• Senator Claire McCaskill says its blaming sexual violence on a "war on men" is ridiculous. (Office of Claire McCaskill)

    Hey, WSJ: There is No War on Men

    Wall Street Journal columnist James Taranto said Claire McCaskill was launching a “war on men” and being “histrionic” about sexual assault in the military. Read the Missouri senator’s response here.

    After Air Force Capt. Matthew Herrera was court-martialed and convicted of the aggravated sexual assault of a female second lieutenant, his conviction was reduced by Lieutenant General Susan Helms to an indecent act. Helms— who did not watch the trial—was reportedly urged by her own legal adviser to reject the request to dismiss the sexual assault verdict. When Helms was tapped this March to be vice commander of the Air Force Space Command, Senator McCaskill put a hold on her nomination, due to ongoing concerns over the Herrera case.

    On June 17, Wall Street Journal columnist James Taranto wrote an essay deeming McCaskill’s hold “an effort to criminalize male sexuality,” calling the senator’s description of the victim as a “survivor” “more than a little histrionic,” and suggesting the “hanky-panky” came about because the assaulted woman “acted recklessly” by drinking and then getting into a car with a man. Efforts by McCaskill and others to address the issue of military sexual assaults, he wrote, amounted to a “war on men.”

  • Capt. Sara Rodriguez of the 101st Airborne Division walks through the woods during the expert field medical badge testing at Fort Campbell, Ky., on May 9, 2012. (Kristin M. Hall/AP)

    G.I. JOBS

    Military Researches Combat Standards

    Could delay ground combat jobs for women.

    Military services, according to reports sent to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, have assigned a research team to evaluate physical and other job standards for women serving in ground combat jobs. But supporters of lifting “ground combat exclusion” say this research may delay the combat jobs for women. The research is designed to outline physical standards for certain fields, such as infantry, and would apply to both men and women. Infantry jobs and other areas that are considered front lines in war still remain closed to women. Military services have until January 1, 2016, to finalize opening all positions to women. If a service wants to close certain fields to females, they would need be OK’d by the Defense secretary.

  • Lee Celano/Getty


    West Point Cadets Secretly Filmed

    Sergeant accused of targeting females in bathroom, showers.

    Here’s another incident to fan the flames of outrage over gender inequality and sexual harassment in the U.S. military: a West Point sergeant allegedly filmed women without their consent. Sgt. First Class Michael McClendon, a staff adviser “responsible for the health, welfare and discipline” of 125 cadets, is accused of taking videos of women in bathrooms and shower areas. Women make up 15 percent of the student body. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who recently announced new outlines for fighting sexual assault in the armed forces, is set to deliver the commencement address at West Point this weekend. What better time to remind graduates about this sort of inappropriate behavior?

  • Scott Olson/ Getty

    Can Laws Stop Military Sexual Abuse?

    Proposals are in the works, but support is fractured.

    There’s broad agreement in Washington that the problem of sexual assault in the military has become a crisis but little consensus about how to handle it. The Pentagon finding that there were an estimated 26,000 sexual assaults in the military last year has spurred several new proposals on Capitol Hill, and yet it’s unclear whether any of them have the necessary support to become law. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) has proposed legislation to give military prosecutors rather than commanders the power to determine which cases to pursue, which she says could alleviate victims’ fears of retaliation. But some former prosecutors in Congress, including Claire McCaskill (D-MO), oppose the idea, saying that military prosecutors lack sufficient institutional authority to be successful. McCaskill, meanwhile, has proposed legislation that would take away a commander’s power to nullify a jury verdict. Other proposals include one from Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) that would result in the automatic dishonorable discharge of convicted sex offenders. With a record seven women on the Senate Armed Services Committee, hope remains that they’ll be able to come together and pass something meaningful.