WASHINGTON--Rep.Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), an Iraq war veteran and a lieutenant colonel in the Illinois Army National Guard is highly critical of the military handling of sexual assault cases against females.
Duckworth--at times commanding all-male situations--said Sunday, "I think at this point, in this instance of military sexual trauma, military sexual ...assault.. the military has shown that it's -- it's not capable of fixing this problem."
Duckworth made her comments on CNN's "State of the Union with Candy Crowley" appearing with Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), who is also an Iraq war vet. The two are the only two female Iraq war vets in Congress.
Unwanted sexual contact in the military is "absolutely unacceptable, Candy. I want the military to be a place where women can succeed and thrive the way I was able to. And the military leadership, at this point, have shown that they have not been capable of fixing this problem," Duckworth said.
"And it's not enough just to say, uh, this is not something we'll stand for, we'll hold these people accountable, unless you're providing a system and a process to actually do that," said Gabbard, who added, "And what is the core reason why this hasn't really gotten better over the years?"
Duckworth said, "This issue is a power issue. It's not a sex issue, it's a power issue. ... And we have to empower the victims."
".... The military, because it is built on power and rank, has the ability to fix it based on that same tradition of power and rank. Commanders can put an end to this. And I am very, very disturbed that they've not been able to do this."