If We’re Talking “Scandals,” Here’s Another One

If we’re all just going to go into full scandal mode for the next few weeks or months, I’d nominate another one that’s a lot more tangible and affects a lot more real people than the Benghazi!/IRS/AP “triple play.” Here’s a report from ThinkProgress’ Hayes Brown:

Ahead of possible major actions from the Pentagon and Congress on sexual assault in the military, the U.S. Army is forced to confront yet another instance of a member of the armed forces involved in a shocking sexual assault scandal.

In the latest incident, the Department of Defense revealed on Tuesday a sergeant first class in the U.S. Army stationed at the Ft. Hood, TX military base is under investigation for sexual assault. Along with allegedly sexually assaulting two of his peers, the the sergeant is being investigated for possibly forcing a subordinate into prostitution. Making matters even worse, the soldier under investigation was assigned as the Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) program coordinator for an eight-hundred person battalion stationed at the base.

The investigation draws a parallel to a case just last week in which the head of the entire Air Force’s sexual assault response program was himself charged with sexual battery in Arlington, VA.

This isn’t, of course, an isolated incident:

According to the most recent report, an estimated 26,000 instances of sexual assault took place in the military last year. President Obama at a press conference last week called the epidemic “an outrage” and said soldiers who rape are “betraying the uniform that they’re wearing.” “When you engage in this kind of behavior that’s not patriotic — it’s a crime,” Obama went on to say. “And we have to do everything we can to root this out.”

If 26,000 sexual assaults in the military were reported last year, Lord only knows how many were committed. You can go back and forth as to the seriousness of many “scandals,” but this one is hard to exaggerate.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.