As much as WC enjoys watching Governor Sean “Captain Zero” Parnell twist in the wind as the Alaska National Guard scandal continues to leak out in public, the human carnage described there is very disturbing. The 35-year old Alaska National Guard Master Sergeant who blackmailed a 19-year old girl into semi-consensual sex is just a fraction of the despicable behavior described in the leaked documents. The emotional trauma to the victims of these predators is appalling. The serious injury to the Guard as a functional unit will likely take years to repair.
WC thinks Captain Zero is accountable for this mess in at least three different ways.
First, he’s the Commander in Chief of the Alaska National Guard. The Commander is accountable for the actions of his troops. The Commander is responsible for knowing what is going on. If, as Captain Zero claims, he was misled by subordinates, that is not a legal excuse or justification. As Commander in Chief of the Guard, Captain Zero has immense power; he can even force WC and WC’s fellow Alaskans – the “unorganized militia” – to muster for service in the event of an emergency. If he does that, it’s the crime of desertion to fail to serve. The Governor – any governor, not just our current disaster – is immune from any court proceeding involving that call to service, and from any bad thing that happens to WC while WC is being forced to serve.1
With great power comes great responsibility. WC cannot be forced to submit to the authority of thugs like those described in the leaked documents without some kind of accountability in the chain of command. As Commander in Chief, Captain Zero is absolutely and unequivocally responsible for stuff his subordinate officers may do.
Second, Captain Zero had actual notice of the chaos under his command and failed to act. We know, really beyond any reasonable doubt, that dozens of reports of gross misfeasance reached the Governor’s Office between 2010 and 2014. This is a separate matter from his responsibility as Commander in Chief. This is knowing – possessing actual knowledge – of the most serious kinds of misconduct and still failing to take decisive action. On the one hand, Captain Zero had launched his “Choose Respect” campaign, where he trumpeted just how much harm sexual abuse caused. On the other hand, he was condoning and tolerating sexual abuse of state employees at the same time.
While the application of the U.S. Code of Military Justice is a bit of a muddle, at least while not on active duty, it is crystal clear that the civil authorities and civil courts have full jurisdiction of the crimes committed. So when the three Guard chaplains told Captain Zero they had reports of rape and other crimes, it was time for Captain Zero to call the cops. Instead, he directed his subordinate, Adjutant General Thomas Katkus, who had no jurisdiction, to “investigate.”
Third, when the whole, ugly mess started to spill out, Captain Zero tried and has continued to try to hide it. First he stalled on the public records request for months; then he refused to produce anything, directing his Randy Ruaro, Captain Zero’s Policy Director and Special Counsel, to offer a series of lame, indefensible and embarrassingly flimsy excuses for continuing to hide the documents. Captain Zero and his special counsel know they have no legal defense of the public records request; it’s not rocket science, and the documents are leaking out anyway.
No, the reason for forcing Amanda Coyne and her co-plaintiffs to court is to stall. Specifically, to stall past the election. WC firmly believe that Captain Zero is concealing evidence of shocking criminal conduct by his subordinates for personal political gain. That’s the polar opposite of “choosing respect.” And there is a technical term for that behavior. There’s a word for placing personal gain above the public interest. And the word is corruption.
Corruption: Improper and usually unlawful conduct intended to secure a benefit for oneself or another. Its forms include bribery, extortion, and the misuse of inside information. It exists where there is community indifference or a lack of enforcement policies. In societies with a culture of ritualized gift giving, the line between acceptable and unacceptable gifts is often hard to draw.
What makes this corruption so evil and ugly is that it involves so much serious injury to so many victims. Captain Zero, Governor Choose Respect, has injured is again injuring those victims.
There is a two-step process for addressing corruption in government. First, vote the crooks out and choose less corrupt replacements, and second, prosecute the corruption.
Be sensible, folks. Sean Parnell has demonstrated he is utterly unfit for office. In a less partisan Legislature, he’d be impeached. That’s not going to happen. So vote him out.