James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal likes to pretend to be one of the more sane and reasonable conservative voices. This column may well kill any chance he had of doing that. Discussing a general whose promotion is being challenged because she overruled a military jury that convicted an officer of rape, he writes this astonishing paragraph:
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.
Seriously? We have an epidemic of rape in the military and trying to stop it — and stopping superior officers from unilaterally overruling a jury — is a “war on men”? Funny, I don’t feel like anyone is waging war on me. I’m not a rapist. Perhaps Taranto feels like trying to prevent rape is an “effort to criminalize male sexuality” because he thinks rape is somehow intrinsic to male sexuality?
In March, President Obama nominated Gen. Helms to serve as vice commander of the Air Force Space Command. But Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat who sits on the Armed Services Committee, has placed a “permanent hold” on the nomination.
At issue is the general’s decision in February 2012 to grant clemency to an officer under her command. Capt. Matthew Herrera had been convicted by a court-martial of aggravated sexual assault. Ms. McCaskill said earlier this month that the clemency decision “sent a damaging message to survivors of sexual assault who are seeking justice in the military justice system.”
And it does. How could it possibly not?