Senator Claire McCaskill’s Reckless Effort to Undermine Military Justice System Continues

The military justice system is bad enough without people like Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) trying to make it worse.

WC Soldiers 3-7-13

Click to read other articles in series, DoD’s War on Men.

On Wednesday, the liberal senior senator from the Show-Me State used a news release to share her feelings about a letter in which Air Force Lt. Gen. Craig A. Franklin explained to Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley his decision to overturn the guilty verdict issued by members of a court-martial panel in a sexual assault case at Aviano Air Base, Italy. Interestingly, the liberal senator did not include a copy of the letter in her release. Why? Because it doesn’t support the position she’s espoused during the past five weeks as a combatant in DoD’s War on Men.

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Lt. Col. James H. Wilkerson III

Before I delve into the content of the March 12 letter written by General Franklin, commander of Third Air Force and the convening authority in the case of Lt. Col. James H. Wilkerson III, a review of the battles in this war is in order.

In a post March 7, I shared the full text of the scathing letter in which Senator McCaskill strongly urged Secretary Donley and Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, Chief of Staff of the Air Force to consider removing General Franklin for cause.

A few days later, Senator McCaskill announced she was proposing legislation to curtail the authority of military commanders to override court-martial convictions involving sexual assault charges and publicized the fact that she had met with Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh “to discuss her ongoing efforts to address sexual assaults in the military.” In addition, however, she used another news release to smear the now-innocent Colonel Wilkerson.

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Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.)

“Rape is the crime of a coward—and rapists in the ranks are masquerading as real members of our military,” she explained, adding, “The focus of our efforts should be on effective prosecution. There’s no reason a General who’s never heard the testimony of factual witnesses should be able to wipe out a verdict with the stroke of a pen.”

Those words prompted me to demand Senator McCaskill apologize to Colonel Wilkerson for inferring that he was a rapist. In addition to the fact that Colonel Wilkerson had been declared innocent, he had never been accused of rape in the first place!

On April 8, Senator McCaskill announced new Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel had bought into her plan to take away commanders’ authority when it comes to courts-martial cases like the one involving Colonel Wilkerson.

Now, back to the Wednesday news release in which Senator McCaskill referred to the letter written by General Franklin to Secretary Donley.

“This explanation crystalizes exactly why the convening authority should not have the unilateral ability to overturn a jury verdict-and why we need legislation that restricts their ability to do so,” the liberal member of the Senate Armed Services Committee wrote. “This letter is filled with selective reasoning and assumptions from someone with no legal training, and it’s appalling that the reasoning spelled out in the letter served as the basis to overturn a jury verdict in this case.”

Was Senator McCaskill right in her analysis of General Franklin’s six-page letter (pdf) to Secretary Donley? You be the judge! Click here or on the graphic below to read it.

LtGen Franklin End of Ltr 3-12-13 LR

Click to read letter (pdf) at Scribd.com.

Next, read the piece I published Monday under the headline, National Defense University Publishes Must-Read Article About Military Sexual Assault. Pay particular attention to the ending, and let me know if you agree with me by leaving a comment below.

UPDATE 4/12/2013 at 1:31 p.m. Central:  When I published this piece yesterday, I failed to note how this subject matter has a connection to my soon-to-be-published book, THE CLAPPER MEMO, and makes me think General Franklin might want to read the book. In his letter to SAF Donley, the general noted the following:

“Lt Col Wilkerson voluntarily agreed to take an (Air Force Office of Special Investigations) polygraph examination. I am fully aware of and considered the polygraph results. As you are aware in a criminal investigation, a polygraph is only an investigative tool to assist in the potential focus of the investigation and/or to attempt to elicit admissions of guilt. It is not a “lie detector test,” nor is it “pass” or “fail.” Because of the inherent unreliability of polygraphs, they are entirely inadmissible in a court-martial. Ultimately, Lt Col Wilkerson has consistently maintained his complete innocence — throughout two lengthy OSI interviews, through the entire court-martial, and throughout his nearly four months in prison (following the court-martial and during the post-trial process).”

Order Books Graphic LR 6-15-13

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August and THE CLAPPER MEMO. To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

This entry was posted in Chuck Hagel, Claire McCaskill, Military Justice, Three Days In August and tagged , , , , , , by BobMcCarty. Bookmark the permalink.

About BobMcCarty

A native of Enid, Oklahoma, Bob McCarty graduated from Oklahoma State University with a degree in journalism in 1984. During the next two decades, he served stints as an Air Force public affairs officer, a political campaign manager, a technology sales consultant and a public relations professional. Today, Bob spends most of his time researching topics, writing about them and publishing those writings. When he’s not writing online, he’s working as an author. Bob’s first published book, Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight For Military Justice (October 2011), chronicles the life story and wrongful conviction of Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart, a highly-decorated Green Beret combat veteran. In his second book, THE CLAPPER MEMO (May 2013), Bob connects the dots between a memo signed by James R. Clapper Jr. — the man now serving as our nation’s top intelligence official — and the deaths of dozens of Americans in Afghanistan at the hands of our so-called Afghan “allies” wearing the uniforms of their nation’s military, police and security forces. Bob is married, has three sons and lives in the St. Louis area. Bob is available for media and blogger interviews. Simply drop a comment here, leaving your name, organization, phone number, e-mail address and area of interest. He’ll try to respond as soon as possible.

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