James Taranto, Louis C.K., and The Brand New War On Men

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Sam Wilkinson

According to a faithful reader, I'm Ordinary Times's "least thoughtful writer." So I've got that going for me, which is nice.

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  1. Avatar Will H.
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    says:

    Ya know, there’s several issues here, and the causal links seem a bit strained.
    Maybe there’s something I’m missing.
    I might be stupid, ya know.
    There is that possibility.
    We’ll just have to check later.

    Helms to Herrerra.
    Big deal.
    Sounds like the sort of thing they would do for an officer anyway.
    I think his service record probably had more to do with his sentence being commuted, but 60 days is what I would call well within the realm of feasibility as far as commutation goes.
    Other than that, this was tried in a military court rather than a civilian court.
    It seems like if he had violated some civilian law, there would be sanctions there.
    It’s not as if servicemen are off-limits to the police.
    So isn’t the county prosecutor just as responsible in this?
    I’m wondering how McCaskill feels about that guy.

    McCaskill to Helms.
    I can think of a lot of reasons to hate McCaskill without even finding out what she might have done last week. But now that this is out, this is sort of weak. I think McCaskill’s grandstanding here.
    The funny part is that she’s holding up the promotion of a female, supposedly to underscore the need to protect women in the workplace.
    Gotta love it.

    Taranto to McCaskill.
    I don’t know who Taranto is, or why I should be concerned.
    I’ll just think of “Taranto” as being the Esperanto word for “today’s punching bag,” and then the thing will make perfect sense to me.
    So, somebody else can’t stand McCaskill.
    Why did he have to wait so long.
    And who is this Helms person anyway, that I should really care?
    Sure, his angle seems a bit strident. That’s not so unusual for opinion pieces.
    But the hard news is an even better angle, IMHO:
    Woman Refused Promotion to Protect Women in the Workplace

    Internet to Taranto.
    So all the usual suspects are having a high blood pressure day.
    Good for them. They need something to make them feel alive.
    This seems like their major function anyway; their one gift to the world that they have to give.
    I wouldn’t want to deny them that.

    Taranto to Internet.
    That was handled a bit badly.
    The part I find amazing is that apparently this guy is some sort of professional writer, and yet he doesn’t seem to express himself well with words.
    It’s a bit late for that freshman art core, but maybe a bit of paint-by-numbers might help him find his pace. A nice coloring book, or something.
    Not a lot of places to go but up from that reply, so why not?

    What do I get out of this?
    Someone had a sh!ttier day than I did!
    Hooray ! ! !

    . . . or am I missing something here?Report

    • Avatar Snarky McSnarksnark in reply to Will H.
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      says:

      You’re missing something here.Report

    • Avatar Annelid Gustator in reply to Will H.
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      says:

      I wrote a really unpleasant reply to this comment and didn’t post it. I will, instead, say that Snark is right, and that your response makes me sad–I’ve seen several posts of yours that had lead me to a higher opinion of you than I perhaps should have had.Report

      • Avatar Will H. in reply to Annelid Gustator
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        says:

        I would have preferred the unpleasant response.
        Cryptic is unhelpful.
        I’m not really so concerned with your opinion of me; it’s irrelevant. In fact, it’s devalued now that you’ve indicated that it’s subject to arbitrary appraisal.

        Are you going to tell me that sexual assault in the military is a big deal, and that’s the point I’m missing?
        I already knew that.
        And guess who the commander-in-chief of the military is?
        Which brings us back to the McCaskill vs. Helms vs. the county prosecutor thing.
        I want to know what kind of action McCaskill is taking against the county prosecutor.Report

        • Avatar Annelid Gustator in reply to Will H.
          Ignored
          says:

          “In fact, it’s devalued now that you’ve indicated that it’s subject to arbitrary appraisal.”
          I change my opinions when facts come to light. What do you do?

          Here are the reasons I’m revising my opinion of you down.

          1. UCMJ–apparently even its existence is news to you. Also, its shortfalls are a scandal and subject to revision by Congress… where Sen McCaskill still serves. Your apparent disintrest in informing yourself before tapping out a response is damning.

          2. “Woman positive” does not mean “regardless of right or wrong.” That you seem to think your summary Woman Refused Promotion to Protect Women in the Workplace is worthy of anything but derision shows that you are not interested in any sort of equity. That is another factor.

          3. I don’t know who Taranto is, or why I should be concerned.
          I’ll just think of “Taranto” as being the Esperanto word for “today’s punching bag,” and then the thing will make perfect sense to me…
          So once again, rather than informing yourself you cast the all-purpose “pox on both houses” spell as a substitute for thought. That is always a red flag.
          3a. You immediately cast about for some kind of sides rather than evaluate Taranto’s bleatings on their merits. Another.
          3b. So all the usual suspects are having a high blood pressure day.
          Good for them. They need something to make them feel alive.
          This delightful morsel indicates that you are either unwilling or unable to examine the motivations behind someone’s reaction. Either one makes it difficult to pay much credence to your other thoughts. One is pathetic, the other is sad.

          So, anyways. I do hope that your next day is better, and etc.Report

          • Avatar Will H. in reply to Annelid Gustator
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            says:

            My day wasn’t so bad. Not as productive as I’d like, but not a bad day. A bit of distress in scheduling matters, and someone’s network was down, which delayed some important papers; but I’m not sweating it.
            But thank you just the same.

            I know what the UCMJ is. Ex-serviceman here. Had a class about that.
            Did Helms act unlawfully under the UCMJ?
            And why is this being alleged by a Senator without some form of action being taken?
            And if it’s not being alleged, then why is it relevant in the first place?
            Under the UCMJ, it’s an offense to violate a civilian law.
            Is that what Herrera was being court martialed for?
            Which brings us back to the notion of the county prosecutor . . .

            Equity?
            You maintain that denying a woman a promotion for performing an ordinary function of her present job, and doing so with remarkable efficiency, is somehow misconstruing equity.
            If McCaskill had some type of performance-related issue with Helms, I’m pretty sure it would have been stated by now.
            But the only performance-related issue holding Helms back is that a former prosecutor believes that not rubber-stamping “Denied” on some file that comes across her desk, rather exercising discretion, as her position would demand of her, is a bad, bad thing.
            That’s not good.
            I’d like to meet that former prosecutor in person, just so I could tell her to stick it up her can.

            As for 3:
            I believe I expressly set aside consideration of the writers for the value of the their respective arguments.
            Indifference is notable distinct from a negative.

            And 3b:
            It’s just the exact same as Rush Limbaugh to me, with distinction or qualification.
            It’s the professional reactionaries of the world professionally reacting; something I consider distasteful, and not what I would consider to be a legitimate source.
            “A number of writers with demonstrably skewed views have noted that . . . ”
            Big deal.Report

            • Avatar Will H. in reply to Will H.
              Ignored
              says:

              Typo:
              It’s just the exact same as Rush Limbaugh to me, with distinction or qualification.
              should read:
              It’s just the exact same as Rush Limbaugh to me, without distinction or qualification.Report

            • Avatar Annelid Gustator in reply to Will H.
              Ignored
              says:

              Did Helms act unlawfully under the UCMJ?
              And why is this being alleged by a Senator without some form of action being taken?
              And if it’s not being alleged, then why is it relevant in the first place?
              Under the UCMJ, it’s an offense to violate a civilian law.
              Is that what Herrera was being court martialed for?
              Which brings us back to the notion of the county prosecutor . . .

              If you are aware of the UCMJ, then you should know that in almost every case a service member-on service member crime will be under the military authority-and the events described in the car-thing would be a crime under the UCMJ (aggravated sexual assault, in fact). So why the irrelevant stuff about county prosecutors? That’s just squid-ink.

              As to whether Helms acted improperly, you can read Senator McCaskill’s words. More than anything else, though, can you not recognize a moral claim as distinct from a legal claim? Convening authority DOES have the authority to overturn–that does not make it less than outrageous, and is somewhat to the point: various legal provisions changing the UCMJ were under discussion to REMOVE that. Again, you could make yourself informed or refrain from commenting dismissively.

              Equity?
              You maintain that denying a woman a promotion for performing an ordinary function of her present job, and doing so with remarkable efficiency, is somehow misconstruing equity.
              If McCaskill had some type of performance-related issue with Helms, I’m pretty sure it would have been stated by now.
              But the only performance-related issue holding Helms back is that a former prosecutor believes that not rubber-stamping “Denied” on some file that comes across her desk, rather exercising discretion, as her position would demand of her, is a bad, bad thing.
              That’s not good.
              I’d like to meet that former prosecutor in person, just so I could tell her to stick it up her can.

              Moral decisionmaking, and not *just* technical proficiency is an imperative at all levels of command. Surely you remember that kind of thing from your classes or something.

              “A number of writers with demonstrably skewed views have noted that . . . ”
              Big deal.

              So why engage at all? If you don’t have a substantive contribution…Report

              • Avatar Will H. in reply to Annelid Gustator
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                says:

                Say a soldier and a marine meet at a bar, and over drinks they come to blows.
                The responding officer has the right to arrest them, and he may or may not.
                If one of them stabs the other during the fight, there’s going to be an arrest.

                But really, I think you’re likely a moron at this point.
                I feel good about myself that your opinion of me has been lowered.
                And because of that, I really don’t care to engage anymore.Report

              • Avatar Annelid Gustator in reply to Will H.
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, to be honest, since you never honestly engaged with the substance of the OP, I’m not too fussed. I’m certainly unimpressed with your ability to do so, or at least what you’ve demonstrated in that vein. That also doesn’t make me too confident in your ability to judge my intelligence, which has been pretty well praised by better men (and women) than you.

                Cheers.Report

  2. Avatar LeeEsq
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    says:

    No means no, sometimes yes mean no to in certain situations, and you just got to accept that.Report

    • Avatar Kimmi in reply to LeeEsq
      Ignored
      says:

      Informed consent means yes.
      Anything less is asking to get your dick chopped off.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to LeeEsq
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      says:

      The video above cites an example of a case where no did not in fact mean no. I could cite more from personal experience. Feminists contradict themselves when they say that we live in a culture where women are pressured into suppressing their sexual desires, and also that no means no, always.

      “No means no,” is a good, conservative rule of thumb, because the consequences of incorrectly assuming that “no” means “yes” are very, very bad. But that doesn’t mean it’s true. “No” is complicated.Report

  3. Avatar Kazzy
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    says:

    “It is hard to understand why Herrera deserved any punishment at all if he’d been innocent of the crime he’d been accused of…”

    FWIW, my understanding is that a sexual or romantic relationship between higher- and lower-ranked service members itself can garner punishment.Report

  4. Avatar KatherineMW
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    says:

    Take-home message: The world is a creepy place.Report

  5. Avatar Kieselguhr Kid
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    says:

    Kazzy: in the case of the SSgt yes, in the case of the 2LT no.
    Look: I’m angry as hell about this sexual assault crap. I have to go to a mess of trainings this week about it, and frankly that response is bullshit. If the military were serious about this problem, it’s not a very hard one to solve: hold some brass accountable. This has been going on for years now, and presumably any number of O6’s and O7’s have stood up and said, OK, I’m in charge of reducing this problem — and it just got worse. What I want to know is, how many of them were fired or at least relieved? None, of course: they all got PCS awards and moved on despite failing miserably. So, fire some folks, with real brass on them — and watch the problem lessen. And McCaskill is trying to do that. Plus of course none of our brass have talked to us anywhere _nearly_ as directly and forcefully as the Australian army chief of staff just did to _his_ forces (check it out on YouTube) over leaders who were “just” sending unprofessional, unmilitary frat-boy emails.

    Also, Taranto is clearly an ass and the point above about “normal male sexuality” is one I have no quibble with: this is not a “war on men” in the eyes of any non-moron,

    So, all that said, McCaskill’s blocking this promotion is stupid show-boating. Commanders have the powers they do, and actually that needs to be part of Wilkinson’s point about being found guilty or innocent — look, we want to put some weight on the fact that the guy was fairly tried by the system and fairly punished by it, but _in that system, the Commander’s power is in fact an integral part_. He has been found wrongly punished. That’s that. Maybe it was a wrong finding but it’s no more right or wrong than it would have been if the court-martial had lessened the sentence, and it was handed down with the full awareness that the Commander could commute it. Commandes have that power because necessarily we can do so much worse or better things to the people below us — we often _need_ to do such things in the course of prosecuting our jobs — that it makes zero sense to take that particular power away. McCaskill should reserve her fire for whoever was in charge of controllign sexual assault in the Air Force.

    And we know there’s a problem there! Look, when some LTC gropes a strange woman in a parking lot and doesn’t stop — I mean, nobody likes the boss who peers down the women’s shirts either, but, jeez, _that_ guy — there’s no _way_ many folks around him didn’t know he was not the right guy for that job. But nobody wanted to stand up to whatever O6 put him in it. So there’s lots of better targets for McCaskill, she’s foolishly picking on the wrong one.Report

    • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Kieselguhr Kid
      Ignored
      says:

      Here’s the FOIA pull on Capt. Matthew Herrera. Pretty damning stuff.

      This isn’t O-6 crap. This shit starts right at O-2, when these fucks learn how to play the game. And we both know that.Report

      • Avatar Kieselguhr Kid in reply to BlaiseP
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        says:

        Sure, and there’s SPC-4’s who play the game too. That’s not quite what I’m saying.

        What I’m saying is, if the Army were serious about this at all, it wouldn’t be assinging more damn rounds of SHARP training to junior enlisted and officers. It would be holding _senior_ leaders — those O6’s — _accountable_. If you say, I’ve got the job of _doing something_ about this problem, and you _fail_ — as they have, and _those_ people _are_ O5, O6, O7 — then, dammit, you’re shitcanned. Or at the very least relieved! But, no: instead you fail miserably, take your PCS award, and hand the job off to someboy else who also fails miserably. If you _fired_ those senior officers, then we’d see what you can do.

        That idea isn’t so new! When Bob Gates, newly appointed, straight up _fired_ the Air Force Chief of Staff for failing to keep track of where nuclear materials were — never mind that as a practical matter it wasn’t really his screwup, nonetheless he’s _accountab;e_ for that stuff and his but is _supposed_ to be on the line — then, the other service chiefs stood up and took notice and, man, if you work with dangerous or suspect stuff (as I do) then your life got real real hard and real real scrutinized real real fast. You hold the top brass accountable and stuff happens. John McCain made a similar point, well, when he kept asking generals in Iraq how soon they could make the drive to the Baghdad airport safe, and they kept swearing up-and-down that they could do it in six months — and years later it still wasn’t safe. OK, he said, maybe it’s not a doable job, maybe it’s an unreasonable demand — but some general said, I’m going to do this for sure, and he _failed_, so, who’s been fired? The question I keep asking about sexual assault is, what senior leader has been fired?

        When instead my chain of command tells me, again and again, that the Army is _really serious_ about this shit and it’s priority one, they mean, they’ve been to meetings with GEN Odierno where he sits down and say he’s really really concerned and it’s his priority, and then the generals in those meetings go to meetings with colonels and tell them, I’m really really conerned and this is my number one priority, and so on down the command. The hell with that. _Fire_ some of the O6’s or O7’s for _failing_ — that’s what you do if it’s really your priority, right? And then the others will _damn well_ make sure they do everything in their power to reduce this problem, and if some commander sticks her neck out and commutes somebody’s sentence you’ll feel damn sure she thought it was the right thing to do, because her whole chain of command will be putting their asses on the line otherwise.Report

        • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Kieselguhr Kid
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          says:

          Heh. You’re preaching to the choir, just letting you know that. We don’t disagree in the slightest. In the enlisted ranks, it starts in NCO school, where you learn not to fraternise with all your former buddies and start hanging around the NCO club.

          In O grade, it starts at O-2. All that cat-assing, once they get rid of that Butter Bar it’s off to the CYA races. That’s where the problem arises. It’s endemic in milculture. Thou shalt keep the fart in the sack. Thou shalt not be handling with a court martial what thou canst do with an Art15. Thou shalt keep thy CO and his XO blameless in all these things and thou shalt see nothing they don’t, which is to say everything.

          Top Brass will never be held accountable. They are past masters of the CYA game. What with these Idiot Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan coming to a close, it’s high time to send the engineer battalions into the Pentagon and bulldoze out those Augean Stables. A hive of scum and villainy it has become. I’d send lots of those bulldozers down to Ft. Eustis and put the hurt on TRADOC: those putzes allowed this mess to grow in their facilities. Roust out those worthless SOBs. Want to prevent something? Stop it from forming. CID needs more authority in these situations. The Art15 situation is out of control. Army is what I know but I feel sure it’s endemic across all the services.

          Firing O-6 and O-7s won’t fix much, though it would make lots of us feel good for a while. The culture of CYA and the abusive practice of Keeping the Fart in the Sack has to stop at its source.

          Milculture needs a few good Senators more than it needs any more of these tapeworms and leeches. I said yesterday — NSA doesn’t need reforming so much as Congress needs reforming.Report

          • Avatar j@m3z Aitch. in reply to BlaiseP
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            says:

            A hive of scum and villainy it has become.

            But how does it compare to Mos Eisley, alleged to be the most wretched of such hives?Report

          • Avatar Barry in reply to BlaiseP
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            says:

            “Firing O-6 and O-7s won’t fix much, though it would make lots of us feel good for a while. The culture of CYA and the abusive practice of Keeping the Fart in the Sack has to stop at its source. ”

            As you pointed out, these people are experts at CYA. When that fails, they’ll take notice.Report

            • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Barry
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              says:

              Another little red wagon I’d fix pronto is the practice of senior brass collecting a pension while doing government consulting. All they have to do is pull out of the Pentagon parking lot with all their boxes, drive right down the road to Accenture Gummint Consulting or Northrop Grumman or CSC or a zillion others — hell, if they have a CAGE code, make sure these jamokes never get a clearance.Report

    • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Kieselguhr Kid
      Ignored
      says:

      Yeah-huh, this about sums it up. When the stats say that about a THIRD of women in the armed forces get raped/sexually assaulted during the course of their career…

      Something fucking stinks.

      (And, yes, I know that doesn’t mean a third, or even a sixth of the men are committing assaults. Either you’re gonna empower the enlisted to do something about it, or you gotta get the officers to do their damn job).Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to Kimmi
        Ignored
        says:

        While yes, remember: 1/4 of women get sexually assaulted/molested at some point in their lives.

        So this isn’t just the military. . . it’s a big problem outside the military, and every bit as damning.Report

        • Avatar Kimmi in reply to zic
          Ignored
          says:

          I’d wager the numbers are more than that. If you rely on self-report, you’re missing the substantial number of times when a woman is molested while she’s unconscious (or otherwise unable to give consent).Report

        • Avatar Will H. in reply to zic
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          says:

          Sort of my own take on it.
          While the way they are reacting to it might be attributable to the military (unit cohesion), the initial situations they react to are something that they brought in with them.Report

          • Avatar zic in reply to Will H.
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            says:

            the initial situations they react to are something that they brought in with them.

            You’ll have to explain that a bit more; things can be read into it.Report

            • Avatar Will H. in reply to zic
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              says:

              Ok.
              I’m saying that the military isn’t really far off from the society which serves as the pool they draw from wrt sexual assault; that military training does not cause people to sexually assault others.
              Or maybe they that’s just a class they give to the officers; part of ROTC or whatever.Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to Will H.
                Ignored
                says:

                I think I made the same point down thread to Kim.

                The difference here is that in the military, there are clear codes of conduct on is supposed to adhere to; and sexual assault is a violation of that code of conduct.

                But yeah.

                It’s good to remember how many significant social change happened from within the military. Integration. The non-issue of gay folks. I welcome an understanding of our right to sexual sanctity, male or female, and our understanding of what assault actually is coming from the military.Report

              • Avatar Will H. in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                I was thinking about a gay couple that I knew in the military just last night, wondering what happened to them.
                I kept my mouth shut about it (these were the days of DADT), and everyone else who was in the know did as well.
                There was just something of a feeling that this is none of their damned business; that the military is too intrusive in so many ways to begin with, and we’re not going to give them that part of our lives.

                Sexual assault is a different matter though.
                That’s one of your crew coming to harm.
                You have an obligation to intervene.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Will H.
                Ignored
                says:

                No, that’s true. Voluntary enrollment in the military can probably be correlated to a higher risk of joining religious cults in ones later years, however.Report

    • Avatar Barry in reply to Kieselguhr Kid
      Ignored
      says:

      “So, all that said, McCaskill’s blocking this promotion is stupid show-boating. ”

      No, it’s part of the problems you mention with the system. I’ll flat out guarantee that if this captain had been caught with some weed, for example, that this general would not have overturned the sentence. The general is part of the system, and is part of the system which exercised discretion.Report

      • Avatar Kieselguhr Kid in reply to Barry
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        says:

        On the contrary, I can think of counterexamples! In fact, just like you have a scandal now at Annapolis where football players got a pass on bragging about sexual assault, you have had now two cases of football players getting a pass on weed. And in fact an awful lot of what happens to you when your UA comes back positive — really all of it — is very very _much_ the Commander’s discretion: they send you to treatment, and how many times they’re going to keep doing that versus canning you is really a function of a subjective judgement the Commander makes of your worth as a soldier. I think it’s fair to say from your comment — I’m not trying to be a dick here — that this isn’t a system you know a lot about, and that’s really the issue here: there’s stuff that wows the guys who really don’t know the system, and that’s what McCaskill is doing. On the other hand there are very obvious and easy targets — as I discussed above: who have you fired? Or look at the recent SASC hearing where the service chiefs clearly had _no idea_ what foreign services do in response to this problem, where they all showed how little they gave a crap — and yet the Senate isn’t going after _their_ heads, they’re going after LTG Helms, who is a side issue.

        Me, I just got back from a boring sexual assault stand-down — mandated for everybody this week because we’re DOING SOMETHING! — which contained no information not in every other sexual assault training I have to do quarterly and was delivered with the same enbthusiasm, only preceded by “this is now our number one priority.” OK.Report

        • Avatar Will H. in reply to Kieselguhr Kid
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          says:

          The most reliable place to buy heroin in the United States is right outside of that huge Navy base in Chicago.

          Of course, “Not in my Navy!” as the saying goes . . .Report

        • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Kieselguhr Kid
          Ignored
          says:

          Rather than doing “more trainings” I think they might get more mileage out of letting the trainees come up with skits… At least then everyone would be able to think a little.

          … whatever happened to the old Army comic books?Report

        • Avatar Barry in reply to Kieselguhr Kid
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          says:

          “I think it’s fair to say from your comment — I’m not trying to be a dick here — that this isn’t a system you know a lot about, and that’s really the issue here: there’s stuff that wows the guys who really don’t know the system, and that’s what McCaskill is doing.”

          Correct; I was an EM a long time ago. And if the commandant at Annaopolis was forced into retirement for those antics, they’d have ceased.Report

  6. Avatar Michelle
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    says:

    Ah, the bleating of the beleaguered white male from his well-paid post at the Wall Street Journal. I’m not sure whether it’s comical or pitiful, especially coming during a week when a couple of Congressional Republicans have made ridiculous rape claims in the process of passing a restrictive and likely unconstitutional ban on abortion.

    While I think McCaskill is likely grandstanding, it doesn’t make Taranto’s connection of feminism to the incidence of sexual assault any less odious. Apparently, in Taranto’s mind, the women involved in these incidents were asking for it.Report

    • Avatar j@m3z Aitch. in reply to Michelle
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      says:

      You just don’t understand how hard it is to be a privileged white male today! Our level of privilege has dropped from 9 (on a scale of 10) to only 7.5. It’s a crisis!

      More seriously, I do understand how difficult these things can be for men. Because the privilege is unrecognized as privilege, has never been examined, it just seems a natural state of affairs, not something special, but just how things are and ought to be. And the violations of those expectations are really jarring, as violations of expectations always are. I imagine I probably have some unrecognized privileges, and will be somewhat jarred if/when I am finally confronted with them.

      But here’s the part I can’t begin to fathom; how any reasonably intelligent person would so balk at exploring the claim of privilege when confronted with it. And it’s all based on those simple aphorisms we all learned as kids–walk a mile in somebody else’s shoes; do unto others as you would have others do unto you. Those are the basics of common decency, and while we all fail at them from time to time, to simply reject that approach seems to imply that the person simply prefers to be indecent.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to j@m3z Aitch.
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        says:

        Yeah, there are personality types that prefer to be indecent.
        Nobody likes them much, and in modern society that means they can’t get the jobs they are accustomed to.

        Is it any wonder they’re the muscle of the Tea Party?

        … you don’t think the Blackshirts came out of nowhere do you?
        There are people who believe that if they aren’t given favors hand over fist,
        that Something Is Wrong in The World!Report

  7. Avatar Kimmi
    Ignored
    says:

    McCaskill’s from Missouri. I’m not going to say that she’s not grandstanding, but it’s kinda hard to see that purple state being so happy about this…Report

  8. Avatar Burt Likko
    Ignored
    says:

    Hey, James Taranto! The Louis C.K. story is an appropriate expression of male sexuality. That the woman was exhibiting bad judgment (or in this case a peculiar sort of kink) is irrelevant. She signaled “no” and he stopped.Report

  9. Avatar Pinky
    Ignored
    says:

    I read Taranto’s original article. I don’t see what the problem with it is. Sam left out the most important part of Taranto’s article, which pointed out that the testimony of the others in the car contradicted the accuser’s story on several points.

    My guess, and it’s only a guess, is that they blew the case with the staff sergeant, Helms got an asterisk on his file, and they brought him to trial on a weaker case. Helms reviewed the outcome of the second trial and commuted the sentence. But as with all internet tempests, we’re guessing what really happened with a lot less information than the principals. If McCaskill is doing the same thing, taking a stand on this nomination on the basis of weak information and the feeling like Helms sent the wrong message, then she’s in the wrong.Report

    • Avatar Sam in reply to Pinky
      Ignored
      says:

      You don’t see why conflating sexual assault with male sexuality is problematic?Report

    • Avatar Jonathan McLeod in reply to Pinky
      Ignored
      says:

      Taranto’s piece was a near-perfect distillation of rape culture. He dismisses the very idea of rape in these sorts of scenarios, attributing assault to the sexual recklessness of the women. He misrepresents a lot of the information from the assault case for which Herrara pled guilty. In a quote about that case he even inserts “[alleged]” in front of the word assault – even though Herrera pled guilty!

      Blaming victims for sexual assault (or should we just call it sexual recklessness) is rather deplorable, and, in this case, a tad misogynist.

      Also, I’d like to hear from Taranto an explanation of why this case is a war on men, yet his argument (that men are natural rapists so women better not drink and better watch out) isn’t a war on men? Seriously, it’s pretty shitty of Taranto to make us all seem like “sexually reckless” knaves.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jonathan McLeod
        Ignored
        says:

        If God didn’t want us to rape, he wouldn’t have given us penises.Report

      • Avatar Pinky in reply to Jonathan McLeod
        Ignored
        says:

        I don’t see Taranto’s article as a distillation of rape culture any more than I see McCaskill’s move as a distillation of a war on men. I guess I see them both as part of the War on Underreaction.Report

        • Avatar Jonathan McLeod in reply to Pinky
          Ignored
          says:

          Suggesting that a woman being drunk and choosing to sit in the backseat of a car with a man are both mitigating points when judging sexual assault is pretty much Rape Culture 101. They’re right behind “she shouldn’t have dressed that way”.Report

          • Avatar j@m3z Aitch. in reply to Jonathan McLeod
            Ignored
            says:

            Even the fact that, according to witness testimony, she may have flirted with him earlier that evening. Flirting is not an open door for anything and everything that might later occur, and so it is not evidence for consent in anything and everything that does later occur.

            I’ve probably said this too many times at the League, but I have three daughters. I’m willing to emphasize this point with real violence if some young man fails to understand it.Report

            • Avatar Jonathan McLeod in reply to j@m3z Aitch.
              Ignored
              says:

              Most definitely.

              And Taranto seemed to hang a lot on the victim’s suggestion that there was no flirting, but Herrera and another person saying there was flirting. Taranto implied that the victim was wrong and this hurt her credibility.

              It’s quite possible that the victim appeared to be flirting to other people. I imagine we’ve all known people (especially guys) who – whenever a girl isn’t openly disdainful of them – will exclaim, “dude, she’s so into me, she’s flirting with me”.

              Friendly is often confused with flirting. So in this case, all three people could have been telling the truth, as they saw it.Report

              • Avatar j@m3z Aitch. in reply to Jonathan McLeod
                Ignored
                says:

                So in this case, all three people could have been telling the truth, as they saw it.

                I thought of that, too. We’re talking about the witnesses’ perceptions of what happened, so we aren’t actually measuring what actually happened.

                FWIW, my wife is convinced that I’m never aware when someone is flirting with me. Perhaps she’s jealously over-sensitive to friendly behavior towards her man. Or perhaps I’m truly clueless. There’s actually some pretty good evidence to suggest the latter is more true, but whichever is the case, it means our perceptions of the same event differ markedly. And there’s no reason to think that’s not the case with the witnesses.Report

        • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Pinky
          Ignored
          says:

          Seems the OP and most commenters insist on treating the critique of McCaskill’s action against Helms as a defense in general of Herrera. Because 1) Taranto offers as an explanation for McCaskill’s conduct a skewed political-cultural moment, which he then sums up under the somewhat ludicrous “War on Men” heading that enraged left and feminist twitter, because 2) Taranto has a history of provocations, including some past ill-considered remarks on Twitter, and because 3) a political inquiry into sexual assault in the military being spearheaded by Democratic woman Senators of high ambition, against a background of reactionary Republican legislation across the country and in the House, the argument has gotten shifted onto the broader political-cultural stage. Now, anyone offering an opinion has to be inducted either into the army of Rape Apologists or the army of Cultural Marxist Commissars.

          Taranto’s original article sums up quite well, I think, why we might hesitate to presume that Helms had inadequate justification for the degree of clemency she showed to Herrera. McCaskill seems to think Helms should pay a price, but McCaskill is a politician, so what she’s doing shouldn’t be mistaken for thinking through the underlying matter: It would be quite normal for a politician to damage or sacrifice an individual’s career on the altar of making a More Important Point. McCaskill’s own statement indicates that that’s what she’s doing: Promoting Helms, she says, sends a “wrong message.” However, unless Helms or her possible supporters make some unforgivable misstep or draw too close to McCaskill’s political enemies, it should not be surprising in the least if McCaskill decides to remove the “permanent hold,” once she feels the MIP has been made. It may not even take more than a private talk or other observance of official pieties for Helms’ career path to be re-opened.

          As for that particular military-legal matter, in approaching it Helms may have been less interested in War of the Sexes messaging than in the real life of a human being who, on the basis of a case that appeared shaky or possibly shaky, was threatened with something akin to a branding with a scarlet letter R. It could be that Helms had some craven motive for currying favor among sexist superiors or other colleagues in the military, and didn’t expect the winds to change as they have, but I don’t know that. I have no reason to believe that she isn’t a perfectly honorable individual.

          More to our discussion, I don’t think you’ll find many people speaking up on behalf of rape, but sexual assault is not the same as rape, and there are degrees of sexual assault. By the standards being applied in this case and on this thread, I can count myself a victim of sexual assault, yet I remain generally in favor of mercy, especially where there is any degree of doubt, and I’m very comfortable with people in positions of discretionary power, like Lt. Gen. Helms, erring on the side of mercy. (I’m partial to the Sharia Law tradition in which victims are encouraged to offer pleas for mercy on behalf of defendants facing overly harsh punishments.) Are the interests of the law flagrantly abused by a punishment of “60 days in jail, loss of pay, and dismissal” for what very specifically Herrera is convicted by a Military Court of having done? In a context where Military Court sentencing is done implicitly with the possibility of discretionary review? In the context of a “He-Said/She-Said,” with an apparently inconsistent and contradicted “She”?

          As for possible larger connected questions, the ones Taranto is reluctant to attempt to expand upon, but had already brought upon on his own, they are also clearly present in this story, they do remain rather difficult to discuss, as we have seen before, even among the gentlest of Gentlepersons, because they are fundamental, not just politically and culturally “constitutional” but, by definition, constitutional for every participant (I’m not referring to the Constitution, I’m referring to the constitution of human identities). These questions are, in short, very highly emotionally and morally charged, and possibly beyond our ability to solve purely intellectually. We are therefore compelled to return to them over and over again.Report

          • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to CK MacLeod
            Ignored
            says:

            Also, it should be noted that McCaskill apparently has not placed a “permanent hold” on Helms’ nomination: http://mediamatters.org/blog/2013/06/18/wsjs-taranto-dismisses-military-sexual-assault/194498 I’m still also not sure how permanent permanent holds really are.Report

          • Avatar j@m3z Aitch. in reply to CK MacLeod
            Ignored
            says:

            More to our discussion, I don’t think you’ll find many people speaking up on behalf of rape, but sexual assault is not the same as rape, and there are degrees of sexual assault…I remain generally in favor of mercy

            Eminently true. But if you or anyone else were to shove your hands down my daughters’ pants without their clear permission, please don’t expect anything like mercy. You place your emphasis on “where there is any degree of doubt,” but you conspicuously avoid placing any emphasis on either how the particular victim might feel about it (your experience does not necessarily travel), and on the responsibility of men in this situation.

            I, too, think there may be enough doubt about this case that General Helms’ decision is not clearly the wrong one (although it’s not clearly right, either). But coupled with your comments a week or two ago about male privilege, I find it difficult to read your comments as not once again lining up on the side of giving more weight to male privilege than to women’s basic rights.

            That may be uncharitable. I’m not always a charitable reader. But if you object to being read that way, you might perhaps give some consideration to whether how you write promotes such uncharitable readings. For example, the statement, “I don’t think you’ll find many people speaking up on behalf of rape, but sexual assault is not the same as rape” while logically true, juxtaposes two ideas in such a way as to promote an inference that we will find people speaking up on behalf of lesser-than-rape-sexual-assault, and that you don’t find that problematic. I have no reason to think you would actually approve of people speaking up on behalf of unwanted fondling–and I don’t imply that you actually said anything like–but in a context where you give no indication of serious concern about the effects of sexual assault, you create an opening for a reading that you would not be bothered to object to defenses of minor sexual assault.Report

            • Avatar zic in reply to j@m3z Aitch.
              Ignored
              says:

              I was sexually assaulted, repeatedly, by a pedophile when I was 11. I was not raped. He wanted consent. I never gave it.

              I was raped at 16.

              The assaults were far worse then the rape.Report

            • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to j@m3z Aitch.
              Ignored
              says:

              Professor, you once again write under the presumption that I ought to take your or anyone else’s personal reactions to what I write seriously – that is, as actual arguments rather than as self-interested assertions. To do so would simply be to encourage more of them. The only thing I find interesting about yours in this instance is the supporting evidence they offer for my argument.Report

              • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to CK MacLeod
                Ignored
                says:

                you once again write under the presumption that I ought to take your or anyone else’s personal reactions to what I write seriously – that is, as actual arguments rather than as self-interested assertions

                That’s very true. I do tend to assume that people who write thoughtful comments on blogs like this are intending to communicate ideas and seek interaction, rather than merely engaging in a form of self-gratification. In that I think I actually am avoiding the more uncharitable interpretation, even though that seems to be the one you want me to make.Report

          • Avatar Kimmi in reply to CK MacLeod
            Ignored
            says:

            “I don’t think you’ll find many people speaking up on behalf of rape”
            … I have. People who have felt free to post on this thread, even.Report

          • Avatar Jonathan McLeod in reply to CK MacLeod
            Ignored
            says:

            CK, with the way the comments layer, I can’t really tell to whom you are responding, but in case you are responding to me, I’ll, in turn, respond.

            “Seems the OP and most commenters insist on treating the critique of McCaskill’s action against Helms as a defense in general of Herrera.”

            I think you’re obscuring the Taranto column. He might be right that McCaskill is grandstanding (hey, McCaskill could be grandstanding while also doing the right thing), but that’s not what I, or many of us, are responding to.

            Much of Taranto’s column is a defense of Herrera. Like a complete and direct defense. He attacks the victim(s). He argues that drunk women who go to a bedroom with a man can’t be sexually assaulted. And he even elides the whole question of sexual assault, calling it sexual recklessness (and accusing both the aggressor and the victim of being sexually reckless).

            He misrepresents evidence (as J@m3z and I discussed) and suggests that sexual assault is merely male sexuality.

            So, yes, Taranto might be right that McCaskill shouldn’t be holding things up. But he is disgustingly wrong in his analysis of sexuality and sexual assault. “Rape apologist” seems like an adequate, if slightly imprecise, label.Report

            • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Jonathan McLeod
              Ignored
              says:

              Mr. McLeod: I was replying to your comment in which you describes Taranto’s column as a “near-perfect distillation of rape culture.” How else is Taranto or anyone supposed to defend Helms’ decision other than by pointing to reasons she might have concluded that some degree of clemency might have been warranted by the particular facts of a particular case?

              I couldn’t disagree with you more about accepting a rough justification for use of the term “rape apologist.” How it works is now, in another comment, we’ve also been informed that some people here are in favor of rape. Such usages invite us to indulge in displays of self-righteous aggression (always as counter-aggression) in the expectation of general approval and implicit encouragement ahead of the next act of scapegoating and escalation.Report

              • Avatar Jonathan McLeod in reply to CK MacLeod
                Ignored
                says:

                If you don’t see the problem in Taranto’s argument that drunk women shouldn’t get into the back seats of cars with men if they don’t want to get digitally assaulted, then we’re at an impasse.

                Still, I’ll meet you halfway. Taranto isn’t a rape apologist. He’s a sexual assault apologist. That is more accurate.Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to Jonathan McLeod
                Ignored
                says:

                So what should we do about the drunken man who punches his drunken friend in the face, breaking his jaw? Is this also, by your definition, not an assault? It’s the man with the broken jaw’s fault, because he should know not to get into drunken arguments, and the assailant should have no repurcussions?Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                Excuse me, meant this to be a response to CK McLeod.

                There is quite a gathering of McLeod’s here; and it’s confusing to a country bumpkin.Report

              • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                zic, I don’t want you to think I’m ignoring you, but I have to say this isn’t the first time where you have attributed to me a statement that I have not made, and that, as far as I can tell, never gave any reason for anyone to believe reflected my opinions. Maybe you can point out where you took me to be venturing a “definition” of assault or sexual assault either independently or in specific relation to this case. I think the closest I came to doing so was to refer to degrees of sexual assault, and to a difference between sexual assault and rape (not universally acknowledged in state laws, incidentally, as I now recall (Kobe Bryant/Colorado), and an interesting question). Nor did I offer an opinion on the facts of this case. Nor did Taranto or I or anyone else that I’m aware of suggest that Herrera should have suffered “no repercussions” either for the conduct of which he was accused or for the conduct to which he apparently eventually confessed. In later comments, especially the longer one further in reply to the McLeod who spells his name wrong, I address some other distinctions. All of them and others will play some role in how we judge these matters.Report

              • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                in reply to the McLeod who spells his name wrong,

                A question for both Mc/MacLeod’s, or any person who might know: does the presence/absence of the “a” signify anything (or perhaps more precisely, historically did it signify something at one time)?Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                I don’t give a fig about your definition of assault. I very much want to explore the boundaries of personal responsibility you’ve pointed out, He argues that drunk women who go to a bedroom with a man can’t be sexually assaulted. And he even elides the whole question of sexual assault, calling it sexual recklessness ( .

                I’m married to a professional musician; we have our 34 wedding anniversary in a few days. I’ve spent a lot of time in bars and at parties where he’s worked, surrounded by drunk people. I have a pretty good idea how to expect things to go; and I know that people who don’t drink regularly get drunk much quicker then they realize, and that some predators who haunt drunken halls also know this, and prey on drunkards who don’t know their limits.

                I also do not drink. This is not my choice; I would if I could, but it triggers migraine. I haven’t had more then a sniff of red wine or brown beer in over a decade.

                So if a woman gets into a car with a man after they’ve had a few drinks, and he assaults her, by the above line you’ve paraphrased (the one in italics), she bears responsibility for getting into the car with him.

                I want to explore what other crimes a drunk might commit that would be blamed on the victim because the victim put themselves in harm’s way as this line suggests. I want to ask, “Is this a reasonable, logical thing?”

                Would it be my fault if a man assaulted me? That’s happened, I’ve been groped, pinched, and propositioned in bars.

                What about my husband? He’s had drunks spill drinks on his gear; knock over gear, causing hundreds (and once, thousands) of dollars of damage. He, like you, has been sexually assaulted by drunken women. Is he responsible, because he opted to work in a place where there are drunks, or is the drunk responsible?

                My problem with what you’ve paraphrased here, though you’ve not had the courage to either embrace or reject the sentiment, has been well voiced by a number of others; it falls to the well-worn ruts of slut shaming women have had to deal with throughout history; blaming her for being drunk, for being in the wrong place, for dressing wrong, for smiling too much, when he was the one who made the inappropriate (and illegal) action. We’ve firmly established that there are also plenty of times where drunken women assault men, I’ve witnessed this, though not nearly as often as I’ve witnessed the opposite. Sadly, if those men speak up, they’re typically laughed at. That’s a shame. I have a problem with this all. The assaulted is not to blame for an assault.Report

              • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                Zic, it was the other McLeod who wrote the paraphrases you quote. Also, incidentally, I wasn’t sexually assaulted by a drunken woman, and never said I was. So, in your response to my comment noting your tendency to make up comments or statements of mine, then hold me responsible for them, you make up some more comments and statements for me and hold me responsible for them.Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, then CK, I beg your forgiveness.

                I am struggling with brain inflammation yet again. I accept responsibility for missing the the thread, and I most humbly apologize.

                I still think it an important topic; despite my misdirection. Thank you for indulging me.Report

              • Avatar Jonathan McLeod in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                J@m3z,

                Regarding the Mc/Mac question, my (very limited) understanding is that it came to be spelled differently in different places at different times. The names were around in towns and communities where there wasn’t a ton of literacy, so people didn’t even spell the name initially.

                Sometimes, it would some English lord (ptooey) who would decide on the spelling of names to keep track of people and, ya know, some oppressive English thing.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                I had a friend once describe it as an Irish/Scottish thing. One group uses Mc, the other Mac, though I can’t remember which is which and never inquired as to how the distinction arose.Report

              • Avatar Jonathan McLeod in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                Kazzy, I’ve heard the Scottish/Irish thing a lot, and I’ve heard versions ascribing each spelling to each region. I’ve also seen enough people coming from both places (historically) to think it’s not really accurate.

                Though I wouldn’t be surprised if one tends to Scottish and the other Irish, but I don’t think it’s a hard and fast rule.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                The Mc versus Mac is easily enough sorted out. Mc is actually an abbreviation. The preferred abbreviated form, until fairly recently, was M-apostrophe, as in M’Leod.Report

              • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                The Mc v Mac problem reflects an historical problem, that of the last resistance of the Scots to the English, their language, their awkwardly adopted alphabet, and its evil orthography. One reason for the prominence of the Clan MacLeod, and for the numerousness of MacLeod’s, McLeod’s, M’Leods, and others, is precisely that the Clan, through the Dunvegan/Skye branch, is said to have been the only one whose castle and homeland never fell to the invader (and his language).

                In other words, Mac v Mc will be a problem for other Scots or descendants, too, but I think we notice it with MacLeods because there are simply so many more of them. Possibly the frequent difficulties with spelling and pronunciation of the second syllable also magnify attention on the problem in general. (McCloud and other “cloud” and “loud” variations tend to be immigration-processing artifacts, though “loud” and “leod” are close cognates). The Scots/Irish distinction has a parallel historical and linguistic basis, but finally rests, I believe, on a misconception. Partly as a result of the English aggression, there was a Scottish diaspora or exodus, with stops in neighboring Eire, of course, but I believe the name wherever it survives refers to the Scottish roots.

                I was, of course, only kidding when I said that our Mr. McLeod spelled the name wrong. My own father went by the missing-“a” version at various times in his career. Some of my first cousins also drop the “a.” One possibly merely eccentric uncle adopted the rare practice (I no of no other incidents) of dropping the “a,” but affixing a diacritical mark below the “c.” He was a college professor in the hard sciences, but had inherited his father’s auto-didact’s willingness to do things his own way.

                Well, you were the ones who asked for a glance under the kilt. Don’t blame me.Report

              • Avatar Jonathan McLeod in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                CK, I used to always put the mark under the “c”, but just sort of fell out of the habit (especially since you never see it that way in print). However, I still underline the “c” in my signature (though it’s more like a line through most of my last name).

                Of course, I assume you were kidding. My mother-in-law’s family are all MacLeods (though of no relation to me), and her mother always liked to introduce me while noting that I spell it wrong. Naturally, I started doing the same to her.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                For my very first Java project, the consulting firm gave me four guys off the bench, none of whom wrote Java. There I sat in the conference room, no resumes, not even much of a spec for the project. In desperation, I closed my notebook and looked around the table and said “Okay, men. We are going around the table and each of you will tell us all what you do best, what you really do well. Forget this project for now, none of us but me even write in this Java language — I want you to blow your own horn as loudly as possible, tell us the best thing you ever did, what’s your area of expertise. That’s how we’re going to sort out this project.”

                The guy to my left, an enormous Scot from the Isle of Skye, a MacLeod, too. Huge spade beard on him. Looked like he’d just walked off the set of Braveheart. In a stentorian voice he loudly proclaimed, “There’s absolootely naught I can be told aboot the inside of a Sun box.”

                “Very well then, you get all the server internals.”

                Round the table we went, each with his tale of greatness. The last guy was this kid, straight out of University of Iowa, big square head on the boy, who humbly submitted he thought he would do well in project management.

                “Excellent, we now have our project lead. You will be responsible for the burn rate, most of the client face time, composing spec, getting us in and out of aircraft and hotels and the like and provide strategic direction, etc.”

                The Grecht Scot MacLeod said “We thought you were to be project lead.”

                “My job is to be your servant, teach you all Java, write the utilities and generally convince management and the clients we are not a bunch of frauds. Project management is one thing, tech lead is quite another.”

                Best project I ever worked on. The Grecht MacLeod was a fan of AC/DC and we listened to a lot of it on that project.Report

              • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                Thanks all, and especially CK.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                More fun: you get drunk, you get in a bar fight — the sober man who hasn’t been drinking blows out your knee. But, hell, it’s not the sober man’s fault, because you made yourself an easy target.

                Now try it again, except with mugging!Report

              • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Jonathan McLeod
                Ignored
                says:

                Mr. McLeod: According to the facts of the case as Taranto presents them, with which we can safely presume Helms was much more intimately familiar than either of us, there is no proof of a “sexual assault” as defined under applicable laws for Taranto or anyone else to apologize for.

                At no point does Taranto fail to take sexual assault seriously as a crime. He concedes that the punishment Herrera has received for the lesser charge appears justifiable, necessarily implying that a finding of guilt under the greater charge would deserve worse punishment. He does argue that, as a matter of law and desirable application of the law, or use of clemency prerogatives, Helms would be, again given the facts as Taranto understands them, be justified in accepting Herrera’s guilty plea on the lesser charge, with the material effect of removing the sexual registry punishment and its “lifelong stigma.”

                As for the obviously problematic argument, the place where Taranto specifically errs, or you might say where he is “reckless,” is where he draws a false equivalence between the pattern of conduct he attributes to Herrera and the conduct he attributes to the “accusers.” Taranto uses the same word, “reckless,” for both types of conduct, then runs afoul of his own argument in regard to “sexual equality.” The “recklessness” of intruding upon the person of another individual, whether or not it amounts legally to a “sexual assault” in whatever degree, is very different from the “recklessness” if any of putting oneself in a vulnerable position. He fails to make that crucial distinction, perhaps primarily because it complicates the argument, perhaps also because the underlying distinction on which his imagination rests – of “naturally” aggressive or penetrating male and passive or receptive female – is one that he does not know how to confront.

                However, to disagree otherwise with what Taranto actually says – as opposed to, again, what you claim he says – is to suggest that it would not, in fact, be “reckless” for a woman in the circumstances described to get drunk with the likes of Herrera, then join him in the back seat of a car. It would be to fail to “reckon” on the difference between the real world and an ideal world. To say that the woman should not have “reckoned” on possible harm to herself, would be to say that, if you were her friend, and had had an opportunity to advise her against the conduct, or provide an alternative way home, you wouldn’t have done so on the night in question. Considering that you believe she was sexually assaulted, I can’t see why you wouldn’t have advised her to get a ride home with someone else, or wait until everyone had sobered up and could properly “reckon” on what he or she was doing or risking.

                This aspect of the reckoning of degrees and types of recklessness takes the matter to the level of real life predicaments involving imperfect even when not inebriated people – not political positioning. A judge or someone with the power of a judge is expected to deal with the former within reasonable and sometimes very specific or precedent-determined bounds, and with the latter as little as possible. If she errs on the side of “there but for the Grace…” and “let the guilty go free, rather than the innocent be punished,” I’m more of a mind to commend her for it. I think it’s fundamental for any “liberal” legal system, much less for any ideal libertarian view of restraint on state power.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to CK MacLeod
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                says:

                I agree with much, perhaps all of what you say here, but feel compelled to point out that we’re dealing with a very sensitive, and complicated — by history, by culture, and by the very nature of the crimes we’re dealing with — situation, which not only explains the reactions some people are having to Taranto, but also why the very good points you make aren’t sufficient to diffuse that reaction, or even undermine its credibility.

                Part of the problem is that, where rape and sexual assault are concerned, our judicial system has (at least where people of a certain skin color are concerned) traditionally erred on the side of “let the guilty go free, rather than the innocent be punished to a much greater degree in rape cases than in other cases. To a degree greater than with virtually any other crime, in fact, the onus has been on the victim, and not merely on her account of what happened during and in the lead up to the rape or sexual assault, but also in how she behaves, dresses, and drinks generally, and in how she reacts to the crime once it’s over (e.g., whether she reports it immediately or waits some period of time). Taranto invokes this history, whether he means to or not, in the way that he talks about the victim, and it’s not surprising, or even uncalled for, for people to react to that. That he also suggests that the assault was just men being men further plays into this.

                Now, this is the internet in 2013, and it has become an outrage machine constantly ready to explode, so that when it does, it feeds off itself and almost immediately loses touch with the very thing it’s reacting to. So words like “rape-apologist,” which can have legitimate polemical uses I think (e.g., when people are legitimately blaming the victim, or passing of what we now correctly consider rape, but which was once widely considered to be just normal, legal behavior, as again just normal behavior that should be legal, which is not uncommon), get thrown around all to carelessly. But Taranto lives in that world, and he probably knows it. I suspect he even revels in lighting the fuses.Report

              • Avatar Jonathan McLeod in reply to CK MacLeod
                Ignored
                says:

                First, I did address what Taranto said, rather than just making a suggestion about what he said, but I’ll let others read the article and decide things for themselves.

                “The “recklessness” of intruding upon the person of another individual, whether or not it amounts legally to a “sexual assault” in whatever degree, is very different from the “recklessness” if any of putting oneself in a vulnerable position. He fails to make that crucial distinction, perhaps primarily because it complicates the argument, perhaps also because the underlying distinction on which his imagination rests – of “naturally” aggressive or penetrating male and passive or receptive female – is one that he does not know how to confront.”

                CK, this is pretty much correct. Any disagreements I might have are probably more quibbles than anything else. However, you then go on to contradict this measured analysis of Taranto’s article with your last two paragraphs.

                So let’s be clear, It doesn’t matter if a woman acts recklessly, men don’t get to rape or sexually assault them.

                By his writing, Taranto doesn’t get this, and that’s what’s so disgusting about the column.Report

              • Avatar Sam in reply to Jonathan McLeod
                Ignored
                says:

                So let’s be clear, It doesn’t matter if a woman acts recklessly, men don’t get to rape or sexually assault them.

                This is exactly the point that Taranto seems to either ignore or genuinely not believe.Report

              • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Jonathan McLeod
                Ignored
                says:

                The two-part statement – “it doesn’t matter if a woman acts recklessly, men don’t get to rape or sexually assault them” – can be taken in different ways, though those satisfied with the position as stated will presumably not wish to acknowledge its ambiguities.
                An authentic, as opposed to ideological-political, conservatism will have already taken the resultant tendency to treat discussion itself as problematic into account.

                I think it’s somewhat symptomatic that the two independent clauses of the important statement are being run together here as though they form a single proper sentence of clear and inarguable meaning susceptible to mandatory interpretation. This is a fundamentalist and literalist approach to the statement of moral norms, treated very much like “commandments,” even if we happen in this instance to be focused on a generally liberal-left political project. (Issues related to sexuality, sexual identity, and sexual violence often bring out the fundamentalisms on both sides.)

                Taken separately, each of the statements becomes more obviously open to the to be forbidden interpretations. I doubt, for instance, that anyone actually believes that it really “doesn’t matter if a woman acts recklessly.” Rather than address this problem, Mr. McLeod simply rejects without explanation or specific argument the first of the “two paragraphs” of my previous comment devoted to it. To re-state that summarily rejected argument in short: We know from from experience of the world that “it” in fact may matter very much. What the left-feminist fundamentalist speaker really means, of course, is that it shouldn’t matter. By converting the moral imperative into the form of a descriptive truth statement, he or she seems to imagine that he or she has brought the day that it is in fact descriptively true somehow closer. I believe that this is partly what Chris means when he refers to a useful polemical statement: If everyone believed the statement, it is hoped, then it would become descriptively as well as morally true. The more that people believe it, the more people who believe it and unquestioningly recite it like a social mantra, the more (descriptively) true it would become.

                A similar mechanism operates independently in the second clause, even prior to the politicized conjunction of the two separate clauses. If “don’t get to” meant “don’t get away with” or “don’t find opportunity” or simply “won’t,” and the observation were descriptively true, there would be no discussion to be had. If, however, we view the statement as a simple moral norm or imperative – “don’t get to,” as “should not in any sense be thought allowed to” or “preliminarily excused for,” etc. – the notion that conservatives don’t share it will rightly be taken by conservatives as offensive or, if you prefer, “disgusting.” They may even be disgusted by the notion that referring to the way of the world as they observe it is somehow disgusting.

                This actually very familiar and frequently re-appearing prescriptive vs. descriptive problematic also leads to the conflict in the second of my two simply dismissed but unaddressed arguments, the one in which I refered to the inherent conflict between, on the one hand, foundational commitments to presumption of innocence and adversarial processes of trial and adjudication, and on the other primary commitment to a worthy social-political objective. (Chris does seem to acknowledge this problem, and, though I would disagree with aspects of his analysis, he points to reasons why it remains difficult for people to acknowledge it.) In relation specifically to sexual assault, there have been a range of attempts to overcome this conflict, for instance by assertions that “victims never lie” or in other words that on this matter we can make an exception for an effective presumption of guilt. The attitude has resulted in certain very notorious or once-notorious gross miscarriages of justice amidst “moral panic,” in which the lives of innocent men and their families and communities have been gravely harmed, in a way that has also harmed the social liberal cause socially and politically “Duke” and “McMartin” are just two of the more infamous names in this history. Needless to say, there are famous cases on the other side as well, but the underlying difficulty survives them.Report

              • Again, I think we’re at an impasse. I’m fine with my statement, my reading of Taranto, and the way my statement applies to Taranto’s column. The need for extensive analysis into the minutia of this statement I think clearly explains where you and I – and, tangentially, Taranto – are coming from.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to CK MacLeod
                Ignored
                says:

                CK,
                The person I’m referring to knows exactly who he is, and we have agreed to disagree on definitions. He has a fair argument on culpability, even if I disagree with it.

                Do you think that someone who fucks up and loses her bra while swimming is less of a victim if she’s raped afterwards? This is the level of thinking that exists when someone says “but she was flirting, so it might have been okay!!” Or tries to claim that because a woman says she wasn’t flirting, that she was lying — because other folks thought differently.Report

      • Avatar j@m3z Aitch. in reply to Jonathan McLeod
        Ignored
        says:

        What worries me is that Taranto might be right–that sexual assault might in fact be an inextricable part of male sexuality. Which doesn’t mean all men would do it, or that it would be impossible (and certainly not unwise or undesirable) to diminish it, but just that there might be some biological elements that can’t be fully rooted out.Report

        • Avatar Sam in reply to j@m3z Aitch.
          Ignored
          says:

          Even if we suppose that this ugly possibility is true, it only further necessitates attempts to meet its challenge head on. In other words, if an aspect of male sexuality is sexual aggression (and I don’t believe it is), and if we think that sexual aggression is problematic (we do), then surely doing what McCaskill is doing – sending a message that the apparent tolerance of sexual aggression will itself not be tolerated – is right. But Taranto clearly thinks otherwise.

          And while we’re engaged in a thought experiment, Taranto seems to genuinely believe that at least some sexual aggression is part of male sexuality and that any attempt to defuse this constitutes a war on men. The implications of what he seems to be arguing are astounding and part of the genuine contempt that at least some conservatives seem to have for women.Report

          • Avatar zic in reply to Sam
            Ignored
            says:

            Taranto seems to genuinely believe that at least some sexual aggression is part of male sexuality and that any attempt to defuse this constitutes a war on men. The implications of what he seems to be arguing are astounding and part of the genuine contempt that at least some conservatives seem to have for women.

            +1. If we maintain this as a status quo, then we enable the already centuries-war long war on women via sexual assault and rape; we favor some men’s sexuality over all women’s sexual sanctity.*

            *Caveat — I do not like this gendered formulation, though it is the most common. Women commit sexual assaults. Men are sexually assaulted.Report

            • Avatar j@m3z Aitch. in reply to zic
              Ignored
              says:

              Zic–I agree with your caveat, but there are reasons, having to do with costs of parental investment, to at least suspect that males are more likely to commit sexual assaults than females. Not that it shouldn’t be discouraged and punished whomever does it, but men are probably the bigger social problem.Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to j@m3z Aitch.
                Ignored
                says:

                I agree 100% with that. But I also know that this makes it more difficult for men who are victims of sexual assault (and domestic violence, too) to come forward when they’ve been assaulted.

                My caveat is to include the minority.Report

              • Avatar j@m3z Aitch. in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                this makes it more difficult for men who are victims of sexual assault (and domestic violence, too) to come forward

                True. And FWIW, that was in the back of my mind as I wrote. I have a good friend who put up with a lot of real abuse from his wife because a) he wanted to keep the marriage together and make it work for the sake of their son, and b) he’s a big guy, former football player and wilderness guide, and I think even he couldn’t quite grasp at first that he could actually be physically abused by a 5’2″ stick think woman. Fortunately all the abuse was at him, and never at the kid.Report

          • Avatar j@m3z Aitch. in reply to Sam
            Ignored
            says:

            Sam,

            I agree. My fear is a fear, definitely not an excuse.Report

        • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to j@m3z Aitch.
          Ignored
          says:

          At turns, I’ve wondered the same thing. Taranto kinda misses the point here. Thing is, in the military we’re talking about a work environment where you’re never really Off Work. Sure, the flag gets hauled down at Last Formation but you go on wearing the dog tags. There are all sorts of regulations on Fraternization in the military: any relationship between higher and lower ranks, or officers and enlisted, becomes a power relationship and is subject to abuse. Doesn’t have to be sexual, though it could be, of course, in which case, no matter how consensual, it’s a violation of UCMJ.

          Capt. Herrera clearly took advantage of a drunk woman. Equally obviously, Capt. Herrera’s fart was pushed back into the proverbial sack because he was an Air Force Academy ringknocker, captain of the weightlifting team, a guy who had some pull. Not enough pull to keep him in the USAF but enough to keep him off the sex offender registry.

          And Herrrera’s not the only beneficiary of clemency. Lt. Col. James Wilkerson is another such hard luck case.Report

        • Avatar DavidTC in reply to j@m3z Aitch.
          Ignored
          says:

          I suspect that sexual _forwardness_ might in fact be an inextricable part of ‘male sexuality’. Or whatever you want to call it. I suspect that men will always ‘push’ more for sex, due to biology. Even far in the future, in some hypothetical universe where sexism is completely gone, men will be the gender most likely to make sexual advances, because men simply want sex more than women. This is not to imply that this is anything more than a _statistic_, and plenty of women want sex more than men.

          I am aware that this is probably not entirely ‘political correct’ in feminism. (And I really hate using the phrase ‘political correct’ in quotes that way, because most people who do are assholes.) But there are actual hormonal and physiological differences between men and women that could account for this. (And I could be entirely wrong, and this could all be completely socialized, in which case this is all nonsense.)

          OTOH, thinking of this drive as ‘aggressiveness’ is probably exactly the wrong way to think of it. There’s absolutely no reason that ‘forwardness’ and ‘attacking women’ need to be the same thing.

          How men push for sex, and whether or not they _stop_ when rejected, and how they treat any potential partner, _are_ entirely due to socialization, and we know that for a fact, due to different cultures having different rules throughout history.

          Hell, if anything, this idea means that men need to be _more careful_ and have _more rules_ about sexual conduct so their desire for it does not lead into wrongness, and have actual punishments to deter them.

          There are only really three choices here:
          1) You believe in the difference between how men and women treat sex is entirely social.
          2) You believe that there are real differences, that men are much more likely to press forward, while women don’t, and thus…
          a) …you believe men need _strict_ rules to stop them from doing so against a women’s wishes, along with very specific socialization when young, and that we need to speak out against misogynistic othering of women and all the bullshit of that sort. And we need to root out institutional cultures of rape everywhere they can be found.
          b) …you think men will just rape women, and, hey, that sucks, but what are you going to do? It’s not like it’s legal or something, we _try_ to stop it, sometimes. A little.

          Taranto is apparently of the type 2b.Report

          • Avatar zic in reply to DavidTC
            Ignored
            says:

            Just so that you know, current scientific research suggests that your first assumption is not true. It’s culture, not nature. Women have just been taught to keep a lid on it; I see no reason to presume men can’t be taught the same thing.

            And I don’t suppose that men will be any better at controlling that all the time then women are. But the excuse that men are just more forward by nature is, I think, total b.s., and I find it pretty reprehensible when it’s used as an excuse for rape/assault; and I’m glad you made that point lower in your comment.Report

            • Avatar DavidTC in reply to zic
              Ignored
              says:

              I think, at this point, separating out nature vs. nurture WRT to sex is nearly impossible, and hell, even if men do, in some sort of hypothetical imaginary state of nature, push more for sex…there’s nothing to say that they can’t be socialized the other way, or women socialized to like it more.

              Trying to figure out what the human sex drive looks without _any_ sort of culture is nearly impossible, because humans don’t even look like _people_ without culture. Trying to argue what people are _without_ socialization is nearly complete nonsense. ‘People’ are almost entirely memes at this point, a collection of beliefs and behaviors that we pass around.

              Men generally, right now, are pushing for sex more than women, and we can _certainly_ change that with socialization (In either direction, in fact.), considering basically all human interaction is due to socialization. Many men also seem to have rather poor notions of women’s sovereignty over her own body, and we can certainly change that with socialization also.

              It doesn’t _particularly_ matter where the ‘original cause’ is., or if we’re ever able to trace it. It would be rather unethical to let people grow up outside society, and while I’m aware that’s happened before, I don’t think that a _group_ of people have ever done that and anyone observed their sexual norms.

              The point I was making was just that if men really are _predisposed_ to something, that it makes more sense to have _harsher_ rules about it, and pay more attention to it, not shrug it off.

              But Taranto has apparently confused ‘natural inclination’ for ‘something we should let happen’. Whether or not it _is_ a natural inclination or not, it’s certainly something we should decide to not let happen!

              And raping people probably, technically, _is_ a natural inclination, just like hitting them on the head and stealing their stuff is. We don’t naturally have empathy to people we don’t really know, and we don’t naturally respect them or their stuff, and will just take it if we can and they can’t fight us off. However, here in _civilization_, we are civilized otherwise…except that, WRT rape, men often _aren’t_. Aka, rape culture.

              And, if women really _do_ want sex as much as men, we have _very clear_ evidence that it is possible to socialize people who want sex into committing rape very rarely. Because we did exactly that with women.

              There’s not actually any logical way to look at this and conclude what Taranto did. WTF is this nonsense about limiting ‘male sexuality’…if male sexuality is _rape_, then hell yes we want to limit it. If men are actually pre-programmed rape machines that can’t be changed…then a) stop dis-believing accounts of rape, and b) actually set up a power structure to punish them for that.

              Taranto is passing bullshit of the highest order, because he frankly doesn’t see rape as a big deal.Report

      • Avatar Turgid Jacobian in reply to Jonathan McLeod
        Ignored
        says:

        Did I misread that, then? I thought that he plead NG to all the specifications, and most were dismissed without prejudice. BlaiseP linked to the pdf above, maybe I got it wrong.Report

      • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Jonathan McLeod
        Ignored
        says:

        attributing assault to the sexual recklessness of the women.

        Was she reckless?Report

  10. Avatar NewDealer
    Ignored
    says:

    I’m deeply suspicious of the idea about why we should let the military try their own for crimes and offenses that laws of general applicability.

    Military tribunals should be able to cover actual military issues like war crimes, being a double agent or minor offenses like disrespecting a senior officer that really don’t belong in civilian courts.

    People in the military are still American citizens. They are still bound by the laws of the nation and whatever state they reside in. If they are accused of a criminal act, I don’t see why they should get a military trial. They should get a normal trial in normal court, just like everyone else.

    I suppose you can argue that sometimes a military trial and/or punishment is more strict than a civilian one but this does not seem to be always the case.

    Though be told I still have a very ambivalent view of the military that is deeply unfashionable. I understand that every country needs a self-defense force. I don’t see why the American military needs to be as big as it is (Do we really need 12 Aircraft Carriers or as many as we have? Most nations have 1 if that) and take on a lot of recruits every year. Also I am weary of the idea that joining the military automatically makes one a hero and deserving of more respect.

    I understand that my views in the above paragraph are highly unfashionable and in the minority. But we live in a democratic country and the military is a seemingly anti-democratic, hierarchical organization. I think there is often a tension here. The military wants autonomy in a way that is often unbecoming of a democratic institution.Report

    • Avatar NewDealer in reply to NewDealer
      Ignored
      says:

      Unrelated to main post but part of the tension seems to be whether my civil liberty and freedom exists but for the military.

      I’ve met a lot of people (men and women) who think that the Constitution and Bill of Rights would not be worth a damn if it was not for our very sizable and active military. They see the military as the true safeguarders of democracy and freedom.

      This idea makes me very nervous. I don’t like the idea that Civil Liberty only exists because of the good graces of the military. It seems to me that if this is true, the military could easily take away civil liberty and democratic elections in a coup d’etat like has happened in so many Latin America and African countries during the second half of the 20th century or even now.

      Civil Liberty is something that must exist free and clear of the military.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to NewDealer
        Ignored
        says:

        Polite fictions must be kept at all costs. Got it.Report

      • Avatar j@m3z Aitch. in reply to NewDealer
        Ignored
        says:

        ND,

        Two random responses.

        1. The military primarily protects from external threats, not internal ones. So if the U.S. was a country in real danger of invasion and occupation, those folks might have a point. But given how amazingly fortunate the U.S. is geographically and in its “choice” of neighbors, those folks are spouting pure nationalistic bullshit.

        2. I had the good luck to accompany a group of high schoolers to the Pentagon some years back, where they were addressed by some high ranking officers. One, the second in command of the Marines, iirc, was asked a pretty smart question about embedding of reporters in the Iraq War. He gave an intelligent response, noting both how it benefited the military, but created concerns about the media’s watchdog role, and concluded his answer by saying, “If I had a choice between a strong military and no free press, or no military and a strong free press, I’d take the latter.” It’s a point I, as a teacher, could make repeatedly without much real effect, but coming from such a high ranking military leader, it made a huge impression.Report

        • Avatar Jonathan McLeod in reply to j@m3z Aitch.
          Ignored
          says:

          “But given how amazingly fortunate the U.S. is geographically and in its “choice” of neighbors, those folks are spouting pure nationalistic bullshit.”

          Excellent. The plan is falling into place…Report

          • Avatar j@m3z Aitch. in reply to Jonathan McLeod
            Ignored
            says:

            Yes, you already have your socialist collaborationists occupying many of the northern tier of states, and all you have to do to gain a foothold in Michigan is to promise lots of funds to Detroit (notably, you’ve already offered to “loan” us the money for another bridge to Windsor–an obvious ploy, where the “loan” is meant to disguise the fact that you’re now the revenue source for a major American city, and building a bridge meant to enhance the speed of your anschluss.). I imagine you’re all hoping California’s Prop 8 is upheld by the SupCt, so you can win them over by promising them SSM. It’s truly a brilliant plan, one that will go down in the annals of military history.

            Thank god we’ll all have the unreconstructed South, which I’m sure y’all want nothing to do with, to fall back to! I hear Chris has room for us all down in Texas.Report

        • Avatar NewDealer in reply to j@m3z Aitch.
          Ignored
          says:

          1. Exactly. Or they have watched Canadian Bacon one too many times.

          2. There are obviously going to be good people in the military with beliefs like the later. The people who espouse the views above are often (but not always) civilians.

          I admit to once again being at a cultural disadvantage here. I come from a geographic and socio-economic-religious background where I am highly unlikely to know anyone who joined the military. I knew some people with parents who served in Vietnam while growing up. There was one guy in my high school who applied to West Point (IIRC he did not get in), but otherwise the overwhelming majority of us went to 4 year private colleges and were very lucky not to need the assistance of ROTC or to have our options be the Military or McDonalds. It took me until after college, to meet actual enlistees. My undergrad did not really have an ROTC. It took me until law school, to see ROTC people from the undergrad campus. I would see them train at the gym in the morning or in their uniforms at the big cafeteria.Report

          • Avatar Will Truman in reply to NewDealer
            Ignored
            says:

            I’m not sure you can watch Canadian Bacon too many times. I love that movie.

            Virtually nobody where I grew up joined the military (even the Rotcees), though it’s a very common path out here. It’s an interesting cultural divide.Report

    • Avatar Kimmi in reply to NewDealer
      Ignored
      says:

      A few points:
      1) If an American soldier rapes a Japanese woman (or man) on an American base — he’s not on American soil. Which may be fine if we’re in Japan, but do we really need to be signing Americans up for public executions??
      2) At least keep the military trials for when the whole operation is black. As in, any reference to anything done on mission is “not to be talked about.” Umm… or maybe we want to use secret civvie courts?
      3) Military courts allow things like a “dishonorable discharge” (and other things on your permanent record). Civvie courts aren’t empowered as such.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Kimmi
        Ignored
        says:

        Maybe it needs to be bifucated. Dishonorable discharge but a civilian trial for the charge.

        #1 is a reasonable point.Report

      • Avatar Turgid Jacobian in reply to Kimmi
        Ignored
        says:

        3) Military courts allow things like a “dishonorable discharge” (and other things on your permanent record). Civvie courts aren’t empowered as such.
        Not familiar with the line on the job app that says: “Have you been convicted of a felony?” Legal or not, this shows up.Report

    • Avatar Will H. in reply to NewDealer
      Ignored
      says:

      It’s an offense under the UCMJ to violate a civilian law.
      And they don’t distinguish between traffic violations and murder. It’s a civilian law. That’s the only consideration.
      They typically allow the civilian court to proceed first.
      A court martial (or Captain’s Mast) can be held in absentia if the accused is incarcerated.Report

    • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to NewDealer
      Ignored
      says:

      I agree with you on this.Report

    • Avatar Kieselguhr Kid in reply to NewDealer
      Ignored
      says:

      I don’t mean to be one of those snooty Internet, “look, you have no idea what you’re talking about” guys, but — look, you have no idea what you’re talking about. Military members are, in fact, subject to civilian law. Civilian law has jurisdiction. You don’t “get” a military trial as some kind of gift; if someboy wants to bring a civilian case, they do. Indeed, courts-martial quite commonly take a backseat to the civilian case. The military system operates in _parallel_. Sometimes for whatever reason a case is brought in the military venue but not in a civilian one. But is a soldier is accused of rape it is entirely possible that there be both a military _and_ a civilian trial. What you might “get” is an _additional_ penalty beyond the civilian-court-imposed one (like a discharge).Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Kieselguhr Kid
        Ignored
        says:

        Especially if the crime occurred off-base. Sometimes there’s an established protocol under a Status of Forces Agreement for custody of the accused service member. After one truly horrific rape, back in 1995, the Japanese got sick of their SOFA with the Marines on Okinawa. They demanded (and got) the right to try and imprison the accused. There were some formalities, I’m pretty sure the Japanese had to indict the accused before the Navy would release them from their own brig. But those rapists were handed over to the tender mercies of the Japanese judicial system.

        Iraq got sick of its SOFA: that’s the main reason we’re no longer in there. Afghanistan is outraged over the American military whisking out Staff Sgt. Robert Bales. The Afghans want him back so they can execute him.Report

        • Avatar Kieselguhr Kid in reply to BlaiseP
          Ignored
          says:

          Not “especially if,” so much as, if it’s on base nobody else might have jurisdiction — a lot of things which are covered by state law aren’t easily or obviouly prosecutable (it’s like saying Ohio has jurisdiction over Massachusetts residents who break its laws, especially if the crime occurs in Ohio. Well, yeah.) But polities can negotiate that too — I was recently at a post in San Antonio and was surprised to see local cops patrolling on post along with MPs and SPs.Report

          • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Kieselguhr Kid
            Ignored
            says:

            Another good point. And based on my own cynical recollection, it’s a question of who’s on duty in Battalion HQ when the incident comes to light. Convening a court martial is a royal pain in the butt: the local constabulary and justice system might be brought in to manage the arrest, especially if someone’s gone to the hospital.Report

          • Avatar Will H. in reply to Kieselguhr Kid
            Ignored
            says:

            I’ve seen cops on base before, but never on patrol with MPs.
            In fact, I sorta got the impression that “MP” meant “permanent watch duty.”
            30 yrs ago though. Things change.Report

            • Avatar Kieselguhr Kid in reply to Will H.
              Ignored
              says:

              Sorry — not _with_ the MPs (that would in most situations be a _posse_ problem). I meant MPs, SPs, and the local fuzz could all be seen patrolling different parts of the post.

              The presence of MPs and SPs suggests why that might become more common, too; posts are becoming a lot more purple, so jurisdictional issues are getting weird.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Kieselguhr Kid
                Ignored
                says:

                Around here, anything big goes down, you get 5 police forces showing up (two college, multiple “out of city” plus ordinary “city police”). I’m not surprised that the MPs are interested in sharing duties.Report

  11. Avatar Mike Schilling
    Ignored
    says:

    This is a disgrace. Holds are to prevent Democratic presidents from appointing judges. Period.Report

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