When the prosecution rate for sexual assaults in the military is less than 1 percent, and the conviction rate is less than .1 percent, we have a problem. It becomes a bigger problem when our legislators set out to do something about it and their colleagues quash the effort.
In a striking showdown between Senator Carl Levin, the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, and a member of his own party, Mr. Levin said on Tuesday that he would remove a measure aimed at curbing sexual assault in the military from a defense spending bill.
Senator Carl Levin supported military brass in deciding to drop a proposal by Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand, another Democrat.
Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand, Democrat of New York, offered a measure that would give military prosecutors rather than commanders the power to decide which sexual assault crimes to try, with the goal of increasing the number of people who report crimes without fear of retaliation. Mr. Levin, Democrat of Michigan, said he would replace Ms. Gillibrand’s measure — which has 27 co-sponsors, including four Republicans — with one that would require a senior military officer to review decisions by commanders who decline to prosecute sexual assault cases. Although Mr. Levin’s measure would change the current system, it would keep prosecution of sexual assault cases within the chain of command, as the military wants.
I think we have a man problem in the Senate, too. This is the second time Senator Gillibrand has gotten the smackdown from her own party. It's not like she was asking for anything radical, and it had bipartisan support.
“They basically embrace the status quo here,” said Senator Barbara Boxer, Democrat of California, a co-sponsor of Ms. Gillibrand’s bill. “It’s outrageous.”