06.05.1310:41 AM ET

Military Botches Sex Assault Hearings

Times calls top brass's performance at Armed Services Committee grilling "stunningly bad"

Senators on the Armed Services Committee grilled top military brass at a Tuesday hearing on sexual assault in the armed forces, but were left dissatisfied by many of the answers. After listening to an hour of questioning, Republican Senator Roy Blunt assessed the responses as “stunningly bad.” As The New York Times reported, the hearing followed weeks of reports of sexual violence in the military as well as a Pentagon survey estimating that there were 26,000 military victims of sexual assault last year, up from 19,000 in 2010. Members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff expressed their remorse, but resisted some of the reforms that senators have raised, including a proposal by New York Democrat Kirsten E. Gillibrand that would give military prosecutors, rather than commanders, the power to determine which sexual assault cases to try. At the hearing, Senator John McCain recalled meeting with a woman who asked whether he could give his “unqualified support” to her daughter’s plan to join the services. Because of the sexual assault crisis, he said, “I could not.”