Senator Pushes to Make Flawed Military Justice System Worse

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) continued playing her legislative role in support of DoD’s War on Men, the no-holds-barred effort seemingly aimed at convicting any serviceman accused of sexual assault and making an already-flawed military justice system worse.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.)

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.)

During the lunch hour today in the nation’s capitol, according to this media advisory, she was scheduled to be flanked by “more than 100 survivors of sexual assault pushing for changes in the military justice system” as she delivered the keynote address during the Service Women’s Action Network’s Summit on Military Sexual Violence at the Hyatt Regency Washington.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I don’t believe some of the so-called “survivors” suffered some sort of sexual assault; instead, I tend to place more trust in what I learn by reading actual investigation reports, Records of Trial and transcripts from hearings held before and after courts-martial took place. Why? Because I don’t trust politicians who use people as props, and I don’t trust lawyers. Senator McCaskill matches both descriptions!

Even after reading that one civilian defense attorney specializing in military justice cases believes 90 percent of military sexual assault cases would be thrown out of civilian courts due to lack of evidence, I’m inclined to cut his estimate in half. When I do, I find 45 percent is still too high a number when the lives of men like Army Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart, a highly-decorated Army Green Beret and combat veteran, are at stake.

Stewart, whose life story is chronicled in my first nonfiction book, Three Days In August, faces living the rest of his life as a convicted sex offender — unless a presidential pardon comes his way — because the convening authority in his case, Brig. Gen. Steven L. Salazar, opted against ordering a new trial or overturning his conviction. His decision came despite the testimony of three individuals — people who did not know Stewart but knew his accuser — during a post-trial hearing. They said the accuser had lied multiple times during Stewart’s trial!

Since publishing the book in October 2011, I’ve been contacted by dozens of people connected by birth, marriage or friendship to men serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, men facing or already convicted of crimes under the banner of sexual assault.

The most recent case involves Air Force Lt. Col. James H. Wilkerson III, a fighter pilot who was on the fast track toward general officer status until Kimberly Hanks accused him of aggravated sexual assault. NBC News aired a version of the case (see video below) that included an interview arranged by the group, Protect Our Defenders.

Air Force Lt. Gen. Craig A. Franklin, commander of Third Air Force and the convening authority in Colonel Wilkerson’s case, reviewed the case in full before tossing out the conviction after the colonel had served several months behind bars. After his decision made news and Senator McCaskill surfaced as one of three senators wanting General Franklin fired, the general went so far as to voluntarily write a six-page letter (pdf) letter to Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley and put case documents online for all to read.

WilkersonHomePhoto

A friend of Colonel Wilkerson contacted me recently and advised me to look at “Defense Exhibits Q,” a short video showing the room in which the alleged assault took place and the path leading to the upstairs quarters where the colonel and his wife, Beth, said they were sleeping.

“Pay attention that the overhead lights are the only lights in that room,” the friend wrote, including a photo of the room (above). “Then read her testimony. Completely exclude (Colonel Wilkerson) and look at what she said occurred, and it’s simply not possible.”

Her testimony is available on the Air Force Freedom of Information Act website.

Included, but certainly not alone among the documents and videos, is one of special interest to me as the author of another soon-to-be-published nonfiction book, The Clapper Memo, because it relates to the polygraph.

While court records show Colonel Wilkerson volunteered to submit himself to a polygraph exam, he did so under the mistaken belief that it would help him clear his name. Like most Americans, he was unaware of how unreliable polygraph exams can be. Fortunately for the colonel, General Franklin is familiar with the polygraph and cited its “inherent unreliability” in his letter to Secretary Donley. And he’s not alone!

So far, two high-ranking former military officers, one a retired Army two-star general and the other a retired U.S. Navy SEAL commander, have endorsed my soon-to-be-published book, The Clapper Memo, as an exposé that shines necessary and long-overdue light on the polygraph.

“Bob McCarty has uncovered a high-tech ‘turf war’ pitting those who want the best for our troops against others who seem to be focused on their own self-interests,” said Maj. Gen. Paul E. Vallely, a retired Army officer most Americans recognize asthe senior military analyst who appeared so many times on Fox News Channel from 2000 to 2007. Referring to those of the polygraph-only mindset, the man who now heads Stand Up America added, “Sadly, it seems the wrong people are winning this war. I highly recommend THE CLAPPER MEMO.”

“Any American with a sense of fair play and a desire to see that our intelligence and vetting personnel have the best information possible should read THE CLAPPER MEMO, said Capt. Larry W. Bailey, a retired U.S. Navy SEAL who once served as commander of the Basic Underwater Demolition/SEALs (a.k.a., “BUD/S”) training program and now serves as a founding member of Special Operations Speaks. Later, he described what I reveal in the book as “an unconscionable cover-up.”

This is not the first and will not be the last article in my series, DoD’s War on Men, so stay tuned!

EDITOR’S NOTE:  In case you don’t think I have a heart, let me share a story. When I was a young second lieutenant on my first assignment in the Air Force, I had to handle a sexual assault case. A senior enlisted member of my staff had attempted to sexually assault a junior enlisted member of my staff inside her on-base quarters. After an investigation, he was able to avoid court-martial proceedings by accepting a demotion, a sizable reduction in retirement pay and an immediate and sizable financial penalty. The accuser was satisfied with the outcome, and justice was served.

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