Watch Senator Claire McCaskill Explain Rape to Military Brass

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The Joint Chiefs of Staff testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee on the topic of military sexual assault today. (Total sausage fest.) The chiefs were unanimously opposed to taking allegations of sexual assault out of the chain of command, as Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has proposed in legislation (and as armies in Germany, Berlin, and Israel have already done). Gillibrand and activists believe that without the (rational) threat of retaliation and career sabotage from commanding officers, victims will be more likely to report and prosecute rapes, removing sexual predators from the military’s ranks. Military leaders testified that taking sexual assault out of the chain of command will undermine commanders’ authority over their units, and diminish their responsibility for their unit climate and combat-readiness. Gillibrand pointed out that the rates of sexual-assault reporting suggest commanders have already lost their unit’s trust, and Senator Claire McCaskill clarified the difference between an inappropriate work environment and sexual assault, a felony.