Jewish World Review June 26, 2013/ 18 Tamuz, 5773
Free Gen. Helms: The U.S. Senate takes a hostage
By Paul Greenberg
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | For every action in American politics, there is not just an opposite and equal reaction but an opposite and more than equal over-reaction.
Call it Greenberg's Third Law of Motion, and today's example is on vivid display in the
The general's name may be familiar to Gentle Reader, as it surely is to all who have kept up with American achievements in space. Because the lady and commander, scholar and explorer, is
Gen. Helms (
Naturally, her reward in the
The general's commander-in-chief, a civilian named
But back on the ground in Washington, where politics has a way of taking precedence over everything else but today's ideological hobbyhorse, the general's promotion has been held up. Literally. Sen. and would-be Gen. McCaskill has put what's called a Permanent Hold on the general's confirmation.
There was a time when, even worse, this kind of personal power play could be kept secret by a senator -- a confession of just how shameful this low tactic can be -- but now at least the guilty party can be identified. And should be.
Why would the
And so Sen. McCaskill, in the kind of over-reaction that has become common in American politics, does too much. (See third law of motion, above.)
It seems the general, fully in keeping with her command responsibilities, granted clemency last year to an
Bad as that sounds, a close reading of the testimony in his case reveals that his trial wasn't just another he said, she said affair but more like he (and various other witnesses) said vs. the accuser. Plus another later complainant in a different incident.
Let's just say the evidence is mixed, because a newspaper columnist has no business passing legal judgments without benefit of a judge and jury, or in this case commander and presiding officer. And neither does a U.S. senator.
When this case reached Gen. Helms' desk, as it should have in the chain of command, she overruled the court-martial's verdict in keeping with her authority to review such judgments. And she did so on the ground that the prosecutors had failed to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Appellate courts make such decisions from time to time in a country where we're all to be judged innocent till proven guilty, or at least guilty of some lesser offense. Which is what Capt.
The captain is clearly no gentleman and, justifiably enough, he is no longer an officer, But that doesn't make him guilty of sexual assault whatever judge-and-jury, senator-and-ideologue
The senator said the general's review of this court martial "sent a damaging message to survivors of sexual assault who are seeking justice in the military justice system." Really? Just who is being unjust here, and sending damaging messages to those duty-bound to follow the law, the senator or the general, isn't as clear as Sen. McCaskill would have the rest of us believe.
There was a lot of talk during the last presidential campaign about a War on Women, some of it more heated than illuminating. Are we now going to make up for any mistreatment of women in the military by waging a separate but unequal war on men?
Why not just let the Uniform Code of Military Justice operate as it should, whether the commanding general is male or female? Or would that be unacceptably fair?
Gen. Helms had every right, indeed duty, to rule as she did. Will other commanders do as well if they know that, should they follow their conscience and judgment, some senator is going to punish them for it not on legal but political/ideological grounds?
Over the course of an exemplary career of service to her country, not to mention to science and discovery,
Worse may be yet to come. The
All the talk in
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