Maybe, in the end, we will thank Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinksi, head of the Air Force's Sexual Assault Prevention Unit, who was arrested on suspicion of sexual battery early Sunday after a woman reported he drunkenly approached her in a parking lot and grabbed her breasts and buttocks.
When it comes to dealing with the rape and assault epidemic that plagues our armed forces, Krusinksi's tawdry story puts the finest point on all you need to know about the military's problem with saying one thing and doing another.
Or maybe we’ll give a hearty thanks to Gen. Mark Welsh, the Air Force chief of staff, who told the
I doubt Welsh meant to sound like a Neanderthal. After all, he was testifying about how to reduce the extraordinarily high number of military sexual assaults, as quantified in a shocking new
New York Sen.
"To begin to attribute sexual assault rates in the military to a hook-up culture in high school?" an incredulous Gillibrand told NBC. "It is beyond belief that those statements were just uttered. We're talking about violent crimes, committed by aggressors, perpetrators who are often targeting victims specifically.
"This is a violent act. This is not a date gone badly."
The Pentagon report, signed by Secretary of Defense
"There's no question the military has a serious, embedded serial predator problem," said filmmaker Kirby Dick, whose Oscar-nominated 2012 documentary "The Invisible War," was a wake-up call about the problem that brings a whole new meaning to the phrase "women in combat."
His film, available on
The Pentagon, he added, has used his documentary as a training tool. He estimated that a quarter of a million military members had seen the film.
Walsh, whose branch has been plagued by some high-profile sex scandals, required his 164 wing commanders to see and discuss the film in November. (Since 2011, more than 30 instructors at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio have been charged in a pervasive sex scandal. And last year, at Aviano Air Base in Italy, a commander overturned the aggravated sexual assault conviction of a fellow fighter pilot with whom he had served in Iraq. In the ensuing uproar, Hagel last month proposed that
“I have no tolerance for this,” President
"If we find out somebody is engaging in this stuff, they've got to be held accountable -- prosecuted, stripped of their positions, court-martialed, fired, dishonorably discharged," he said. "Period."
But perhaps more important, to the thousands of victims of military sexual assault who suffer in silence, he offered this message: "I want them to hear directly from their commander in chief that I've got their backs. I will support them."
Many reform advocates say the only way the military can fix its dismal record on the issue is by removing responsibility for investigating and prosecuting sexual assaults from the chain of command.
A bipartisan group of representatives, including U.S. Rep.
After years of military dithering -- after Tailhook, Lackland and Aviano -- removing sexual assault investigations from the chain of command is an idea whose time has come.
"Even if commanders want to make the right decision, the people who have been assaulted won't trust that they will," said Dick. "And if they don't report, the perpetrator goes free to assault again and again."