Climate of sexual assault in military must be eliminated

Clearly, the U.S. armed forces approach to preventing sexual assaults is not working. A year ago, the Pentagon estimated about 19,000 members of the military had been sexually assaulted in 2011. Now the estimate for 2012 has been released: 26,000.

That has infuriated both President Barack Obama and many members of Congress. Still, some armed forces leaders urge moving slowly to address the problem.

Lawmakers are right to insist on action to address the problem. Members of a House of Representatives committee are pushing for a bill that would rescind the longstanding authority of military commanding officers to alter or dismiss court-martial convictions in rape and assault cases.

Obviously, that change should be made. So should others intended to curb what appears to be an epidemic of sexual assault in the military.

It is ironic that for so long, military men fought the idea of allowing gays to serve because it made them uncomfortable to think that a fellow soldier might be eyeing them in the shower, or getting a little too close in the foxhole, yet so many of them think it is just fine to rape a fellow soldier who happens to be female.

It is time for that climate to be eliminated. There should be no room for it in the military.

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