by Michael Lowrey
Sexual assaults in the military are a very politically sensitive issues that has created some very silly moves both by Congress and the armed services. This time it’s Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James F. Amos making remarks encouraging officers and NCOs to not go soft on Marines accused of sexual assault. McClatchy Newspapers reports:
Amos used his tour to stress his own strong feelings about the 348 reported sexual assaults in the Marine Corps last year. In a roughly 75-minute talk intended for every Marine non-commissioned officer and officer, the career aviator demanded tougher punishment for those accused of sexual misconduct.
“Why have we become so soft?” Amos asked in a speech April 19 at Parris Island.
He further described himself as “very, very disappointed” in court-martial boards that don’t expel those who misbehave sexually, and he denounced as “bullsh*t” claims that many sexual assault allegations amount to second thoughts from individuals who initially consented.
“I know fact from fiction,” Amos declared, a transcript of his April 19 speech shows. “The fact of the matter is 80 percent of those are legitimate sexual assaults.”
“My lawyers don’t want me to talk about this, but I’m going to anyway,” he said May 23 at California’s Camp Pendleton, according to a defense legal filing. “The defense lawyers love when I talk about this, because then they can throw me under the bus later on and complain about unlawful command influence.”
Which they are. Unlawful command influence (UCI) has been called “a mortal enemy of military justice.” At least two military judges, including the chief judge of the Navy-Marine Corps Trial Judiciary, have found that Amos’ comments create the appearance of UCI and are making key rulings that favor the defense at trial.