“If you like your military, you can keep your military.”
U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair, then-deputy commanding general of support with the 82nd Airborne Division and Regional Command-South, speaks with Afghan media Nov. 16, 2011. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Amanda Hils/Released)
To my knowledge, President Barack Obama hasn’t said that yet — at least, not in public. But the military justice system seems to be headed down the same path as the nation’s healthcare system.
Unlike the debate regarding healthcare, the debate about the need for military justice reforms involves people in positions of power (i.e., President Obama and members of Congress) who have absolutely no concept of what is necessary in a military justice system, because they have never served. Led by people like Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), they advocate steps that will only worsen an already-flawed system.
One person who seems to understand what’s at stake is Patti Fruit, a resident of the Fayetteville, N.C., area near Fort Bragg. While I don’t agree with everything she wrote in a letter to the editor of the Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer about the headline-making outcome of Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair’s court-martial, I do agree with the following point she made:
“Yes, he admits to adultery with underlings, but why military women who have achieved rank did not have the honor and courage to report the general’s advances from the beginning is a question that needs addressing.”
What was the outcome of General Sinclair’s case? Sexual assault charges against him were dropped after political influence, in lieu of facts, was cited as the driving force behind a higher-ranking general’s decision to prosecute Sinclair.
One-hundred-eighty-degrees opposite Ms. Fruit, members of The New York Times Editorial Board revealed in a letter published today that they don’t have a clue about the military justice system. Their lack of a “clue” is illustrated in the two paragraphs highlighted below:
The deal followed a stunning ruling by a military judge last week suggesting that by holding out for more severe punishment, and by rejecting an earlier plea deal, the senior Army officer overseeing the prosecution might have been improperly influenced by political considerations in bringing the most severe charges against the general because of a desire to show new resolve in the military against sexual misconduct. The prosecution had also been badly shaken by revelations that the general’s accuser may have lied under oath.
The episode offers a textbook example of justice gone awry, providing yet another reason to overhaul the existing military justice system, which gives commanding officers with built-in conflicts of interest — rather than trained and independent military prosecutors outside the chain of command — the power to decide which sexual assault cases to try.
The Times Editorial Board’s description of this week’s happenings in the case as “a textbook example of justice gone awry, providing yet another reason to overhaul the existing military justice system” is about as truthful as any of President Obama’s promises concerning the so-called Affordable Care Act (a.k.a., “ObamaCare”).
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“If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor,” the president said. We all know how long that promise lasted.
“If you like your plan, you can keep your plan,” the president said. Tell that to the hundreds of thousands of Americans who’ve lost coverage since ObamaCare went “live.”
“We’re going to work with employers to lower your premiums by up to $2,500 per family per year,” the president said.
Rather than telling us “If you like your military, you can keep your military,” it appears President Obama and his sycophants on The Left are determined to dismantle it without asking for input from anyone else and without regard for or our nation’s security. In short, the military justice system seems destined toward the same fate as healthcare and, sadly, Republicans in Congress seem to lack the wherewithal (a.k.a., “spines”) to do anything about it.If Americans don’t stand up and demand their politicians stop meddling with the military, then they’ll deserve the military that’s left standing. And it won’t be pretty. Or, for that matter, an effective fighting force.
To learn more about sexual assault prosecutions in the military, read my series, “War On Men in the Military.”
To learn more about the case involving Army Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart, order a copy of Three Days In August, the nonfiction book in which I chronicle his life story and wrongful conviction in a U.S. military courtroom in Germany.
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.