint got no class in its/brass (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Piren, BlackSheep1, Sunspots, NancyWH, chimene

    decent wages don't eliminate jobs. Republicans eliminate jobs; and workers, and prospects, and then excuse it all and call for more austerity. there is no end to their ignorant, arrogant avarice. only political dinosaurs support their treachery.

    by renzo capetti on Wed Apr 23, 2014 at 08:30:56 AM PDT

    •  Tipped for your sigline; but the US Army's brass (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NancyWH

      is not completely without class; just, like the Congress, a male bastion of privilege and thoughtlessness.

      Elect more women.

      LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

      by BlackSheep1 on Wed Apr 23, 2014 at 10:28:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is why I didn't join up after college (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sunspots, NancyWH, chimene

    Even if the wars were just (and they weren't), I didn't feel like being raped by my comrades. Maybe if the military dealt with this stuff, they'd attract better soldiers and officers. Instead, the only people I know who were in juvenile detention at some point, all joined up after high school for lack of other options.

    "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 Wed Apr 23, 2014 at 11:36:34 AM PDT

    •  I take exception to your wide brush. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BMScott

      What, me worry? I read MAD Magazine.

      by Bill Roberts on Wed Apr 23, 2014 at 12:22:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Matt Taibbi has called it a poverty draft. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Krush, JayBat

      Eliminating the draft is one of the worst things Nixon did.

      If you don't have a seat at the table, you're probably on the menu.

      by CarolinNJ on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 05:08:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  As if the draft itself wasn't a poverty draft? (0+ / 0-)

        When you could dodge it by being a wealthy businessman or just going to college, or even paying someone else to go for you, it was very much a poverty draft. Now it's a voluntary poverty draft instead of a forced one. Given the number of tours some of these guys serve is atrocious.

        •  You're overstating the effects of the draft dodges (0+ / 0-)

          before the draft was ended, but certainly, people found ways.  Some of the dodgers who couldn't find, or fund, a legal dodge fled to other countries.  There are people who believe draft dodging into schools as teachers precipitated the decline of the public education system.  I'm not sure I'd give then that much, erm, credit, but they weren't teachers because they wanted to be, that's for sure.  I will point out that before them, there were lousy teachers who chose teaching; I don't know that the ratio of lousy teachers moved much with the advent of Vietnam draft dodging, but it's another of those sparkly memes that sounds good.

          If you don't have a seat at the table, you're probably on the menu.

          by CarolinNJ on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 10:47:13 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  What a Joke (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean

    The military is a piece of crap when it comes to sexual assault.  They should be forcibly raped over and over again so they can see how fun it is.......

  •  Because that reassigning stuff (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, OldDragon

    worked out so well for the RCC.

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

    by NancyWH on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 04:35:50 PM PDT

  •  Cochons are cochons noir ou blanc...men are NOT (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NancyWH

    pigs, only some of us.  Praps we need us more female generals?

    Armed! I feel like a savage! Barbarella

    by richardvjohnson on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 04:36:05 PM PDT

  •  He's the Cliven Bundy to women, IMHO. n/t (0+ / 0-)

    By the authority vested in me by Kaiser Wilhelm II, I pronounce you man and wife. Proceed with the execution.

    by HarryParatestis on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 04:43:28 PM PDT

  •  Internal abuse (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OldDragon, CarolinNJ

    in the millitary is god awful

    but just wait until the war comes home

    these people were trained to do all sorts of crap and some of them do not have a lot of self control anymore.

    Im not saying they were trained to rape but they were trained to use all kinds of crap that could potentially make it easier to rape someone. Or kill someone. ect

    they were trained to fight terrorists in other words

    I am America (and so can you!) -Stephen Colbert phsychological operations_(united_states)

    by Krush on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 04:46:23 PM PDT

    •  You are correct, as Barbara Tuchman rehearsed in (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Krush

      A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century.  Tuchman wrote that some soldiers come home with a taste for the privileges of violence.  Or as a career soldier responded when I pointed out the military rape rate, "That's what soldiers do."  At best, the military is indifferent to sexual violence.

      If you don't have a seat at the table, you're probably on the menu.

      by CarolinNJ on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 05:04:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  not everyone in the millitary (0+ / 0-)

        but you have to consider how rough you have to be to fight terrorists in afghanistan

        you have to be brutal

        and there are the soldiers who did not actually see battle but they picked up tactics just by being enlisted. The Army was not very careful when they enlisted some of the troops after 9-11.

        Some the soldiers who enlisted already had a few screws loose anyway. So it is going to be a public nightmare.

        Its not that I don't support the troops its just well some of them are trained terrorists with NO SELF CONTROL.

        I am America (and so can you!) -Stephen Colbert phsychological operations_(united_states)

        by Krush on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 05:09:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't spport the troops. You're backing away (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Krush

          from a good comment.  Does nobody realize the "troops" are volunteers?   Does no one remember the military uproar when the "troops" were ordered into the Iraq invasion?  How many didn't want to go into a real, shooting war?

          The lowering of enlistment standards pre dates 9/11 by decades:  once the draft was done, the military,  starting with and most prominently the army, had to repeatedly lower its entrance standards just to get bodies.  The career soldier I quoted had recruits who were offered jail or the army by sentencing judges.  Guess which they chose?  That was in the 80s.

          Can't have an empire without "troops."  Support the "troops," support the empire.  The big Gotcha, and it catches all kinds of people all the time.  But here's the thing, while you're waving the troops flag, how do you explain the over-the-top violence?  A handful of miscreants, a few bad apples?  You're kidding yourselves.

          If you don't have a seat at the table, you're probably on the menu.

          by CarolinNJ on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 05:24:42 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well you could put yourself in danger (0+ / 0-)

            if you do not support the troops.

            Because some of them are sort of uhm. Brainwashed. Its just better to realize they were trained to support America from terrorists. And some of them think liberals are terrorists.

            There are some crazy froot loops. Not all of them are crazy froot loops. A good many are though. I bet some of them watch FOX news and then make plans to blow up maine or something, I mean you just cant tell.

            The Army did not think very far ahead on this one. The war on terror was not like wwII or vietnam. Some of these individuals are dangerous,

            But I still support them!!!!!

            I am America (and so can you!) -Stephen Colbert phsychological operations_(united_states)

            by Krush on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 05:29:43 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I think you're way overplaying your hand. (0+ / 0-)

            1.) The troops being volunteers is a good thing, even if that means that individual standards are lowered. Military expertise works by a master-apprentice system and volunteers are more likely to stay in once their initial recruitment period is over than draftees. Less churn means more mentors and also a better median competence for servicemembers.

            2.) Your last paragraph is idiotic. That's the exact same logic conservatives use to justify demonizing the educational system and the IRS. I don't even buy the logic that a weakened military would tempt chickenhawks into fewer overseas conflicts. The relatively crippled pre-Cold War American military wasn't exactly stopped from sticking its dick in Hawaii, the Philippines, much of Latin America, and even China. The fact is that a country with a high population and industrialization rate can cobble together a world-class fighting force in months if the government so wills it. See: WWI. And the country has gotten a lot stronger since then.

  •  soldier not sex toys (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CarolinNJ, Krush

    I think it was George Bush who pondered why we were paying for High School when it seemed that the kids were just learning to have sex.  I wonder why we pay for a military where it seems that some think the taxpayer is responsible for supply sex toys for them.  It seems to me that if that is what they want, the can do whatever other's do.  Go to college or get a private sector job where sexual harrassment in not on the taxpayer dollar.

    At the very least I don't want to be paying 40 years of pension for a rapist.

  •  This is a symptom of the value of women (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CarolinNJ, Krush, MrJersey

    in our WHOLE society.  The military is a microcosm of our POV with concentrated results.  Women are not valued, they are prey, they are possessions, and less-than human.  Sort of like  - worth 3/5 of a human.  In 2014.  Hello.  

    Denounce the rape culture.  Anti-rape behaviors will take aggressive LEGAL action and what we used to call -"consciousness-raising."

    •  Consciousness-raising would work (0+ / 0-)

      If we weren't constantly told that any time a woman gets raped it's her fault for provoking the man. That she did something provocative or wore something provocative. So long as people keep victim-blaming it'll be hard to make progress, but still worth it to fight for it.

    •  Sort of the way that women are treated in many of (0+ / 0-)

      the conservative religions across this land.  They are to be obedient to the men that they are married to, should stick to running the home, and should never enter the chambers where the real decisions are made.  

      And it feels like I'm livin'in the wasteland of the free ~ Iris DeMent, 1996

      by MrJersey on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 07:37:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  i was in the military (0+ / 0-)

    for four years that's all i could take, all the great things you here about the military are total bs and propaganda, obviously there are good things to say about the military but they are few and far between if the truth were told, which it isn't.

  •  Organizations & HR Circle The Wagons For Abusers (0+ / 0-)

    The organization circles the wagon around someone in order to avoid a large scandal. Once somebody weathers one of these episodes, they often seem to attain a sort of protected status, like being a "made man" in the mafia.

    Is it the same HR person over and over or is it just the same type of person that consistently shows up to protect these dirt bags?  Look at Jerry Sanduski, who got away with raping little boys for years.  How many people did Penn State fire to protect Sanduski?  How many of them got bad evaluations, and were accused of being "negative" or "not team players" so Sanduski could keep raping children? I'm guessing quite a few people suffered to protect Sanduski.  I would also suggest that many of them were accused of having mental problems to protect the rapist.

    I think the people that grease the wheel of this system are the classic enablers in the sense of alcoholic family enablers.  As childre were these the people that cut deals with their abusive alcoholic parents to help abuse their siblings and enforce the strict code of secrecy to protect the abuser?  Did they tattle on others and enforce the family code about "shunning" the children who study and hope to move away?  Are they the ones that made up  shit about their siblings to gain favor with the abusive parent?

    And do they grow up searching for a place where they can recreate their shit home life, except they will have more power?  Are they the ones who declare they are "a people person, dammit!" Are they the ones with the plastic smile that looks slightly deranged because their whole personality is distorted by rage and "daddy (mommy) issues?"

    Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness. -Pascal

    by bernardpliers on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 05:49:34 PM PDT

  •  It is simple...you cannot without ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eagleray

    ...bias investigate yourself...and the US Army basically is one big family and in this particular instance Major General Harrison found himself in a no win situation with a friend accused of a crime and that person having past accusations will not pass muster with his boss...as it brings bright light to all aspects of a command...many of which probably have problems being kept below the radar. For a 2-star to be "suspended" I would think he's not going anywhere except to prepare for retirement. If he's of the Academy no worry they take care of each other. Bottom-line...the military's I.G. branches need to be transparently independent of the military and civilian politics So they carry some power that can put the fear of civilian control into the good old boys club. imho

    Our nations quality of life is based on the rightousness of its people.

    by kalihikane on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 06:26:35 PM PDT

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