Thursday, November 09, 2006


Army cover-up?

Readers who come here via the search engines often clue me in to breaking news. Here's a case in point.

Last month I mentioned the females from a unit of the Kentucky National Guard who were doing strange things with their rifles. Yesterday Google began to send traffic to that post, so I suspected there might be movement on that front. There was.

The women assigned to the 410th Quartermaster Unit were about to leave for Iraq when a local Kentucky newspaper broke the story that it had received a computer disc chockful of girlie pics from the 410th. The public is accustomed to discs like this from soldiers already in Iraq but not from those still at home. The Army shipped the women out anyway and promised it would get to the bottom of it later.

The results of that investigation are in, and Yahoo News offers full if slender coverage—

Female Kentucky National Guard soldiers who allegedly posed nude for pictures before being sent to Iraq will face nonjudicial, administrative sanctions rather than courts-martial, the Army said.

The women were not suspended and were "busy supporting the war effort," Maj. Jay Adams ... told The Courier-Journal of Louisville on Tuesday.

Andrew Wolfson, who broke the original story, has more—

The newspaper was provided a compact disc containing 232 photos of at least a half-dozen nude and semi-nude women in various poses, including kissing one another, posing suggestively with military rifles, and covering their breasts with American flag decals. One woman was photographed partially clad in a military uniform and a last name is visible on her blouse, but the Kentucky Guard wouldn’t confirm whether a woman with that name works in the unit.

The thrust of the Army's effort now is to protect the women's privacy—

Maj. Jay Adams ... declined to elaborate on the sanctions, saying he was barred from releasing more information by the federal Privacy Act.

Lt. Col. Phil Miller, a spokesman for the Kentucky Guard, said Tuesday that “as far as the leadership of the Kentucky National Guard is concerned, this incident is now closed, and the soldiers of 410th Quartermaster Unit can proceed with the mission they were mobilized to perform as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.”

It could have turned out worse for the soldiers—

Authorities on military law had said that soldiers involved in such photographs could be prosecuted under the Uniform Code of Military Justice for conduct prejudicial to good order, discrediting the service, or both, but the experts differed on the seriousness of the matter.

One expert, Texas Tech law professor Calvin Lewis, a former military judge, predicted that such misconduct likely would be viewed as minor and be punished informally because commanders know “soldiers are often young and have bad judgment.”

Which raises all sorts of questions.

Press doing its job ...

One aspect of this story is impressive—the way the media have pursued this story to the tail end and provided a follow-up after the original news was published. So often we readers, after an initial titillation, are left to our own imaginings.

... not!

For instance, do you ever wonder what happened to those two soldiers caught last year by the Colombians in what was described as an "arms-smuggling plot." They were turned over to the American military and returned to the U.S. for an investigation. That was the last they were ever heard of. I hope they're still all right.

Previous post
Nudity: The latest workplace craze (10/5/06)

Related post
But who will handle the coverup? (5/5/05)


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