Lawrence Downes writes: Does the Pentagon know what “zero tolerance” means?
Military leaders have been claiming for at least 20 years that they have “zero tolerance” for sexual assault in the ranks, during which time the epidemic has raged on, infecting every branch of the service and spurring arrests, convictions, resignations, investigations, Congressional hearings, bills, speeches, reports, recommendations and, recently, a chilling documentary, “The Invisible War,” which will make any parent think twice about encouraging a daughter to serve her country in uniform.
“Zero tolerance” appeared most recently on Wednesday, when Jay Carney, press secretary for the Commander-in-Chief, said that President Obama had “zero tolerance for sexual assault in the military.” The statement was prompted by reports that a West Point sergeant had been videotaping female cadets without their consent, sometimes when they were undressed in the bathroom or in the shower.
Really? Zero? [Continue reading…]
“Zero tolerance” is one of those phrases like “responsibility,” “accountability,” and “transparency,” favored by those who think that fine declarations can function as substitutes for effective action. How many times have we heard a politician or corporate executive solemnly say, “I take full responsibility,” as though the utterance and its meaning were one and the same?