Tag Archives: National Defense University Press

Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics Used as Weapons Against Honorable Military Men in Sexual Assault Witch Hunt

“Lies, damned lies, and statistics” is a phrase popularized by Mark Twain and used to describe the persuasive power of numbers and, particularly, the use of statistics to bolster weak arguments. Especially during the past few years, lies, damned lies and statistics have been used in tandem with bogus sexual assault claims to end the careers and ruin the lives of military men.

Because Our Warriors Deserve Justice

More often than not, the folks dealing in lies, damned lies and statistics are members of the national news media, politically-active filmmakers and attorneys willing to overlook facts in order to promote an agenda. They’ve become so successful in spreading their misinformation that someone unfamiliar with military life might believe any woman who survives a single day in uniform has done the equivalent of surviving 24 hours inside a third-world prison.

For a stellar example of such biased reporting, one needs only turn to an ABC News Nightline segment about the Oscar-nominated documentary, “The Invisible War, that aired Feb. 22, 2013. Featuring correspondent Cynthia McFadden, it includes mentions of a handful of cases purported to be representative of the so-called sexual assault “epidemic” in the military. Because I’m not privy to the facts of the individuals cases highlighted during the five-and-one-half minute segment, I won’t dwell on them in this piece. Instead, I’ll focus on the lies, damn lies and statistics pitched as truths.

McFadden begins by talking about sexual assault in the U.S. military:

“It has long been a shameful secret inside the U.S. military — the widespread epidemic of rape and sexual assault, where our countries defenders find themselves defenseless and, often, without a way to seek justice,” she begins. “Now, many of them are telling their stories in a powerful and moving Oscar-nominated documentary.”

McFadden continues speaking as images of aircraft and women in uniform flood the screen:

“Women have reached some of the highest echelons in the military. They are fighter pilots. Sit at the controls of Marine One. Have earned Silver Stars for courage under fire. As well as a general’s four stars. While they may be succeeding on the front lines, there is an invisible battle that is taking its toll. Listen to these women.”

The faces on the screen change as each woman has her say:

“Everything changed the day that I was raped,” says one woman;

“He hit me in the head and knocked me out,” says another; and

“I remember holding the closet thinking, ’What just happened?’” says a third.

McFadden’s voice returns to accompany slow-motion video of marching Soldiers, replaced seconds later by a logo for the documentary:

“Their stories are the heart of the Oscar-nominated documentary, ‘The Invisible War.’

A quick dissolve brings the image of a fourth woman into focus, and the woman says, “If this is happening to me, surely I’m not the only one,” before McFadden’s voice returns to accompany more moving images of Soldiers on the march:

“A film that shines a light on a hidden epidemic. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, some 30 percent of women in the military have been raped or sexually assaulted while serving their country.”

McFadden tosses out the “30 percent” figure as easily as a scantily-clad 19-year-old girl in short shorts launches free t-shirts into the bleachers at a semi-pro baseball game, prompting me to ask, “Was it a lie, a damned lie or simply a statistic?”

A simple online search leads me to believe it is, at best, a fudge-flavored statistic (i.e., a statistic about which someone “fudged” the truth). At worst, it’s a lie.

I found only two statistical entries offering such estimations. Both appeared on a VA fact sheet for which a more-detailed VA fact sheet is erroneously cited as a source for claims that 23 out of 100 women (or 23 percent) reported sexual assault when in the military and that 55 out of 100 women (or 55 percent) and 38 out of 100 men (or 38 percent) experienced sexual harassment when in the military.

Next, the Nightline segment moved indoors, into a studio, where Kirby Dick, the director whose filmography includes several documentaries on controversial subjects, sits against a black background and begins to gush statistics while unchallenged by the alleged journalist, McFadden.

Kirby goes on to say something I believe is true — “I’m just astounded by the statistics” — before he cites a statistic he declares to be truth: “Nineteen-thousand men and women are being sexually assaulted each year in the U.S. military.” But is that figure a lie, a damned lie or simply a statistic?

In search of an answer, I conducted another online search and found the figure used by folks at PBS in a report on a case of alleged sexual assault involving Air Force personnel less than three months later. In addition, I found the original source of the figure. It appears on page 13 of the 729-page document, Annual Report on Sexual Assault, Fiscal Year 2012, produced by the Department of Defense Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office. It does not, however, represent things the way McFadden, Dick and the folks at PBS might have you believe.

To understand what the number does represent, one can turn to an explanation that appears in a one of the report’s footnotes — that the estimate was computed using weighted population estimates of the 4.4 percent of active-duty women and 0.9 percent of active-duty men who indicated they experienced an incident of unwanted sexual contact in the 12 months prior to the 2010 Workplace and Gender Relations Survey of Active Duty Members (WGRA) — but that explanation is not very helpful and might have you rubbing sleep out of your eyes.

Click on image above to read article.

Click on image above to read article.

A more helpful explanation appears early in a nine-page article, Fostering Constructive Dialogue on Military Sexual Assault, published inside Issue 69, 2nd Quarter 2013, of the National Defense University Press publication, Joint Forces Quarterly:

At a press conference in January 2012, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta stated that he estimates there were 19,000 sexual assaults in the military in 2011. That number is derived from a statement in the Department of Defense (DOD) Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military, Fiscal Year 2010. The report does not actually explain its methodology for arriving at the number, but it does state the number is based on data from the Defense Manpower Data Center 2010 Workplace and Gender Relations Survey. Perhaps more importantly, the report does not refer to 19,000 sexual assaults, but rather 19,000 reports by individuals of unwanted sexual contact.

The Defense Manpower Data Center 2010 survey never uses the number 19,000. Rather, the document relays the results of a survey of 10,029 Active-duty female Servicemembers and 14,000 Active-duty male Servicemembers. The survey itself is forthright and explicit about the numbers it produces and its methodology. The sample size and sample composition necessarily make extrapolation military-wide problematic. The sample was clearly weighted toward female responses, and the definition of unwanted sexual contact did not align at all with the colloquial understanding or any statutory or legal definition of sexual assault. Nevertheless, the number 19,000 arose as an extrapolation from the numbers in this sampling, and this number has pervaded the media discussion ever since. Most practitioners of justice and criminal investigators throughout the military should agree that the figure cited by Secretary Panetta is unrealistically high.

If you suspect the JFQ article was written by a long-in-the-tooth male military officer eager to please his superiors, then you’re wrong. Instead, it was written by then-Captain Lindsay L. Rodman, a female Marine Corps officer who was serving as a Judge Advocate (a.k.a., “military lawyer”) at Judge Advocate Division, Headquarters Marine Corps, at the time she wrote the piece.

A statement Captain Rodman wrote about the 19,000 figure stands as a sort of indictment of those who deal in lies, damned lies and statistics for personal gain:

“Nevertheless, the number 19,000 arose as an extrapolation from the numbers in this sampling, and this number has pervaded the media discussion ever since. Most practitioners of justice and criminal investigators throughout the military should agree that the figure cited by Secretary Panetta is unrealistically high.”

A telling footnote seems to target lazy journalists:

For the numbers to work out according to their math, this extrapolation necessarily requires that half of those victims (up to about 10,000) would be male, which anecdotally seems questionable.”

Other unsubstantiated figures are tossed out during the Nightline segment. Chief among them is one McFadden included in a statement — “In fact, only 8 percent of assault cases go to trial” — that’s not accompanied by any attribution or source document.

Incredibly, according to Dick, military leaders have made his documentary part of DoD’s sexual assault awareness program. Need I say more about how bent and twisted the military has become due to political correctness?

There are more issues l could tackle, but I think I’ve made a strong enough case without going beyond these lies, damn lies and statistics.

To see the impact the lies, damn lies and statistics associated with the Pentagon’s sexual assault witch hunt are having on honorable military men, I encourage you to read about two Army combat veterans:

Maj. Christian “Kit’ Martin is a Ranger and attack helicopter pilot whose trial on bogus sexual assault charges begins Oct. 12 Dec. 1 at Fort Campbell, Ky; and

• Former Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart is the elite Green Beret medic and sniper whose life is chronicled in my first nonfiction book, Three Days In August.

This article was updated to reflect a change in the trial date.

UPDATE 12/7/2015 at 8:27 a.m. Central: A military judge continued the military trial date for Army Maj. Christian “Kit” Martin to sometime in March 2016, though no specific date has been set.

UPDATE 12/10/2015 at 11:15 a.m. Central: I’ve learned that Major Martin’s military trial date is set for March 14-18, 2016.

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter.  Please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here. Thanks in advance!

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Army Lawyer Surfaces in New Bogus Prosecution Effort

Though he might be familiar to those in Army legal circles, Maj. Jacob D. Bashore didn’t become known to me until about four years ago when I began investigating the wrongful prosecution and conviction of Army Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart. Much to my surprise, his name surfaced again today — and in a similarly-negative context.

This photo shows an Army depiction of court-martial proceedings in progress, but is unrelated to the individuals mentioned in this article.

This photo shows an Army depiction of court-martial proceedings in progress, but is unrelated to the individuals mentioned in this article.

Bashore, whose name appears in an early chapter of my first nonfiction book, Three Days In August, was a captain at the time he appeared on my “radar screen” as the trial counsel who led the prosecution effort against Stewart, a highly-decorated Green Beret combat veteran. What troubled me about his work — and became the reason I wrote the book — was that the prosecution was based almost solely on the false claims of rape and kidnapping made by a then-28-year-old German woman with a history of mental illness.

Despite a complete lack of physical evidence and eyewitnesses, and thanks largely to an inept military judge’s decision to proceed with the case after the accuser and German government officials refused to allow her medical records to be introduced to the court, Captain Bashore managed to win convictions on several lesser counts that resulted in Stewart being sentenced to eight years behind bars. Per the book’s title, that military trial took place during three days in August 2009.

Now, fast forward to today when Major Bashore’s name appeared on my radar as the special victim prosecutor assigned to the case of Maj. Christian “Kit” Martin, an Army officer assigned to the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Ky.

Major Martin, who began his military career as an Army private and went on to become an officer and fly a range of attack helicopter missions in combat, is facing dubious allegations that could bring a stunning and disastrous end to his stellar 29-year military career. Moreover, guilty counts on all charges could result in him being sent to prison for 58 years* — a virtual life sentence!

Major Bashore, on the other hand, seems to be pursuing a conviction against Major Martin in much the same way he pursued Stewart six years ago; he seems willing to do and/or say anything to achieve a conviction while satisfying his Army superiors, many of whom seem more focused on keeping liberal politicians — namely U.S. Senators Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY), two bought-and-paid-for politicians who’ve apparently refused to read Lindsay L. Rodman’s well-written piece, Fostering Constructive Dialogue on Military Sexual Assault, published in Joint Force Quarterly 69 by National Defense University Press — than on achieving just outcomes inside military courtrooms.

Major Martin, however, is not sitting by idly while the Army constructs the casket inside which his career and freedom might be placed if he’s found guilty during a military trial expected to begin in October. In fact, I learned he’s spent close to $100,000 on lawyers and private investigators so far, and their efforts have turned up some incredible things.

Stay tuned for more details as I review documentation related to this monumental injustice that appears to be taking shape at Fort Campbell.

UPDATE 9/28/2015 at 8:53 a.m. Central: Read more about Major Bashore in this Sept. 27 article, Prosecutors Accused of Misconduct, Breach in Controversial Sexual Assault Case Against Army Officer at Fort Campbell. To read other articles about Major Martin’s case, click here.

UPDATE 9/29/2015 AT 9:17 a.m. Central: Major Bashore’s name also appears in this Sept. 28 article, The Fix Is In: Army Judge Denies Defense Motion Concerning Unlawful Command Influence, Prosecutorial Misconduct.

*UPDATE: After publishing this article, I learned Army prosecutors agreed to limit any possible punishment in this case to 10 years. A sign they have a weak case?”

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter.  Please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here. Thanks in advance!

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

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Sexual Assault Problem in Military Exaggerated by Journalists

Read Jill Filipovic’s latest Esquire article about sexual assault in the U.S. military, and you might conclude that a woman in uniform can’t take two steps on a military installation without being sexually assaulted. And, of course, you would be wrong.

Click image above to link to article.

Click image above to link to article.

Michael Waddington, a military defense lawyer and former judge advocate in the Army, told Military.com two years ago he estimated that ninety percent of the sexual assault cases taken to court-martial would be thrown out of civilian courts due to lack of evidence. And he’s not the only person to offer views that run counter to those being pushed on the American public by journalists like Filipovic and left-leaning politicians like Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO).

Washington Times’ journalist Rowan Scarborough offered several noteworthy findings in his April 6 article, Doubts on military’s sex assault stats as numbers far exceed those for the U.S. Among them are those shown in the paragraph below:

Critics of the Pentagon survey say its 20 percent response rate for 2012 may include a disproportionate number of those who are motivated to participate. This might produce a higher number because the response did not capture a true scientific sample of the total female active-duty force, they say.

Likewise, Lindsay L. Rodman authored a well-written piece, Fostering Constructive Dialogue on Military Sexual Assault, that was published in Joint Force Quarterly 69 by National Defense University Press. The abstract appears below:

Click image to link to article.

Click image to link to article.

Unrealistically high estimates by DOD officials of sexual assaults in the military, along with hazy definitions and methodologies, have fueled the public discourse on this emotional issue, making it unnecessarily hysterical and obscuring the military’s search for solutions. While the military is expected to maintain a higher standard than society at large, the experience of colleges and universities, whose demographic is roughly the same age as the military’s, should be drawn on. Moreover, an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of criminal law will help draw the debate about the military sexual assault problem away from blaming commanders because they are not always obtaining convictions. The educational and military communities should combine their efforts to find a more holistic solution.

Is sexual assault a real problem in the Armed Forces? Of course, it is, just like it is in society at large. And those actually guilty of these crimes must be punished. Unfortunately, it is not only the guilty who are being swept up by the Defense Department’s out-of-control dragnet.

The mere mention of a man’s name in the same breath as a sexual assault allegation — whether or not a shred of evidence exists — seems enough to convict a serviceman of a sex crime these days. During “He said, she said” court-martial trials, everyone involved — convening authorities, judges and members of the court-martial panel — faces extreme pressure to convict, regardless of whether any physical evidence or eyewitnesses exist to prove guilt. Those who don’t follow the party line face dire consequences. For proof, see this article and this article.

To learn about a military justice case which resulted in an elite Green Beret being convicted and sentenced to eight years in prison based solely on the testimony of his accuser, read Three Days In August.

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New York Times best selling author Richard Miniter described this way:

“Well-written and thoroughly researched, Three Days In August paints a convincing portrait of a military justice process that appears to have lacked one essential element – justice.”

Click here to order a copy of my book, Three Days in August.

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