First it was spending $400 for a hammer that you could pick up at Home Depot for ten dollars.
Then it was $600 toilet seats which you could grab at any do-it-yourself outlet for 50 bucks.
We started questioning if the military wasn't being wasteful. Their practices of procuring what they needed was costing us a huge amount of excessive money. Dollars that could be spent on other areas, or even reducing taxes. There were murmurs of complaints.
Then we settled down after we heard from outraged congressional leaders that they would be looking into this and those practices would cease. They didn't, but we bought into it. After all, the military knows best, right? We trust them with our security so we better believe in them. And Congress had our backs, or as the military would say, they had our 6's.
Now, with the latest revelations, it seems those toilet seats and hammers were child's play. Enter the newest boondoggle. The cost of sexual assault in the military. What are you guessing, $20 Million? $100 million? Oh, if only...
The failure to address sexual assault in the military is costing the U.S. billions of dollars per year, a new study finds. This, according to the business section of the Huffington Post yesterday.
The fallout from military sexual assaults cost the U.S. $3.6 billion last year, according to a recent report from the RAND Corporation, an international research organization. The estimate is based on a calculation of the cost of medical and mental health services victims are likely to seek after an incident, as well as other "intangible costs."
The report also takes into account the number of unpaid work days military sexual assault victims are likely to take off as a result of their ordeal. Those missed earnings amount to a $104.5 million loss annually for the economy, the researchers found.
The findings add to an already growing sense of urgency surrounding military sexual assaults. President Obama said earlier this year that he has "no tolerance" for such assaults after a Pentagon report found that incidents had spiked 35 percent since 2010.
The same report estimated that as many as 26,000 members of the military were sexually assaulted last year. In response, the House of Representatives recently passed a provision that would provide whistleblower protection to victims.
Once again, Congress assures us that they have our backs. So what do these outraged elected officials do? Basically nothing. They vote to keep the "chain of command" rules in order. What's the chain of command rules? A process that can result in retaliation from co-workers toward the victims and may discourage victims from coming forward. That's the way to solve the problem -- the military way. Punish the victim so they are too afraid to report the crime. A victimized soldier reports the crime to his/her Sergeant. Sergeant reports this to the Lieutenant who perpetrated the crime or is friends with the assaulting soldier and it ends right there. Or worse, the victim gets victimized even further.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) introduced the amendment in the hopes that it would encourage victims of rape in the military to come forward and report the crimes without fear of retaliation.
But Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) announced an alternative proposal. He force through his own amendment to keep sexual assault cases inside the chain of command and require a senior military officer to review decisions by commanders who refuse to prosecute rape cases. Simply put -- the status quo.
The committee passed the substitute amendment by a vote of 17 to 9.
In other words, report the offense to your immediate superior who in many cases is the accused attacker. That's it. It's over before it even starts.
Boy, am I yearning for the days of worrying over a $600 toilet seat and a $400 hammer. $3.6 Billion dollars? Thanks to Carl Levin (and yes, he's a Democrat)and his cronies, who knows how high that cost will be next year?