Three things became clear during the past week: I’m not the only one using the phrase, DoD’s War on Men, to describe the sexual assault witch hunt now taking place inside the Department of Defense; this war involves players at the highest levels of government; and it has front line combat troops fearful and incensed.
In his Wall Street Journal opinion piece Monday, James Taranto highlighted the case of Lt. Gen. Susan Helms, beginning with this summary:
Lt. Gen. Susan Helms is a pioneering woman who finds her career stalled because of a war on men—a political campaign against sexual assault in the military that shows signs of becoming an effort to criminalize male sexuality.
Taranto went on to highlight how U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), one of the ring leaders in this war, has placed a “permanent hold” on General Helms’ nomination to serve as vice commander of U.S. Space Command. Why? Because she had used her authority as a convening authority to grant clemency to Capt. Matthew Herrera, an officer under her command, after he had been tried and convicted by a court-martial panel of aggravated sexual assault.
Apparently in denial of the possibility that General Helms might have made the right decision, Senator McCaskill described it recently as sending “a damaging message to survivors of sexual assault who are seeking justice in the military justice system.” Really?
On Friday, Stars and Stripes published news about a Navy judge, Cmdr. Marcus Fulton, ruling that comments made by President Barack Obama as Commander-in-Chief would unduly influence any potential sentencing during pretrial hearings that in two sexual assault cases — U.S. vs. Johnson and U.S. vs. Fuentes. As a result of the ruling, neither of the accused individuals can be punitively discharged from the military — even if found guilty.
Because I know none of the specifics about these two cases, I cannot pretend to be an expert on the facts and evidence — if any exists, that is — involved. I can, however, say that the meddling of President Obama can be said to have had an adverse impact on the military justice system, and it has some troops upset. Among them, some Camp Pendleton Marines featured in the KSWB-Fox 5 video below:
In October 2011, my first nonfiction book, Three Days In August, was published, chronicling the life story and wrongful conviction of Army Special Forces Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart. A highly-decorated combat veteran, he fell victim to this perverse new brand of military justice and saw his distinguished career as a member of the elite Green Beret fraternity shattered. Since then, I’ve been apprised of dozens of similar cases, many of which are highlighted in my series, DoD’s War on Men.
Key point: If this sexual assault witch hunt continues, no decent individuals will no longer want to serve in our nation’s military, deeming it too risky. Then what?
UPDATE 6/22/2013 at 2:17 p.m. Central: A follow-up article by Taranto in the Wall Street Journal helps drive the point home further.
UPDATE 6/27/2013 at 8:34 p.m. Central: The Daily Beast gives Senator McCaskill space to fire back at Taranto for his spot-on efforts.