Senator McCaskill Proves To Be Long on ‘Wind,’ Short on Wisdom

After watching the video that accompanied a news release I received this afternoon from Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), I found the news release’s headline, “McCaskill Hears About Success of New Reform to Curb Military Sexual Assault,” incredibly misleading.

How was it misleading? The Show-Me State’s senior senator did more bloviating than she did listening. In fact, she rambled on for two and a half minutes about the so-called “reforms” in the military justice system’s approach to prosecuting alleged instances of sexual assault before Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond T. Odierno got a word in edgewise. And the video was only three minutes and two seconds long!

I guess that’s how she plays the game.

To learn more about the Senator McCaskill’s misguided push for reforms in the prosecution of cases of sexual assault cases — real and imagined — in the military, read my series, “War On Men in the Military.”

To learn more about one case, in particular, that resulted in the wrongful conviction and imprisonment of Army Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart, order a copy of Three Days In August.

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.

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.

Michael Behenna Gives First Post-Prison Television Interview

Michael Behenna, the former Army Ranger officer whose wrongful conviction has been the subject of dozens of pieces during the past four years, gave is first television interview yesterday, 12 days after being released on parole from military prison.

News9.com – Oklahoma City, OK – News, Weather, Video and Sports |

To see photos of the location in Iraq where the shooting of the known Al-Qaeda operative Ali Mansur took place, read Photos Show Scene Where Trail of Injustice Began.

Culvert-3-Low-RezTo read Carrie Fatigante’s nine-part series about Behenna’s case, go to The Michael Behenna Story: Getting Personal.

To read about the Army’s refusal to release a copy of the investigation report about the incident involving Behenna, read go to Army 15-6 Investigation Report Proves Elusive.

To learn about former Army Green Beret Sgt. 1st Class Kelly Stewart, one of the wrongfully-convicted men Behenna talked about during the television interview, order a copy of my first nonfiction book, Three Days In August.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct '11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May '13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct ’11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May ’13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Military Justice System Headed Down Same Path as Healthcare

“If you like your military, you can keep your military.”

U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair, the deputy commanding general of support with the 82nd Airborne Division and Regional Command-South, speaks with Afghan media outside of a school near Forward Operating Base Howz-e-Madad in Kandahar, Afghanistan, Nov. 16, 2011. Sinclair was attending an open house, where Afghan students received backpacks full of school supplies. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Amanda Hils/Released)

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”).

Three Days In August by Bob McCarty

Click on image above to order book.

“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.

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.

Military Officers Used As Pawns by U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill

Senior military officers are repeatedly being used as pawns in the political campaign that is U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill’s (D-Mo.) War on Men in the Military.

McCaskill News Release 1-17-14

In my inbox this morning, I received another news release from Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) as she wages her “War on Men in the Military.”

Via email today, I received yet another in a constant stream of news releases from the office of the Show-Me State’s senior senator in Washington.  An excerpt the news release appears below:

Former sex crimes prosecutor and U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill today met with Major General Jeffrey Snow, the new director of the Department of Defense Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (SAPRO), to discuss implementing a series of aggressive, historic reforms addressing sexual assault that were passed into law last month.

McCaskill and Snow also addressed recent statistics that showed a 50 percent increase in reporting in the 2013 fiscal year. Advocates who successfully pushed for changes to the military justice system—including McCaskill—have near-universal agreement that increases in reporting of these crimes will represent progress in the effort to curb them.

“The numbers show that these reforms may already be starting to work, but we have to continue being vigilant in addressing these crimes,” said McCaskill, a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “Maj. Gen. Snow understands that his job will be incredibly difficult, and he knows he will be under an enormous amount of pressure from me, my colleagues, and the American people to get this right. Retaining a limited role for commanders, while instituting these historic reforms, is the key to curbing sexual assaults in the military, and the key to getting justice for our nations heroes.”

IF all of the claims Senator McCaskill makes in today’s news release were true, then I might be inclined to support her campaign for military justice system reforms.  Unfortunately, however, they’re not!  Instead, they’re just as biased and full of misinformation as those made in a news release I received from her office via email three days ago (see photo below) and in entries on her website page dedicated to this topic.

Photo from Sen. McCaskill News Release 1-14-14.

This photo shows “Claire Bear” meeting earlier this week with Maj. Gen. Margaret Woodward, the outgoing head of the Air Force Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, and Brig. Gen. Gina Grosso, who has been tasked with filling Woodward’s position.

IF Senator McCaskill and others of her ilk were willing to actually listen to any of the dozens of victims of the military justice system — men and women alike — who’ve contacted me after reading my book, Three Days In August, she would be shocked by the true stories they share.  And, hopefully, she would rethink her position.  So would you!

For a better understanding of the issues involved, I recommend you read two of my most-recent articles about the War on Men in the Military.

To order, click image above.

To order, click image above.

In one piece, I share the views of military defense attorney Richard Stevens as he drives home the point that “the military justice system is being turned into the military prosecution, or persecution, system in court-martial cases alleging rape and/or sexual assault (UCMJ Article 120).”

In another, I highlight a new book, The Whole Truth: The Tainted Prosecution of an American Fighter Pilot.  Written by retired Air Force Col. Bob Harvey, it dissects the wrongful conviction case involving Air Force Lt. Col. James H. Wilkerson III and how a three-star general did the right thing when he overturned that conviction.

If you want to read more about the ongoing efforts to degrade the military justice system, I recommend you read my Top 10 Military Justice System Stories of 2013 as well as a piece published 16 months ago in which an experience military defense attorney says he believes 90 percent of military sexual assault cases would be thrown out of civilian courts due to lack of evidence.

To learn the most-minute details about the wrongful prosecution and conviction of one of our nation’s most-elite warriors, add Three Days In August to your library today.

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.

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.

Finally, A Lawyer Makes Sense

In the first paragraph of a piece published two days ago, military defense attorney Richard Stevens drives home the point that “the military justice system is being turned into the military prosecution, or persecution, system in court-martial cases alleging rape and/or sexual assault (UCMJ Article 120).”  And he’s as familiar with the system as anyone after having worked in the system as both a JAG officer and civilian defense attorney.

Richard Stevens Mil Justice 1-10-14

Click image above to read post.

He goes on to point his legal finger at “lawmakers and senior government and military officials who care more about an inaccurate politically correct narrative than the fairness of the military justice system” before describing them as “conspiring to make continued changes to the system to ensure commanders and JAGs have no discretion, or at least don’t dare to exercise what little discretion they may ultimately retain.”

Moving forward, Stevens highlights how two Air Force lieutenant generals — Susan Helms and Craig A. Franklin — saw their three-start careers abruptly ended by elected officials engaged in allowing political correctness to run amok.

Rather than rehash Stevens’ piece in its entirety, however, I simply recommend you read it.

In addition, I recommend you read several pieces in my series, War on Men in the Military.

Finally, if you really want to boost your blood pressure, order a copy of my first nonfiction book, Three Days In August, in which I chronicle the life story of Army Sgt. 1st Class Kelly Stewart and reveal how his career as a highly-decorated Green Beret combat veteran was ruined by this agenda-driven form of military justice.

WARNING:  Reading this book will make your blood boil.

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.

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.

New Book, New Victim Spawned by War on Men in the Military

The War on Men in the Military spawned a new book and a new victim in recent days, thanks largely to Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and her efforts to demonize people involved in the case of alleged sexual assault involving Air Force fighter pilot Lt. Col. James H. Wilkerson III.

NEW BOOK

To order, click image above.

To order, click image above.

Retired Air Force Col. Bob Harvey released his first book, The Whole Truth: The Tainted Prosecution of an American Fighter Pilot.

In 336 pages, Colonel Harvey reveals the lengths the military will go to appease politicians and aggressively prosecute sexual assault cases, even when the evidence doesn’t support a conviction or even going to trial.

More specifically, the former F-16 pilot and combat veteran focuses on details of the case in which Colonel Wilkerson was wrongly convicted and sentenced to one year in prison before his court-martial conviction was overturned by Air Force Lt. Gen. Craig A. Franklin, then commander of Third Air Force, who was performing his role as convening authority in the case. He also spotlights two key issues — no physical evidence and conflicting testimony — and points out how the Air Force ignored facts and used questionable tactics in a relentless pursuit of a conviction in the high-profile case.

LtColWilkerson2012

Lt. Col. James H. Wilkerson III, USAF

The Whole Truth strikes me as similar to my first nonfiction book, Three Days In August, in which I chronicled the wrongful sexual-assault conviction of Army Special Forces Sgt. 1st Class Kelly Stewart, a highly-decorated Green Beret combat veteran. Colonel Harvey puts the case against Colonel Wilkerson on trial and uses court-martial records to examine the story point by point and point out the wrongs against an officer who, despite having his conviction overturned, was forced into early retirement at the reduced rank of major.

I highly recommend you order a copy of The Whole Truth, read it, and tell your friends to do the same.

GENERAL RESIGNS, SENATOR CROWS

In announcing his retirement earlier this week, according to a report in Stars and Stripes, General Franklin was diplomatic and cited his belief that the public questioning of his judgment as a general court-martial convening authority had become “a distraction for the Air Force.”

Lt. Gen. Craig A. Franklin, USAF

Lt. Gen. Craig A. Franklin, USAF

Conversely, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) was anything but diplomatic in a news release I received via email yesterday about the general she had lambasted for months:

“Lt. Gen. Franklin’s decision to resign is the right one. His handling of sexual assault cases is the best possible illustration of why civilian review, elimination of commanders’ ability to overturn convictions, and so many other protections are included in our recent defense bill.”

To learn more about how the military command structure is being weakened via the overhaul of the military justice system by people like Senator McCaskill, follow my series, War on Men in the Military. The first post in that series, published March 7, 2013, can be found here.

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.

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.

Bob McCarty: Top 10 Military Justice System Stories of 2013

As a former Air Force public affairs officer and author of two books that involve military subject matter, I have an affinity for reporting on military-related topics and, in particular, the military justice system. Below are my Top 10 Military Justice posts of 2013:

Behenna Flag Officers#10. Flag Officers Back Supreme Court Brief Filed on Behalf of Lieutenant Michael Behenna — Thirty-seven retired high-ranking military officers, including a former Chief of Naval Operations, signed an Amicus Brief submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court Feb. 27 in support of Army Ranger 1st Lt. Michael Behenna. An Edmond, Okla., native, Lieutenant Behenna is serving 15-years behind bars at the U.S. Military Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., for killing a known al-Qaeda operative in Iraq.

#9. Comparing Messages Sent by Accusers — DoD War on Men — As part of my continuing series about the War on Men in the Military, I compared the handling of evidence in military court-martial cases to the handling of similar evidence during the prosecution of a civilian sexual assault case making news in Ohio.

Behenna Story 15-6#8. Army 15-6 Investigation Report Proves Elusive — Related to the Soldier whose case was highlighted in #10 above, I recalled details about my thusfar unsuccessful efforts to obtain a copy of the Army Regulation 15-6 Investigation Report prepared after Army Ranger 1st Lt. Michael Behenna shot and killed the known al-Qaeda operative in Iraq.

#7. Retired Air Force Nurse Likens Senator Claire McCaskill’s Actions to ‘Witch Hunt’ — I shared an unsolicited message I received from a retired Air Force officer about the involvement of Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) in a high-profile sexual assault case.

#6. Is DoD Waging War on Warriors? — I offered details about an Army general’s case and several others brought to my attention by readers of my first nonfiction book, Three Days In August, which chronicles the life and wrongful conviction of Army Green Beret Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart on sexual assault-related charges.

Franklin Cases Online#5. USAF General Puts Sexual Assault Case Documents Online — I highlighted the fact that an Air Force three-star general showed he wasn’t going to back down to his detractors and made a plethora of documents related to the case mentioned in #7 above available to visitors on the Air Force Freedom of Information Act website.

#4. Senator Claire McCaskill Owes Air Force Officer An Apology — I offered another sad update on Senator “Claire Bear” McCaskill and her inexcusable actions, including the fact that she owes an Air Force officer an apology.

#3. Senator Claire McCaskill’s Reckless Effort to Undermine Military Justice System Continues — I highlighted the efforts of the aforementioned liberal senior senator from the Show-Me State seemingly aimed at destroying Air Force Lt. Gen. Craig A. Franklin.

Must-Read NDU#2. Must-Read Article About Military Sexual Assault Published by National Defense University — I pointed readers to a well-written must-read piece, Fostering Constructive Dialogue on Military Sexual Assault by Lindsay L. Rodman, that was published in Joint Force Quarterly 69 by National Defense University Press.

#1. Army Officer’s Attorneys File Supreme Court Petition — I offered details of how a new team of those legal experts filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of former Army Ranger 1LT Michael C. Behenna, the Soldier mentioned in #8 and #10 above and in more than 60 posts since June 4, 2009.

If you enjoyed these stories and others I shared during 2013, you’ll love reading my books. Be sure to add Three Days In August and THE CLAPPER MEMO to your libraries today! Both are available in paperback and ebook versions at Amazon.com.

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.

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.

Observing 4th Anniversary of Green Beret’s Bogus Conviction on Sexual Assault Charges

EDITOR’S NOTE: Four years ago today, Army Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart was found guilty by members of a court-martial panel of several sexual assault-related charges despite the fact Army prosecutors presented no evidence of any kind to prove his guilt. In short, the highly-decorated Green Beret combat veteran became one of the early victims of the War on Men in the Military. Slightly modified for stand-alone publication, the excerpt (below) from my book, Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight For Military Justice, provides graphic details of what happened the night after SFC Stewart learned he had been found guilty.

Kelly A. Stewart

Kelly A. Stewart

“So, they find me guilty. It’s late at night. In an instant, my whole life got flushed right down the toilet,” said Kelly A. Stewart, recalling the verdict that changed his life just before midnight on August 19, 2009. “I am smart enough to know that my life is screwed. The rest of my life. No matter what. My life is done.

“Clearly, I felt that I was shafted, and I knew there was no way to fix it,” the career soldier and Green Beret explained. “This is an analogy I use. It might come across as messed up, but this is my analogy, and this is why I chose to do what I did.

“I was not going to have everybody do prison time with me,” said Stewart, recalling his thoughts after a court-martial panel found him guilty of sex crimes against a German woman and handed down a sentence that included a reduction in rank, from E-7 to E-1, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, eight years of confinement and a recommendation for dishonorable discharge upon release.

“I wasn’t going to go to prison and have my kids have to go through having their dad in prison and my wife having to stand by my side and go without a husband for years —- and, at that time, I didn’t know the length of the years,” said Stewart, a Special Forces combat medic and Level One-trained sniper. “I didn’t know the length of my sentence; I just knew that I was found guilty.”

That’s when he made a decision.

“I never thought I was going to prison,” Stewart said. “When I got back after (being convicted), I had a reality check in the hotel room” at the Krystal Inn, the on-post hotel where he was staying near the court building where his trial was taking place at Rose Barracks in Vilseck, Germany.

About the only plans he made took place during the last intermission in the courtroom before his guilty verdict was announced. After calling his wife and telling her he wouldn’t be coming home soon, Stewart also called his bank and transferred all of the money in his account into his wife’s account.

“I already knew what I was gonna do,” he recalled.

Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart returns from a mission in Iraq.

Kelly A. Stewart

Back in their room at the Krystal Inn, Stewart and his buddy, Sergeant First Class Detrick Hampton, laid in their beds and talked most of the night until Sergeant Hampton fell asleep around 5 a.m. Less than an hour later, Stewart began to implement his hastily-crafted plan.

Careful not to wake Sergeant Hampton, Stewart got up out of his bed about an hour later, put on his Army Combat Uniform and low-quarter shoes and collected a few items—including a combat knife and a rubber band—he thought he might need. Oddly, he left his black Army jump boots in the room.

Quietly, he walked out of his second-floor room at the Krystal Inn where, even after he was found guilty, he was not kept under guard — an indication, perhaps, that some in the Army still didn’t think he was as dangerous as the charges, eventual conviction and news media coverage of his case might have indicated. He had, after all, never been deemed a danger to others or a flight risk.

Because he had not planned to go away for a long time, Stewart didn’t prepare by gathering lots of clothes, money and 16 passports. Instead, he ensured only that he had enough money for gas to go where he needed to go to take his own life. And with three combat tours in Iraq and other stints in Kosovo and Macedonia under his belt, he knew enough about medicine to make it happen.

Once outside the hotel room, Stewart walked the short distance to a staircase in the center of the building, down a single flight of stairs and through an open-air hallway out to the parking lot where his rental car, an Audi Q5, was parked.

He drove the SUV a short distance to the Shoppette —- the name the Army and Air Force Exchange Service gives its convenience stores located on military installations -— where he purchased a laundry list of items: three 50-count bottles of Tylenol caplets, one 72-count package of Sominex tablets, two 16-ounce bottles of Gatorade Riptide Rush, some writing paper and a couple of pencils.

“I thought about how other people have killed themselves, and they generally either hurt or make a display for other people, but I didn’t want to do is be found dead somewhere where some kid was gonna see me (and) I didn’t want to get drunk and drive down the road and do something irresponsible where I could injure someone else or another family,” he said. Instead, he tried to pick an out-of-the-way place close by, in the woods, where he knew only an adult would find him. In the end, he opted for a wooded park area at a nearby training range.

Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart at work in Iraq.

Kelly A. Stewart

After leaving the Shoppette, he knew he had to reach his destination by 6:30 a.m., the time at which the perimeter road that encircled two Army posts and the training range in between them would close so troops could use it for physical training (i.e., “PT”).

Immediately after pulling off the road and parking his car near a trail, Stewart drank about a fourth of the contents of each Gatorade bottle. Next, he used the flat surface of a tree stump and the flat edge of a large combat knife to methodically crush 150 Tylenol tablets (500 mg) and 50 Sominex tablets. Finally, he scooped the now-powdered medicines into the bottles and shook them up.

From his experience in hospital emergency rooms, he knew the crushed tablets, when swallowed, would have a much more toxic effect than coated tablets designed to reach the stomach before their contents were released. In addition, the sleep medicine would simply make it easier for him to endure his passage from life to death.

Next, he used a 12-foot length of CAT-5 cable that he had had in his room at the Krystal Inn to make a hangman’s noose on an A-frame-style deer stand he found in the woods only a kilometer or two away from the court building.

“I measured the CAT-5 so my feet wouldn’t touch the ground,” Stewart explained. “There was a base I could stand on to get my neck in the noose, but the base was high enough that, when I passed out, my feet wouldn’t touch the ground.”

At one point before he put the noose to work, a German forest marshal working on the German-American post drove by, saw Stewart in his vehicle and exchanged pleasantries with him. Upon learning from Stewart that he was “just waiting on doing some training here,” the forest marshal drove away.

Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart on duty in Iraq.

Kelly A. Stewart

In retrospect, Stewart said, “I think that was my divine intervention, telling me, ‘Don’t do it, stupid.’” But he didn’t listen.

As soon as the forest marshal left, around 9:15 a.m., Stewart began consuming the drink in a process he compared to a Selection event—one of the grueling steps he survived en route to the SF Qualification Course. In other words, consuming the drink—and keeping it down—was very difficult.

Trying to hold it down was difficult. Every once in a while, he found himself throwing it back up into the bottle, because it burned so much on the way down.

“Everybody says, ‘I’m gonna kill myself,” he said, “but, to really do it and be successful is an event in itself.”

Why Tylenol, Sominex and Gatorade? It was part of his plan.

“In SF, we have this acronym called a PACE plan—Primary, Alternate, Contingency and Emergency. Everything that we do has a four-step plan in there…a redundancy thing…

“I had a PACE plan, but it wasn’t very good,” he said, noting the fact that he had survived.

“The Tylenol was, I guess, the primary thing,” he said, explaining that he had seen enough Tylenol overdoses in emergency rooms to know that it was an effective, but very painful technique.

“The alternate was the sleeping medicine.

“The CAT-5 cable was the contingency.”

Kelly Stewart meets country music superstar Toby Keith at an undisclosed location in Iraq.

Kelly Stewart and Toby Keith

Consuming the toxic cocktail took close to 40 minutes.

“Basically, when I started feeling myself get drowsy, I knew it was time and kind of stood up in this little A-frame deer stand, and I had the CAT-5 cable,” Stewart said. “I had it double-knotted, and I used a Prusik knot.” Similar to a slip knot, it was invented by an Austrian for mountaineering and climbing purposes.

While waiting for the drugs to take effect, Stewart wrote one letter each to his wife and daughters, to his parents and extended family, to members of his SF team, to Judge Kuhfahl and to the members of the court-martial panel. After writing the letters, he put a rubber band around them and placed his Tag Heuer wristwatch, his wedding ring and the money he had had in his pocket on top of them next to his vehicle. Accompanying those items were instructions for whoever found him to make sure the letters were delivered and the watch and ring were returned to his wife.

It was approaching 10:30 a.m., the time the court was set to convene, and Stewart realized people would start looking for him soon. Before he could worry too much about being discovered, however, the drugs began to take effect.

“I get drowsy (and) I realize, ‘Hey, it’s time,’ and said some prayers, because I knew I was gonna black out,” he said. “I had to work my way over to where this hangman’s noose was, because I had to basically kind of climb a little bit on it so that, when I passed out, (it) would catch me” as the contingency and emergency elements of his PACE plan. That was the last thing he remembered.

To read the remainder of this chapter and learn more about Stewart’s life and the events before and after those described above, order the book, Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight For Military Justice. It’s available in paperback and ebook at Amazon.com.

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.

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.

Military Leaders Pushed by Political Correctness

By Col. Robert Harvey, USAF (Ret.), Guest Writer

Led by U.S. Senators Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), political correctness is bullying its way into our military in the name of protecting women. Sadly, the changes to the military justice system being advanced by these women are designed specifically to convict more men accused of sexual assault without regard for the truth.

McCaskill - Gillibrand The senators’ proposed changes include stripping military commanders of their authority to dismiss convictions during the clemency process. Commanders would still be “permitted” to review cases, but prohibited from dismissing them. In other words, commanders would only act as “rubber stamps” if the proposed changes are approved.

The senators want to mandate dishonorable discharge/dismissal for sexual assault. Strong punishments for sure, but they can deny servicemen retirement benefits previously earned during lengthy and otherwise honorable service. Currently, court-martial panel members (a.k.a., “jurors”) decide, along with other punishments, whether or not to strip retirement benefits. In turn, those decisions are reviewed by commanders. While dishonorable discharge/dismissal may be warranted in aggravated or violent cases of sexual assault, the same punishment for something the military now describes simply as “unwanted touching” — something that’s not even considered a crime outside the military — would be cruel and unusual punishment. Leave the sentencing to the jury!

The senators want to require input from victims during clemency hearings. A clemency hearing is a post-conviction review by the commander. During this post phase, the commander conducts a review and either approves or reduces the sentence. He cannot, however, increase the sentence. The requirement for a victim to provide input during clemency would be redundant. Victims can speak as witnesses during trials, and they’re afforded opportunities to speak during sentencing. What more would the senators like them to be able to say?

The senators want victims to be able to read letters of support for the defendant and respond to them. Again, why? Just so the victim can have the last word? Since the senators want commanders to be nothing more than “rubber stamps,” why have this (or clemency) at all? In all probability, this idea stems from a case the senators disagree with that involved a commander dismissing a conviction. In other words, the senators are acting like spoiled kids when they don’t get their way.

The senators want to “make it clear commanders failing to address sexual assaults should be relieved of command.” This is troubling — a direct threat to any commander who considers not pressing every case to court martial, regardless of the evidence. In other words, if Senators McCaskill and Gillibrand do not get their way, the commander gets fired.

Recently, a two-star Army general in Japan was relieved of duty, because his higher ups did not believe he adequately pursued an assault case. Now, the de facto policy in the Army is that every case goes to court-martial or the commander gets fired. This sets a very serious precedent that sweeps aside any effort at truth or justice in favor of a political agenda.

Blackstone QuoteAs if threatening their careers is not enough, another push is underway to force commanders to send cases to court-martial regardless of the available evidence. The senators want to include this provision: “Commanders retain ability to refer cases for court martial in consultation with legal counsel—including when prosecutors decline.”

Why would a commander insist a case proceed to court-martial after prosecutors decline to recommend that option? This provision, along with threats of being fired, will encourage commanders to do just that. At the same time, it confirms the senators’ joint goal is to force each case to trial regardless of the evidence or strength of the case.

Isn’t this just the flip side of what the senators object to already – that is, a commander being able to affect a case? Evidently, the senators only disagree with a commander when he rules in favor of an accused. When a commander rules against an accused and over the best judgment of a prosecutor, the senators find that acceptable. That’s not justice!

Two other changes the democrats want to implement include eliminating the consideration of the defendant’s military character and establishing guidance to move the accused from the unit.

Elimination of military character as a consideration for case disposition means that a defendant will be prohibited from showing a positive military record of good conduct as part of his defense. Even murderers get the opportunity to show that they have not always been bad people. Why take this away from military defendants? Why are they singled out for slander in the courtroom without being able to provide a defense?

Finally, the senators want to “protect” the alleged victim by moving the accused from his unit prior to any trial being conducted and without regard to evidence of the establishment of guilt. Without time for due process, this has the effect of establishing that the accused is guilty until proven innocent.

In a modern-day version of the Salem Witch Trials, Senators McCaskill, Gillibrand and others want to establish that one woman’s story is enough to send any man to prison; that every man who is accused is guilty; and that evidence and legal process need not interfere with the sequence of events that follow an accusation. “Just burn them all!” is the new mantra, and that’s unacceptable!

Col. Robert Harvey, USAF Ret.

Col. Robert Harvey, USAF Ret.

Colonel Harvey retired after 33 years of military service which included six years in the U.S. Army and 27 years in the U.S. Air Force. A combat fighter pilot with more than 3,100 hours in F-16 cockpits, 160 of which were flown in combat during Operation Desert Storm, his distinguished career also includes service as a fighter squadron commander and an air operations group commander.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) is guilty, too. For details, see Senators McCaskill and Ayotte Push Sexual Assault ‘Witch Hunt.’ To learn more about the dangers facing the military justice system, read my my series, “War on Men in the Military.”

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.

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.

President Barack Obama Leading DoD Sexual Assault Witch Hunt

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.

WSJ Taranto Headline 6-17-13In 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.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.)

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.)

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?

Stripes Obama Headline 6-14-13On 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 2:14 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 8:30 p.m. Central:  The Daily Beast gives Senator McCaskill space to fire back at Taranto for his spot-on efforts.

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.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct ’11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May ’13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.