“The current commander-based system is a throwback to the days of the Revolutionary War and was established at a time when military courts did not even exist,” said Anu Bhagwati, former Marine Corps Captain and Executive Director of the Service Women’s Action Network. “The military does not send our troops into battle with 18th century weapons, nor does it treat the wounds of war with 18th century medicine, so why does today’s military continue to use an 18th century legal system?”
“Many of our trusted allies have adopted a modern legal system where decisions to prosecute serious crimes are made by legal professionals rather than commanding officers,” Bhagwati said.And Wood's commentary is here:
Though only 15 percent of the armed forces are women, they have an overwhelming effect once the principles of equality are accepted. According to SWAN, which has generous corporate sponsors, “SWAN’s mission is to transform military culture by securing equal opportunity and freedom to serve without discrimination, harassment or assault; and to reform veterans’ services to ensure high quality health care and benefits for women veterans and their families.”
The “freedom to serve without discrimination” is an open-ended project to undermine national self-defense. It is already too late to turn back. Though Bhagwati decries the systematic inequities of military life, she is almost certainly a beneficiary of systematic inequity in the form of favoritism for women and nonwhites, and would never have achieved her current influence if the group she champions had not already won the most important prize: a position of unchallenged moral superiority.The commander-based system works in ways that Ms. Bhagwati may not appreciate, namely that it permits commanders to punish those whose behavior doesn't quite rise to the level of a crime but falls short of standards. Were commanders to not have the Article 15 tool at their disposal, for those 86% of defendants accused of sexual assault but not convicted in a court martial, the story would end right there.
Moreover, I call Ms. Baghwati's activist foresight into question, for I seriously doubt she would be satisfied with the civilian "conversion" rate for rape...around 10%-ish...when the miltiary's rate is somewhat higher at 14%. There is little evidence civilian prosecution of military offenders would yield more convictions; and would likely produce less.
And as for "freedom to serve without discrimination", TTH calls out SWAN's and Ms. Bhagwati's agendas perfectly. The military discriminates all the time: against fat people and against dumb people via weight and ASVAB standards, and against Christians, men, and whites every day via "freedom from Christianity" and diversity programs. Do these latter groups, systematically discriminated against in order to provide the sort of freedom to serve without discrimination that Ms. Bhagwati seeks, count? Or is the "freedom from discrimination" the sort that actively discriminates against some groups so that others may enjoy more power, more autonomy, and fewer obstacles and difficulties?