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Expert: Congress at fault for military nude-photo scandal



Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., says the Department of Defense “has to get to the bottom” of the military scandal in which nude or partly nude images of thousands of service men and women have been posted online.

Maybe she should look in a mirror to find those responsible, an expert in military policies and practices suggests.

“Members of Congress and Obama officials who are still making policy in the Pentagon should be held accountable for what they did or did not do when President Obama was mandating unsound policies for our military,” writes Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, a public policy organization that specializes in social issues in the military.

The nude image scandal, USA Today reported, has moved “beyond the private social media site Marines United to a slew of gay pornography web pages with images of men wearing military uniforms engaged in sex acts.”

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A large number of websites are involved and the Marines were not the only service embroiled in the scandal.

“Images of men in the uniforms of sailors, soldiers and airmen also appear on an array of Tumblr sites. Similar to the Marines United case, it is unclear whether men appearing in the images – some photographed engaging in sex – provided consent to have their images shared publicly. Victims of so-called revenge porn in the Marines United case have limited protection under military law if the photographs or videos were taken originally with their consent,” USA Today reported.

A joint military task force already is working on the disaster for the military, and McCaskill has called for judgment.

“The Department of Defense has to get to the bottom of this,” she said in USA Today. “Our military leaders have a responsibility to prevent and address every kind of degrading behavior and harassment, regardless of whether it happens in the barracks or on the Internet.”

Donnelly, in a lengthy report on the climate in the military in which the problem developed, said members of Congress shouldn’t have to look too far for those responsible.

In an article headlined “Congress shares blame for photo-sharing scandal,” she writes that many of the images of service women likely were lifted from PG-rated social media sites and that AP reported the “bulk” of them were selfies taken by women themselves.

That’s no excuse, however, she said.

“There was no excuse for male viewers to add identifying details and leering, snarky comments,” she wrote. “Individuals who obtained Peeping-Tom photos by violating women’s privacy on military bases, or by re-posting intimate photos that women took and shared with former boyfriends, deserve punishment in accordance with current policy and law.”

But she explained the real problem is not the photos, it’s the “ideology.”

“For decades, disdainful feminists have attacked the Marines ‘masculinist’ culture and demanded psychological neutering to make the Corps more woman-friendly,” she wrote.

Obama even ordered the Marines to “assign minimally qualified women to combat arms units such as the infantry on an involuntary basis.”

Gen. Joe Dunford, then commandant of the Marines, objected and field tests at the time showed all-male teams out-performed mixed gender units on 65 percent of typical land combat tasks.

Obama and the commanders, however, plunged ahead with the “New Gender Order.”

And now the Marines are being blamed for policies and practices that were imposed against their advice, she charged.

“Political correctness in the military undermines unit cohesion, which is properly defined as mutual trust for survival in battle. PC also weakens vertical cohesion, defined as two-way trust between commanders and the troops they lead,” she explained. “In a Statement for the Record of the Senate Armed Services Committee last year, the Center for Military Readiness predicted that when misguided policies caused soldiers to be needlessly hurt and missions lost, military women would feel the brunt of resentment they did not deserve.

“Could it be that resentments caused by constant attacks on masculinity are part of the problems evident on the Internet today?” Donnelly continued, “Perhaps frustration began with dual-track, gender-neutral standards at boot camp. Dishonest claims that men and women are interchangeable in the combat arms also may have fueled resentment among combat veterans who know better. ”

She said: “Because civilians control the military, elected policymakers should be held accountable for going too far and asking too much. Uniformed military leaders cannot say that, but I just did.”

Lawmakers such as Rep. Patricia Schroeder, D-Colo., many years ago demanded women be allowed in all parts of the military, claiming it would “reduce problems of sexual misconduct,” she said.

But the incidents rose, and “[t]oday’s feminists are demanding fixes for the ‘masculinist’ Marine Corps,” she explained.

“Some advocates claim that male ‘sexism’ is the primary cause of the photo-sharing scandal and all women are ‘victims’ of that sexism. This ‘victim’ paradigm is out of date; women engage in risky misconduct too,” she suggested. “Sound policies should recognize that military men and women are human beings with virtues and failings that occur regardless of gender or rank. Instead, feminist demands for a ‘gender-free’ military require the destruction of ‘masculinist’ tendencies so that human beings magically will behave like saints.”

She said President Donald Trump and Secretary of Defense James Mattis “also should think twice before capitulating to the same critics whose unsupported theories about gender equality repeatedly have been proven wrong.”

“Military leaders should defend core values, and civilian leaders should stop imposing flawed policies that weaken core values and make social turmoil worse.”

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