Monday, August 4, 2008
Activist and retired Army Colonel Ann Wright has been indispensable to the effort to prompt a renewed investigation of the death in Iraq of Pfc. LaVena Johnson. She has also fought to make known the wider issue of murder and sexual assault of women in the armed forces. Col. Wright attended the recent hearings on sexual assault in the military held by the Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, and has written at Truthdig a critical account of the refusal of the Department of Defense to allow a witness to be heard:
There was quite a struggle in Congress this week. The Department of Defense refused to allow the senior civilian in charge of its Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (SAPRO) to testify in Thursday’s hearing on sexual assault in the military. Rep. John Tierney, chair of the House Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, angrily dismissed Principal Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Michael Dominguez from the hearing when Dominguez said that he, the DoD chief of legislative affairs and the chief of public affairs, had ordered Dr. Kaye Whitley, chief of SAPRO, to refuse to honor the subpoena issued by the subcommittee for her appearance.
Full committee Chairman Henry Waxman called the DoD’s decision to prevent Whitley from testifying “ridiculous and indicating DoD is covering something up.” It could also place Whitley in contempt of Congress. Rep. Christopher Shays said the DoD’s decision was “foolish.”--MORE--