For years, the Pentagon has stalled on revealing documents that show just how prevalent sexual assault in the military is. The Pentagon’s most recent excuse is that doing so would be too “burdensome.” Yup, there are simply too many papers that would need to be collected for that sort of thing… and who has that kind of time, really?
Sometimes it feels like we report on the rape in the military crisis constantly, but there’s a good reason for that: nothing is being done about it. Given the latest response, it seems clear that if the U.S. government has its way, this scenario will continue to be pushed under the rug indefinitely.
Requests to learn the full extent of the problem were first filed a few years ago under the Freedom of Information Act. Since then, the Pentagon has managed to delay revealing these documents. Though estimated numbers of rape and sexual assaults are quite high, they primarily remain just estimates because the military conceals evidence that would provide a clearer picture of the situation at hand.
Whether the Pentagon realizes it or not, its “burdensome” response is damning. When there is quote unquote “too much” documentation of sexual assault in the military, how does that not indicate a massive problem?
If the military is actually going to fix this problem, it needs to start by being honest about the problem. While there has been some acknowledgment by government officials that there are issues going on behind closed doors, continuing to cover it up just perpetuates military sexual assault rather than squashes it.
Previously, Veterans Affairs was serviced with similar Freedom of Information Act requests pertaining to sexual assault. Although the VA was slow to produce documentation, the organization did finally turn over useful info to the public. These papers proved that those who filed PTSD claims for military sexual assault were rejected more frequently than other forms of disability claims.
For its part, the ACLU cut down the list of documents it was requesting to expedite the process. Still, the Pentagon is unwilling to cooperate and hoping U.S. courts will play along with its wide scale cover-up. The Freedom of Information Act exists to illuminate problems like this one, so if the Pentagon successfully continues to elude the requests, it shows that the government is nowhere near as transparent as it claims to be.
The United States spends trillions on wars fought in other countries, yet when the public demands to see paperwork that confirms the wellbeing of the soldiers who put their lives on the line for this country, suddenly that requires more resources than the military can muster. That’s completely bogus and we all know it.
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