RAPE is a horrible, violent crime that should be aggressively prosecuted. At least that's how most people view it. But to the liberal Agenda Project Action Fund, rape is mostly a rhetorical weapon to bash the military and lawmakers who support the armed forces.
A recent Pentagon report showed a disturbing 35 percent increase, from 2010 to 2012, in the estimated number of sexual abuse incidents in the military. Understandably, the report prompted a U.S. Senate hearing. It also led to a proposal to remove oversight of those prosecutions from the military chain of command. Critics noted military commanders have the ability to grant clemency to those convicted of rape. U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, was among a bipartisan group of senators opposing the proposal.
Now the Agenda Project Action Fund has released a video flatly declaring that Inhofe and 16 other senators “voted to protect rapists.” Common sense alone suggests this claim is nonsense: There's not much future for an elected politician running on a pro-rape platform.
Instead, Inhofe's stance was based on preserving military order and granting appropriate flexibility to high-ranking commanders. At the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the military rape issue, Inhofe stressed that lawmakers “must be deliberate in making fundamental changes” to the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
“There is a risk of unintended consequences if we act in haste without thorough and thoughtful review,” Inhofe said.
He noted that commanders have set aside findings of guilt in just 1 percent of cases overall. From 2010 to 2012, Marine commanders set aside findings in only seven of 1,768 cases, or 0.4 percent. In the Air Force, the rate was 1.1 percent over five years. In the Army, commanders have set aside findings in 1.4 percent of cases since 2008. In the Navy, commanders set aside just four of 16,056 cases tried from 2002 to 2012, a rate of 0.0001 percent.
These figures hardly paint a picture of military leaders hell-bent on protecting rapists. And in cases where clemency has been granted, the commanders involved haven't always been members of the “good ol' boys” club.
Writing in The Wall Street Journal, James Taranto noted one military leader now under fire is Lt. Gen. Susan Helms. In February 2012, Helms granted clemency to an officer under her command who had been convicted by a court-martial of aggravated sexual assault. The case largely boiled down to a he-said/she-said dispute, but the accuser's testimony was contradicted on several points by witnesses. The accused was still forced to accept a reduced plea and involuntarily discharged.
Is it really plausible to argue that women in the military like Helms willfully turn a blind eye toward acts of violence against other women in the military?
The Agenda Project Action Fund claims one in three military women has been sexually assaulted. The group also claims 80 percent to 90 percent of rapes and other attacks on women in the military go unreported. The statistics are suspiciously high and conveniently unverifiable. Therefore, it's understandable that lawmakers heeded military leaders' requests to preserve the chain of command.
The Agenda Project Action Fund's agenda seems designed not to protect women, but to portray the average soldier as a vicious rapist and threat to his fellow Americans. Most Oklahomans join Inhofe in rejecting this grotesque caricature.