Military Hazing Must Stop
Rep. Judy Chu slams 'outrageous token' sentences
By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff
Posted Aug 4, 2012 2:03 PM CDT
This undated file photo provided by the U.S. Army shows Pvt. Danny Chen,19.   (AP Photo/U.S. Army, File)

(Newser) – The shame of falling asleep on guard duty might be considered punishment enough. But US soldiers like Danny Chen were literally tortured for such mistakes, and ended the pain by taking their own lives. And Rep. Judy Chu is sick of it. "Is it necessary for soldiers to be abused and tortured by their fellow troops in order for the military to be strong?" she asks in the New York Times. "In Congressional hearings, the military tells me no."

Chu can relate to parents whose children died from military hazing, because her nephew, Lance Cpl. Harry Lew, shot himself after three hours of Marine hazing in Afghanistan. Like Chen's chief torturer, Lew's received only one month in jail. Now Chu has introduced an anti-hazing plan that the House approved and passed on to the Senate. "The military must make it clear that hazing is absolutely unacceptable and that perpetrators will be severely punished," writes Chu. "We must protect those who protect us." Click for the full column.

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Showing 3 of 33 comments
SteveKC
Aug 5, 2012 10:20 PM CDT
Falling asleep on watch during a time of war is punishable by death..Not to say this 19-yr old deserved to die the way he did but there was some form of stiff punishment that should have been handed out....At the same time, was he on watch alone? We really do not know all of the details...When I was in, if there was someone you knew had a habit of falling asleep on watch we just made sure they did not. It's called having someone's back...As far as hazing goes, I can't speak about the Army but in the Navy where we were only "hazed" for achieving certain milestones or achievements. In all honesty we had the choice to opt-out but most of us saw it as a rite of passage and we got it from our fellow shipmates & Marines and no one ever cried about it....Those of you who never served should just STFU.
HANKHILL
Aug 5, 2012 7:33 AM CDT
doh you dont say so doh!
Flatus_Antiquus
Aug 5, 2012 12:32 AM CDT
I don't know all the details. I would like a lot more details about Chen's behavior. I think I heard some stories about him rePEATedly falling asleep and committing other similar breaches. Look, there are damn few things you can do in a combat zone that are much more serious than being "absent" at a sentry post. You endanger an entire outfit. The military is a "band of brothers" and everyone is to be at everyone else's back. When you're asleep at a post you're supposed to be guarding, YOUR BROTHERS are in danger of losing their lives. The matter requires "attention." Training methods in the military are not designed to be "nice." They're designed to be "effective." That said: there is NO excuse for ethnic slurs and racial bigotry. You have a discipline problem you MUST handle. That soldier MUST carry out his assigned watches or he endangers EVERYONE in the unit. Its' not a racial or ethnic matter. It's a matter that requires IMMEDiate remedy, proper intervention, effective action, not bigotry or racism.