California Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier called on Secretary of Defense James Mattis to kick out any Marines who participated in posting hundreds of explicit photos of female service members online.
In a speech on the House floor Wednesday morning, Speier urged Mattis to oust Marines for participating in what she referred to as cultural rot, namely posting nude photos of female Marines in a cloud drive folder online, linking them in a private Facebook group called “Marines United” and making obscene comments.
“Secretary Mattis, this must change now,” Speier said. “I call on you to hold leadership accountable for these failures to establish a culture of dramatic change. And that means heads should roll. Talk is cheap. Action is what is needed for the integrity of the military. Survivors must be supported, and that will only happen if those bad Marines are drummed out of the Corps with no exceptions.”
She continued in her speech that mere assurances from military leadership of reform at this point are insufficient, as previous promises have failed to result in any significant cultural shifts.
“I fear that military leadership will say anything to placate Congress and an outraged public and then do nothing,” Speier said.
Speier was active in bringing to the attention of the Marine Corps comments that were posted on Facebook denigrating women back in 2013. Then-Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James Amos cited the difficulty of tracking social media, but Speier was convinced his answer was “frankly unacceptable.”
The Center for Investigative Reporting broke the story of the most recent scandal Saturday, revealing the Department of Defense is actively investigating hundreds of Marines for their involvement in the scandal.
Marines could be charged under any number of provisions, from engaging in behavior that brings discredit to the armed forces, to posting pictures without consent, where that person has a reasonable expectation of privacy.
Marine Commandant Gen. Robert Neller delivered a speech Tuesday addressing the scandal.
“When I hear allegations of Marines denigrating their fellow Marines, I don’t think such behavior is that of true warriors or war fighters,” Neller said. “As warriors, we all know that cohesion and trust within a unit and between Marines is vital to success on the battlefield.”
“Right now we all need to be focused on getting better, becoming more lethal, working day and night to stay ahead of potential adversaries — getting ready for the fight today and the one ahead, not hiding on social media, participating in or being aware of actions that are disrespectful and harmful to other Marines,” he added. “It’s embarrassing to our Corps, to our families and to the nation.”
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