This is a sickening and truly despicable move by Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich). He has removed from the Defense Authorization Act the bipartisan provision that would have provided the best chance of improving the rampant problem of sexual abuse in the military. From New York Times:
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 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.
There is simply no good justification for keeping in place what is literally a feudal system of military justice that is clearly broken. Our main allies from Israel to Australia have long ago adopted this change and managed to still have perfectly functioning armies. The claims from top commanders the changing the system would undermined military trust, morale or discipline are frankly laughable given that we have ample examples proving it works well in other countries.
There is no level of public shaming that is too great for Levin.