On Tuesday, Sen. Rand Paul commendably endorsed a proposal by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., that would overhaul the military's defective prosecutions of sexual assault.
"I always thought the motive for this bill was good, but now I think the bill is even stronger and I see no reason why conservatives shouldn't support this," Paul announced in a news conference with Gillibrand and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, another high-profile conservative who is also endorsing the measure.
Current rules consolidate power within the chain of command, allowing superior officers to dismiss convictions at will. Anyone can see the potential for abuse. And when the Department of Defense discloses that there are 19,000 sexual assaults in the military each year in which the perpetrators escape court martials 99 percent of the time, it is clear that the system is broken.
Gillibrand's bill would remove the authority of the chain of command in such cases, placing it instead in the hands of independent military prosecutors — the same impartial standard of justice that civillians enjoy. It has drawn the ire of the White House and top military brass who claim that it would reduce unit cohesion and morale — as if an epidemic of sexual violence would not do the same.
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Give Paul credit for putting the victims first.