In the wake of last week’s Fort Hood shooting, some lawmakers (read: red-state congressmen) again suggested that more members of the military be allowed to carry firearms while on military installations. In an editorial Monday, The Washington Post bemoaned this “vocal faction” for undercutting the authority of commanders to run their bases as they see fit. Normally, base commanders establish policies that allow officers and NCOs standing duty to carry while they patrol unit areas, ensure the armory is locked and verify that the food in the chow hall is “adequate in quantity and quality,” as the oft-repeated phrase in duty logbooks say.
The Post editorial said in part that “lawmakers should not impose their views on those who run these military bases.” This was an interesting argument to use, especially after a different vocal faction in Congress (led by Missouri Senator Kirsten Gillibrand) has continually attempted to remove commanders from decisions over the prosecution of one particularly heinous crime – sexual assault.
So let’s pull this thread a little more, since I’m slow: A commander has good enough judgment to establish who can carry firearms on his (or her) base, but shouldn’t be allowed to decide whether a military rape case should go to a court-martial? Smells like a double standard on the military’s ability to police itself, says the midnight blogger.