An Officer, but Not a Gentleman...
After more than a decade of war, the military is combating a new threat: ethics violations. It seems U.S. officers aren't just taking fire -- they're being fired for record cases of misconduct. The Associated Press furrowed plenty of brows with the news that the military's character problems start at the top, as internal investigations have caught hundreds of top brass in webs of gambling, corruption, drug and alcohol abuse, sexual assault, and taxpayer waste. According to internal documents, the lapses in judgment have exploded in the last three years, as the number of misconduct firings tripled. The crisis of character seems to be taking the biggest toll on the Army, which lost as many as 387 officers in 2013 (a far cry from the 119 forced departures in 2010).
Not surprisingly, the trickle-down effect has been huge, as the enlisted cases for breaking ethics rules doubled from 5,600 in 2007 to 11,000 last year. While the Pentagon scrambles to explain these "worrying" trends, others blame the relaxed standards on an overworked and under-monitored Force. "...[T]he fact of the last 10 or 12 years of repeated deployments, of the high op-tempo -- we might have lost focus on this issue. Sometimes in the past, we've overlooked character issues because of competence and commitment..." Gen. Ray Odierno admitted. But, he said, "We're paying a lot of attention to it now."
If the military is scrambling to identify the problem, look no further than the commander-in-chief. Like the rest of the administration, these officers are serving under a President who also picks and chooses which laws he'll uphold. He refuses to hold accountable his own leaders -- including an attorney general so ethically-challenged that he was held in contempt of Congress. He changes the laws on a whim without legal authority (18 unilateral changes to ObamaCare from the White House alone), and has been systematically removing the moral foundation of the military since the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Why do we expect order and discipline when this administration has bred chaos and contempt for the rule of law?
General Odierno realizes the impact these moral shortcomings have -- not just on the military, but on the global perception. "As we conduct operations around the world, we represent theUnited Stateswith our moral and ethical values. We believe we should be held to a higher standard." If only our President felt the same.
Award to the Wise
For Senior Master Sergeant Philip Monk, it's been a roller coaster year. The airman, who became the face of the war on religious freedom when he refused to answer his unit commander's question on the merits of homosexual "marriage," was not only relieved of his duties, but threatened with a possible court martial. Now, almost a year later, the same Pentagon that wanted to destroy Monk's career is giving him military honors.
The about-face came as a total shock to the Sergeant, who, just last year, was fighting, with the aid of the Liberty Institute, for his almost 20-year career. The Meritorious Service Medal, which is authorized by the President for "outstanding service to the United States," seems to be a gesture of goodwill from the Air Force in thehopes that the controversy over Monk's religious beliefs will go away. Among other things, Monk's award recognizes his vigilance and mindfulness in management -- as well as his oversight of the largest sexual assault case in Basic Military Training history. For the Monk family, which has endured so much at the hands of the Obama administration, it was a significant victory -- not just for Phillip, but for every service member standing up for their Christian beliefs.
And while the honor was well deserved, it can't hide the underlying problem, which was the brazen attack on Monk's free speech rights. After the commanding officer (an open lesbian) filed a false discrimination complaint against Monk, what happened to her? Will she face disciplinary action for abusing her authority to push her personal agenda on others? If military members aren't supposed to disagree with same-sex "marriage," then why are commanding officers allowed to shill in favor of it? This kind of double standard has no place in a military that should be open to both opinions -- or those with none. The chilling effect of her actions on religious freedom needs to thaw -- and the only way to do that is to apply heat so that Christians like Monk are reassured they can truly live out their faith without fear.
In the meantime, we celebrate with the Monks that the military finally recognized what his superior did not: "The singularly distinctive accomplishments of Sergeant Monk reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force."
Gosnell Legacy Lives on in Planned Parenthood
Usually, anniversaries are something to celebrate. In the case of the Kermit Gosnell clinic raid, the only things worth celebrating four years later are the string of pro-life laws passed in response. From Texas and North Dakota to Ohio and Arkansas, leaders turned their horror into haste to tighten clinic regulations. A whopping 70 pro-life policies became law in the states, a severe rebuke of an industry that only gives birth to tragedy.
While the Gosnell atrocities sparked a fierce determination to stop abortionists like him, evil still thrives inside the doors of Planned Parenthood and other clinics. Last week, a former Planned Parenthood employee spilled the secrets of Indiana's largest abortion facility after two long years on the job. Marianne Anderson is a nurse who worked at the clinic because she believed she could help keep women safe. What she quickly learned is that there is no way to keep women safe -- not from the emotional and physical trauma of abortion and certainly not from Planned Parenthood's agenda.
After 24 months, Anderson said she's still haunted by the suction machines the doctors used, especially when they had trouble locating the baby's body parts. One of the abortionists, she recalled, would "talk to the aborted baby while looking for it... 'Come on, little arm, I know you're here! Now you stop hiding from me!' It just made me sick to my stomach." When girls would cry on the table during the procedures, doctors would tell them, "Now you chose to be here. Sit still. I don't have time for this." Unfortunately, Anderson says, many of the girls didn't choose to be there.
If their boyfriend, pimp, or mother didn't coerce them into the abortion, clinic workers would. The pressure from headquarters was just as intense as anyone's, she explains. "You have to have so many [abortions] a month to stay open. In our meetings, they'd tell us, 'If abortions are down, you could get sent home early and not get as many hours.'" The only way to describe it, she says, is as "a money-grubbing, evil, very sad, sad place to work," she said. "I was always getting in trouble for talking too long to the girls, asking if they were sure they wanted to do this."
This is the war on women. A greedy, profit-driven abortion industry, so focused on making a buck that they can't be bothered to clean rusty equipment, wipe down bloody operating tables, appropriately sedate patients, or monitor mutilated women. And if that doesn't persuade legislatures to stop funneling taxpayer dollars to these clinics, I don't know what will. As for Marianne, who is still trying to recover from her time at the clinic, she told reporters she hoped to return to Planned Parenthood -- as a sidewalk counselor.
** It's been one year since investigators swarmed Kermit Gosnell's filthy abortion clinic in Philadelphia. What's changed since then? Check out the new piece in the Washington Times, "Gosnell's Depravity Brings Pro-life Awakening," by the director of FRC's Center for Human Dignity, Arina Grossu. Also, if you're curious about the President's latest asylum plan, FRC's Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin knows. Read more in his Breitbart column, "Will supporters of the Benghazi Killers Immigrate to the U.S.?"
*** Don't miss "The Kelly File" tonight at 9:25 p.m. ET on Fox News, as I talk with Megyn Kelly about Iowa State University's Hotel Memorial Union pulling Bibles from its bedside tables.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.