WSJ editorial writer: Military sexual assault reports are part of ‘war on men’
Wall Street Journal editorial writer James Taranto sounded off about the military’s epidemic of sexual assaults on Monday, calling people who report incidents of sexual assaults fakers and accusing them of being the shock troops in an ongoing “war on men” and an effort to “criminalize male sexuality.” According to Media Matters, Taranto made the remarks in a column published Monday in the Journal that also accused Sen. Claire McCaskill of blocking the nomination of a woman general for political reasons.
“Lt. Gen. Susan Helms is a pioneering woman who finds her career stalled because of a war on men,” Taranto began, “a political campaign against sexual assault in the military that shows signs of becoming an effort to criminalize male sexuality.”
Taranto listed Helms’ accomplishments and stated that her nomination has been put on “permanent hold” in Congress by McCaskill because of a decision by Helms to grant clemency to an officer accused of repeated sexual assaults on female subordinates. In one case, the officer, Capt. Matthew Herrera, was accused of opening a female soldier’s pants and fondling her genitals while she was unconscious in the back of a car. Herrera insisted that the advance was invited by the woman and that her participation was consensual.
Taranto minimized the assaulted woman’s experience, saying “(t)o describe the accuser in the Herrera case as a ‘survivor’ is more than a little histrionic,” and called the attack an instance of “he-said/she-said,” making it sound like a date gone wrong.
A second woman, Staff Sgt. Jennifer Robinson, has also accused Herrera of sexual assault. Taranto accused her in his column of asking for it because she “voluntarily accompanied” Herrera into his bedroom.
Taranto said that Herrera may be guilty of sexual “recklessness,” but certainly not rape.
“The presumption that reckless men are criminals while reckless women are victims makes a mockery of any notion that the sexes are equal,” he asserted, and went on to say that McCaskill is making “a mockery of the basic principles of justice.”
In May, the Department of Defense released its Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military, which found that approximately 26,000 service members of both sexes faced unwanted sexual aggression in the line of duty. Of those who actually reported the crimes, 62 percent of service members faced retribution or further violence from their attackers.
Nonetheless, Taranto insisted that Gen. Helms had done her duty in Herrera’s case by accepting his accounts over that of his accusers.
“Military officers and lawmakers alike swear an oath to ‘support and defend the Constitution of the United States.'” Taranto wrote. “In the case of Matthew Herrera, Gen. Helms lived up to that commitment. Will Sen. McCaskill?”
Watch video of Taranto discussing his remarks, embedded below via Media Matters:
[image of woman U.S. soldier via Shutterstock.com]