Obama Drags His Feet On Military Justice Improvement

Posted: Aug 04, 2013 1:27 PM

Even on issues that have bipartisan support, President Obama still can’t make decisions and pass common sense bills.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand brought forward the Military Justice Improvement Act in early May, which would remove military commanders from prosecuting sexual assault cases and give the power to experienced military lawyers. The bill received widespread bipartisan support, most notably from Sens. Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Barbara Boxer, and Elizabeth Warren.

So why did Obama let Chuck Hagel oppose the legislation?

Author Lanny Davis, former member of President Bush’s Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, wrote an article for FOX News last week and was a featured guest on Friday. He, like many of us, doesn’t understand why the President continues to drag his feet on this issue. He explains:

“One reason for this breadth of support is Gillibrand's skillfully crafted moderate and modest approach to the proposed reform…the proposal does not assign to a civilian authority such decisions to investigate or prosecute. Rather it would retain these decisions within the Judge Advocate General (JAG) office to be made by an experienced attorney not in the immediate chain of command above the complainant.”

He also cites data collected from the Pentagon that reveals the unlikelihood of women revealing incidents of sexual misconduct because of the current system.

“There is more than enough data to support the common-sense assumption that those who are victims of military sexual assault may be discouraged to report an incident, knowing that only those immediately above them in their chain of command will decide whether to investigate or prosecute.

For example, according to the Pentagon's own data, of the active duty women who indicated experiencing unwelcome sexual conduct, 66 percent said they felt uncomfortable making a report within their chain of command and 47 percent indicated fear of retaliation or reprisal.”

The approval ratings of today’s Congress are the lowest they have ever been, thanks to extreme and ongoing bipartisanship. Our president hasn’t helped this situation, and usually makes it worse by staying quiet on issues he simply refuses to address. “Purple” moments, as Davis says, don’t happen very often, and have hardly happened in the past few years. If our president can’t even take a stand and support a bipartisan bill, then whose leadership can we look to in this town?