Sigh. The acronym I most wanted to learn this year was not CFNIS, which stands for Canadian Forces National Investigation Services, the investigative arm of the Canadian Forces Military Police.
The CFNIS was established in 1997 with a mandate to investigate serious and sensitive matters related to Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces. It performs a function similar to that of a Major Crime unit of the RCMP or large municipal/provincial police agency.- Wikipedia
It’s early days in the investigation into sexual misconduct by Canada’s top soldier — this one, a sailor just two months into the job of Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) — but it’s a bad look for the military, coming hard on the heels of an investigation into sexual misconduct by Canada’s former top soldier.
Open up a can of CDS, Martha.
We’re gonna need another one.
There are so many places to stand to look at this. The (real?) anguish of the (alleged?) victim. The (apparent?) 10-year delay in reporting/complaining. The (stereotypical?) (prevailing?) military culture, then and now. The (possible?) abuse of organizational power. The (acknowledged?) extent of sexual misconduct in our society at large. The (unsettling?) power of cancel culture. The (possible?) violation of the military’s own R-O-E and the (possible?) breakdown of organizational mechanisms established explicitly to address such violations. The (apparent?) disconnect between the military and its civilian oversight in the person of the Minister of Defence.
Depending on my experience — my expectations/biases/loyalties — and the exigencies of my day, I choose both my perspective and my degree of certainty on all those question marks. It’s easy to choose only one perspective and believe that it is beyond righteous and just: To believe that it is the best place to stand, nay, the only justifiable place to stand. It’s easy — because more comfortable — to dismiss the uncertainties.
Yet there is one perspective that I must hang onto for dear life: a perspective that is also an uncertainty. No matter how it grates against my expectations/biases/loyalties and my (understandable?) desire for a solid place to stand, I must hang onto presumption of innocence.
I must not rush to judgement. Of anyone.