Chambliss reflects on the military and ‘hormone levels’

Updated
Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.)
Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.)
Getty Images

Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) became the subject of national ridicule in March when he offered a rather narrow-minded approach to marriage equality. “I’m not gay,” the Republican senator said. “So I’m not going to marry one.”

As mind-numbing as that quote was, however, Chambliss also raised eyebrows with these comments this morning.

Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) called on the military to do more to crack down on sexual assault in its ranks on Tuesday, while also worrying that they may be hard to stop because of the natural “hormone level” of the young men serving.

“The young folks who are coming into each of your services are anywhere from 17 to 22 or 23. Gee whiz, the hormone level created by nature sets in place the possibility for these types of things to occur. So we’ve got to be very careful how we address it on our side,” Chambliss told top military officials at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

In fairness, it’s important to emphasize that Chambliss did not express indifference to the scourge of sexual assaults in the military. On the contrary, he urged military leaders and lawmakers to do more to combat the growing problem.

But that doesn’t negate the fact that his “gee whiz” talk about natural “hormone levels” is far from constructive. In fact, it suggests Chambliss sees these sexual assaults as somehow understandable. And that is clearly not the appropriate attitude.

What’s more, as Jamelle Bouie noted, Chambliss is not the only one who needs to reevaluate their approach to the issue: “Given the wide number of sexual assault cases, it seems hard to argue that the current system is adequate to the scope of the problem. But [Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe and Texas Senator John Cornyn] have adopted the case for the status quo.”

Saxby Chambliss

Chambliss reflects on the military and 'hormone levels'

Updated