Astronaut’s Nomination Yanked Over Sex Assault Case

Astronaut’s Nomination Yanked Over Sex Assault Case

The promotion of an astronaut considered a role model for women in the military has been scrapped in a career-ending move over her action in overruling a conviction in a sexual assault case.

Air Force officials would not confirm that President Obama had withdrawn the nomination of Lt. Gen. Susan Helms to be vice commander of the Air Force’ Space Command, but the officials said that “she has put in for retirement.”

The nomination of Helms, who flew on five space shuttle missions and jointly holds the record for the longest space walk, had been put on “permanent hold” by Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., who cited Helms’ action as commander of the 14th Air Force in overturning the sex assault conviction of a captain at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., in February 2012.

In a statement to the Congressional Record in June, McCaskill said that “With her action, Lt. Gen. Helms sent a damaging message to survivors of sexual assault who are seeking justice in the military justice system.”

McCaskill charged that Helms had sent the message to survivors that “they can experience a momentary sense of justice in knowing that they were believed when their attacker is convicted and sentenced, only to have that justice ripped away with the stroke of a pen by an individual who was never in the courtroom for the trial and who never heard the testimony.”

The case in question involved Capt. Matthew Herrera, who was acquitted of assaulting a female technical sergeant but convicted of assaulting a female first lieutenant. There was no physical evidence in either case.

In a statement to the Air Force Times in March, Lt. Col. Kathleen Cook, a spokeswoman for the Space Command, said that Helms had reviewed the Herrera case for five weeks and “concluded that she could not be satisfied (that) the beyond-a-reasonable-doubt burden of proof had been met and therefore declined to approve the conviction.”

Helms’ defenders have also pointed out that she issued non-judicial punishment to Herrera under Article 15 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice that ultimately led to Herrera’s resignation from the Air Force.

The Helms nomination has become a flash point in the ongoing debate in Congress on whether sexual assault cases in the military should be taken out of the chain of command.

A vote could come as early as next week on legislation proposed by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., that would strip commanders of their current authority to refer cases to courts-martial and overrule verdicts. Under Gillibrand’s proposal, the authority would go to independent lawyers from the Judge Advocate General’s corps.

Helms, 55, spent a total of 211 days in space, including five months aboard the International Space Station. While on the Space Stationin 2001, she and astronaut Jim Voss conducted the longest space walk – eight hours and 56 minutes.

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Such a huge loss for the Air Force, the United States and the World. Lt General Helms is a national Hero!

This is a shameful but, sadly, not a surprising conclusion to this travesty of political reversal of justice based on ideology, destroying decent people who don’t submit. I can vouch for the character and sense of justice of Susan Helms based on many years of professional association. Her loss to the cause of the security of the nation diminishes the safety of us all USAF 1970–1978, NASA JSC 1975–1997

In preventing a miscarriage of justice and doing the right thing, the General has drawn the wrath of the PC Crone Caucus in the Senate. Apparently Clair McCaskill thinks it more important to stand behind women who make questionable sexual assault charges, than behind an honorable servicewoman.

We pass out condoms in high schools because kids can’t be responsible for their urges, but those same kids are supposed to be able to treat one another with professional level respect in the high stress environment of combat operations. Yeah, that makes sense. Let’s do more social experimentation with our military. After all, what could possibly go wrong?

She’s probably just as much of a victim as those sexually assaulted — for succumbing to the role of a “Yes Man’, but it is “just” she bears the bunt. Now is the time for change. It was wrong of her to overrule the military court verdict especially since it increases the possibility of more rape in the military. Serial rapists have no one stopping them… Thank you Claire McCaskill.

As the final say in a military judicial proceeding in the capacity of commanding officer (judge) overturning a conviction without reviewing the court record is unconstitutional and against the rules of military judicial proceedings. The purpose of which is to administer justice by considering all the facts and punishing the guilty, or exonerating the innocent. In the absence of proper judicial review neither was done.

>not a surprising conclusion to this travesty of political reversal of justice based on ideology .….

Well said. I was really short of word for describing the ravage being done by those feminist fanatic –equally men and women. That’s literally liberty destroyed by … liberty.

I can’t believe that the heat fell on Gen. Helm.

I might be picky but I am not sure what you are trying to say here. Kids are given condom because those very urges are a matter of physiology, something that cannot be changed. What do you suggest? To stop having sex because of a risk of infection?

As for the “professional respect” it depend what you mean. Are you talking of a sterilized version of respect or some reasonable standard, like being polite? Hypocrisy is everywhere and could create false positive in either condition and I have seen many, many acting of the kind.

I don’t believe it should be considered a social problem. Sure we could create a system where everybody has to live like a monk and be abstinent unless instructed to reproduce. Torturing yourself in such a way is neither a liberation nor liberty, it’s even against our fundamental right. Thus this cannot be considered a social problem, nor an experimentation; hypocrisy is a social problem and I don’t believe that any different social model could solve that, at best it can only be reduced.

And ironically Gen. Helms had enough integrity to drop charges in a case where evidences were too weak and therefore might be fabricated.

She overturned the conviction because there was NO physical evidence of rape. In any court ‚in the US, there has to be at least some sort form of this to warrant a trail. Even more so for a conviction.

What part of “Helms had reviewed the Herrera case for five weeks” did you not understand?

So basically we are telling judges that if they don’t rule the way the “powers that be” want, despite all the evidence, their career will be over. This does not serve the concept of “justice”. Now, every time a defendant goes into Court, they will have to worry about who is figuratively holding a gun to the judge’s head. It won’t matter if the defendant is truly innocent or guilty; the only thing that will matter is who has a political interest in the case.

You don’t get the concept of “justice” Susan. We rule on cases based on the evidence in that particular case, not on what message our verdict may or may not send to a particular group. The only fact relevant in this case is whether or not there was any evidence that this guy raped these women. If there is no evidence, then he shouldn’t have been convicted. Period. Using your logic, any random guy could be pulled off the street and falsely convicted because that would send a message to all the serial rapists. That is not justice.

The point is, military commanders are not judges, but they are given the power to “overturn” a properly decided verdict. If the accused/convicted service member wants to they may appeal, to another court. As to the case at hand, when you say there was no physical evidence, that may be true, but this person was charged in two cases. He was only found guilty in one, but unless you are alledging collusion between his two accusers, tell me what are the odds that two independent service women would accuse the same man.

Are you kidding!!!!! If a court finds the violator gutty, it was by trial, not a one person dictatorship such as we witnessed in the overthrow of the decision by this high handed general… Another good reason none of our courts should allow “only” a judge to have the final word…Too many judges have become dictators in their authority realm.…..ALL appeals should fall within the directory of a committee decision.….

It’s obvious that you’ve never served in the military and do not understand the military justice system. The panel of officers in a court-martial is not a jury and the commander is an integral part of the military justice system. Get educated before throwing words at this case.

Courts are frequently a one-person dictatorship. Would you rather the decision be made by some judge who’s spent his career as a predatory lawyer lying for a living or an individual who’s actually contributed something to society? Three-star generals like Helms get there by making correct choices literally tens of thousands of times. Politicians like McCaskill (who held up Helms’ nomination) get to the Senate by being lying politicians.

You have not idea what you are talking about.

Politically correct Democrats strike again and the DoD gets hit again.

PC DemocRATS going after a Women Officer and by a Women Senator who also does not understand or I bet even read the whole reason for her overturning of the Court Martial The CM was a kangaroo court for those demanding a verdict without really looking at all the “evidence”

The Military since the turn of the 21st Century has gone from a place where justice was done according to the law to a PC court that goes by who is the CIC at the time.

Before your curious understanding of Justice, I cannot but feel the deeper perplexity: so, some of you, American, find proper that a single officer overrules a colective decision of a court! In other words, that one personal view of that officer can prevail over the product of the judicial system…
Such a phenomena could be seen in Germany 70 years ago, under the doctrine of “concrete ordinalism”, which has been rejected by the laws of every civilized countries.
Is still America the flag of rule of law?

No but we are starting to fight back against the ultra liberal forces that create atmosphere of repression. This honorable woman had the fortitude to stand up against verdict that was rendered without any concrete evidence and under the pressure of damaging careers of the panel if the panel acquitted the accused.

In nazi Germany Jews were accused of crimes solely based on their religion. Today in the United States the feminist movement accuses men of violence and sexual abuse many times solely on the word of the accused without any concrete evidence solely on their theory that “men are sexual predators”. Not much difference in the approach except in the punishment faze. Germany attempted to exterminate Jews whereas the feminist brigade here is merely after power, career and livelihood destruction.

Ah — you really think so? Just because she is a 3-star Air Farce general with no combat experience. An astronaut’s experience should not be used to justify promotion to flag level, male or female.

Come on guys. It took, what, about 4 years to finally convict Hasan even though there were how many surviving first-hand witnesses on the day he massacred those people.
Dozens of on-scene witnesses, and four years to get a conviction?

You REALLY think the prosecution of sexual assaults is going to flow more smoothly, and in a timely fashion?

Saying, “we can’t NOT have sex because it’s a biological urge we cannot control” is a cop out.
It’s as bad as people hiding behind genetics as an excuse for their sexual preference.
You have this thing called self control. You, and ultimately you, are the one who chooses what act(s) you commit. Can’t blame it on biological urges and “typical human physiology”.
Teenagers and adults both have self control. They choose when to use it and when to ignore it.
Having served now 22 years in Army service (both enlisted and civilian), and served two deployments since 2002, I can attest that peer pressure and even social cliques are alive and well in the US Armed Forces just as much as they do in high school, despite all the images we try projecting of our servicemembers as being mature, respectable grown ups.
If we all were, we wouldn’t have concerns of sexual assault in the ranks, wouldn’t have issues of fraternization between officers and enlisted, and wouldn’t have issues of ethics and morality because people slip up.
But we do, and every year we keep having more mandatory briefings on this stuff, yet every year this stuff still goes on.

Did you not get the memo? Everything is a national hero/national treasure now.

What drivel!

Right on!

AF Vet,
You ar complaining that the Commanding Officer is NOT a judge. Well sir the Commanding Officer is much better qualified to judge than most jurors in civilian trials and many elected judges who have proven only to be good at judging voters.

General Helms reviewed the case in point from the status of an appellate judge. Appeals courts routinely overrule the judgments of lesser courts. General Helms spent five weeks reviewing this decision before she overturned it. One may assume that during that period she took benefit of advice and consultation from
people of legal status. She is a victim of the arrogant stupidity of the “political correctness” doctrine of the
left. McCaskill is nincompoop. There was enough evidence to substantiate that before Missourians decided to elect her. We have more to fear form the ignorant singlemindedness of young women voters than we do from
any other minority. It is they who ultimately elected the obomination we have as president.

I was a USAF JAG from 68–73, as the Viet Nam war was winding down. As a lawyer, I was always perplexed by the involvement of the convening authority (the highest officer in the particular group/squadron/etc. authorized to bring the formal charges) having any say in the post-court martial proceedings. As the Chief of Military Justice at base level at Elmendorf AFB and then later holding the same position at Alaskan Air Command, it was my job to review every court martial and provide an opinion as to whether the convening authority should approve the conviction. I did my job to the best of my ability, but it always seemed to me that if there was truly an appealable issue in any court martial, the defendant should appeal to the Air Force Board of Review, not attempt to sway an individual (me) to influence the convening authority to reverse the conviction.

I firmly believe that if the criminal courts (civilian or military) are run according to the rules, and a conviction results, any mistakes that are worthy of consequence should be handled through the appeal process. Otherwise, the trial process can be nothing more than a wheel-spinning exercise.

I have no opinion about General Helms’ decision. I don’t know her, and I don’t know the facts. It’s the system that was in place when I was on EAD and which is still in place that needs revising, and the best way, I think, is to take the convening authority out of the loop once the charges have been filed.

Hey TOM,

I served in the USAF for 31 years and fully understand the military justice system.…..It’s BROKEN!!

For the commander to make a unilateral decision about a case, any case, without being present in the courtroom and listening to testimony, is ridiculous. Not to mention that many, if not all, these “Commanders” have no training in jurisprudence.

Just because people believe Helm to be a national hero does not justify her overturning the verdict of the military court. Also, many of these “convening authorities” have little to no experience in law. Walking in space, or fighting a war, or managing contracts, does not a law scholar make you. For them to overturn decisions made in the courtroom is absurd. Such reviews should be relegated to seasoned law professionals, same as in the civilian world.

Get of the emotional train and use logic for a change.…..

I served in the USAF for 31 years and fully understand the military justice system.…..It’s BROKEN!!

For the commander to make a unilateral decision about a case, any case, without being present in the courtroom and listening to testimony, is ridiculous. Not to mention that many, if not all, these “Commanders” have no training in jurisprudence.

Just because people believe Helm to be a national hero does not justify her overturning the verdict of the military court. Also, many of these “convening authorities” have little to no experience in law. Walking in space, or fighting a war, or managing contracts, does not a law scholar make you. For them to overturn decisions made in the courtroom is absurd. Such reviews should be relegated to seasoned law professionals, same as in the civilian world.

People! Get of the emotional train and use logic for a change.…..

jos your analysis is about as misguided as they come. Appellate judges and executives have been overturning juries since the jury system began. That is to prevent the tyranny of jury. General officers who review courts-martial results are generally highly experienced in that manner of review. They also have access to substantial advice and counsel before they make a decision. Your acquainting the overturn of jury decisions as being equal to Nazism is just plain dumb. I believe you will find that there are appellate processes in just about every–if not all–modern countries.

Having lived as long as God has left me here, I am appalled by the number of men wrongfully accused over the years. Therefore, I do not believe a man should ever be convicted of this crime without some proof. He said, she said, is not enough. A man who is accused by many of the crime IS proof. The general was right. The outcome was right — he left the military. I believe McCaskill was doing nothing but calling attention to herself by condemning someone else. Shocker: this writer is a woman.

This is probably a case of overkill. But if all the nonsense going on previously about Air Force brass overturning convictions of their service pals, this is not even an issue. Political correctness run amok. But to all you GIs out there, it may be a good idea to keep your hands to yourself.

A note to my fellow commenters. Please give the democratic liberals are at fault for everything a rest. It is obvious you have nothing to say and you just embarrass yourselves. If you have a cogent comment relating to an article, voice your opinion no matter what it is. People who post drivel really annoy me.

Her loss diminishes nothing. One person doesn’t make a difference in the security of this country. Imagine James, how you’d feel if that 1st Lieutenant had been your daughter. Her disregard for the findings of the jury of Capt. Herrera’s peers, responsible officers themselves, speaks volumes to me about her character. As a 14 year Air Force veteran, I’m happy to hear that they’re finally weeding out those unfit for such great responsibility. As is often the case, (see Lt. Colonel James Wilkerson) the truth comes out later that he was 100% guilty, yet there was no justice for the victim, because of the act of one person, a, as he thought, “smarter” high ranking officer/friend. Hopefully they’ll pass this new law and leave the decision making to the judge and jury.

She is a keeper. Lots of things float in the AF. I’ve worked with a bunch of them at her level. Pure garbage with their hands out. I don’t think Helms is one of them.

In any case, the military historically is not objective in harassment cases. The wagons get circled. Lots of conflicting agendas. Cases should be handled outside the purview of the USAF. JAF, OSI, and et cetera are weak, inept, inexperienced, and do not have justice as the main priority. Been there. Seen it all.

Was/is the General an attorney? Unfortunately this has not been the only case of one individual “commander’ negating the decision of a military court in a sexual assault conviction.

Is there any more ironic incident possible .. having a member of Congress passing judgment on a moral decision by a true hero. Simply pathetic.

I believe the proposal by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., will further politicize the military justice process.
The proposal to strip commanders of their current authority to refer cases to courts-martial and overrule verdicts will not improve the rule of law. As Cary Alburn notes, the process can be improved.
Does this help improve the process or a valid outcome of justice?

By taking away line officers responsibility this kind of critical decision, we will now turn them over to “independent lawyers” from the Judge Advocate General’s corps. My guess these would be more of the same “independent lawyers” that work for Eric Holder and the DOJ.

So many rank and file guys have been screwed by commanders. It’s hard to jerk up a tear for her. She’s a wast as is the whole space command. Rockets what a waste.

You’re absolutely right blight_. Astronauts stopped being heroes a long time ago. The pioneers of space flight deserve that recognition, not todays space taxi drivers/passengers. When, with a huge risk to your life, you volunteer to do something that’s never been done before, and that poses serious dangers both known and unknown, and you willingly accept the risks for the greater good of mankind, you can be called a hero. People who’ve been in combat are heroes, firemen who’ve entered burning buildings to save another life, are heroes, not this woman. There are literally millions of people who’d be willing to do her job nowadays, if only given the chance.

The UCMJ allows the Commanding offiecer to do excactly what Gen. Helms did.__” Courts-martial are conducted under the UCMJ and the Manual for Courts-Martial United States. If the trial results in a conviction, the case is reviewed by the convening authority – the commanding officer who referred the case for trial by court-martial. The convening authority has discretion to mitigate the findings and sentence, set aside convictions, and/or to remand convictions and/or sentences back to a court-martial for re-hearing.“__For Senator McCaskell to drop her nomination for following the rule of law is an abortion to the military process, which was authorized by the United States Congress under the First Ammendment (Effective upon its ratification in 1789, Article I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution provided that Congress has the power to regulate the land and naval forces.[3]).__Your heroism and service will long outlive that of a Political Hack from Missouri, trying to placate the morons in her state that still believe our landing on the moon was a hollywood staged event, and that thier god created the world 6,000 years ago.__General Helms, thank you for your service both through the Unites States Air Force, and through NASA.___

So John, you know so much about the Air Force and the Space Command that you can make such a judgemental comment like that?

You’d probably prefer to live in the MIddle Ages.

95% of your luixuries (HDTV, MICROWAVES, SYNTHETIC PRODUCTS, MEDICAL SERVICES, ER TRAUMA TREATMENT, ETC) were developed bye the predecessor of the Space Command, and the MIlitary.

Good luck with your Credibility.

Ruthie, I agree with you.

This was a political hack job.

Read this:

.__” Courts-martial are conducted under the UCMJ and the Manual for Courts-Martial United States. If the trial results in a conviction, the case is reviewed by the convening authority – the commanding officer who referred the case for trial by court-martial. The convening authority has discretion to mitigate the findings and sentence, set aside convictions, and/or to remand convictions and/or sentences back to a court-martial for re-hearing.“_

I remember when I was 7 years old and I was at the base teen club on an Air Force Base and some 16 year old kid approached me in the bathroom and use some term for oral sex. At this young age I did not know what he was talking about, but I felt some thing was wrong. I ran out of the bathroom and asked some more older people what the term meant, and they laughed. Finally, one of them explained it to me and I told my dad about it. My dad was a sergeant, and the 16 year old kid’s dad was a major. My parents reported it to the Security Police, and some guys in civilian clothes came over to the house and questioned me. They, decided that I had a heck of an imagination? 7 year old kids do not learn gross words like that kid used from their imagination. I had contact with other young kids my age and the guy had been having them perform oral sex on him. With them doing nothing, this guy just made a little game out of it. He also would stalk me whenever he saw me alone. for the rest of my dads assignment. I was afraid to be alone and always had to look over my shoulder. This kid was never prosecuted and I bet he abused many, many, ladies and children over the years. He was not able to lay a had on me cause I ran out of the bathroom. I am glad he didn’t get a chance to because I would have already have hunted him down a long time ago.

I meant lay a (hand) on me.

So much for being innocent until “Proven” guilty. So much for our Constitution and so much for our way of life!!!!! As long as she did the right thing according to the laws, rights, and responsibilities afforded her… shame on our system. Just another bastardization of our Constitution and Laws, imposed by a bunch of dumb asses. How would YOU like it if you committed no crime, there was no evidence, and NO ONE stood up for you and just let you be railroaded??? Thank you Mam for being true to your convictions and upholding “Innocent until proven guilty”. I hope you go into politics and help wipe out these types of injustices!!!

She studied the decision for five weeks.. which to me is longer than the Courts Martial lasted (2–3 days).

She also acted under the First Ammendment of the U.S. Constitution which requires the issuing authority (her) to review the case, and gives her the power to do what she did.

This was a political hack job.

The system isn’t broken, but needs to be updated.

When a person can be convicted without any physical evidence… you’re right.. it’s broken.

General Helms righted a wrong, and got screwed for it.

and the way this website blocked out my B*a*s*t*a*r*d — ization. So much for free speech and opinions!!!

The basis of the UCMJ was written before the Constituion (1775).

I agree that it probably need some updating.

But to screw the General for doing her job, under the power invested in her by the United States Congress, is just plain wrong.

Dear Professor:

1.. there was no physical evidence.

2. that’s the way the UCMJ was written by Congress under the First Ammendment of the Constitution.

3. This was a political hack job.

She should have convened a panel of experts to review the evidence before chopping her neck off like that.
One must ask, Did she have the authority to throw the case out? Air force 1963–1967..

As a Commander in the military legal system the General has the role of review and approval or disapproval: The initial process isn’t over until she says it is over.
Or are you arguing from a distance further away (I suspect your active duty time is zilch, zero, nada) from the proceedings and UCMJ than the General was in diligently performing HER PART in the proceedings and performing her duty? How familiar are you with the case? Are you aware key facts about the complaint were not only NOT corroborated by at least two others (one female) present but were contradictory? ‘Regret’ ain’t you-know-what.
Or are you just driving by to scratch an itch you picked up over at some weak-sister forum?

There are so many murders, child molesters.… who get off on the smallest technicality. Nobody takes that Judge off the bench. So why would this 2 faced pres withdraw Helms nomination. President Hussein is a fake.

Amen, she should not have over turned what was decided in the court room, she was not even present in the court room to hear the evidence. Having authority to overturn a court room verdict is way to much authority for an officer, & it will be abused.

I find it Interesting that many of you (Vets) side aligned with tradition rather than that which seeks the truth. I spent 27 or so years in uniform and when a jury decides a case of an accused whether acquitted or guilty it would seem to me that the only change to that decision should occur as a matter of lack of due process for the defendant or procedural errors which could impact the decision by the jury. While the existence of a law allows the General to exercise over turning a jury’s verdict, again I would think such use would be by extreme exception and accompanied by well justified explanation, in my view neither General Franklin or Helms did justice to either case.

Another flag officer goes down.……this administration has caused many, many a flag officer to retire. Makes one wonder.

I was intrigued by your judgement of the astronault-cum-commanding officer. I certainly agree that she walked “past” the judicial process door with little more than a glance; unwise when the current hot-potato is still exactly THAT. In apology for appearing to endorse her, I would be grateful for someone to discourse on the power of a commander, and that element of responsibility.
I saw her action as on otherwise “in honest belief”… not as she is with prejudice against the judicial system, or in favor of men –v– women “deciding” against women. There is little about the issue that is cut ‘n dried… then ’tis true that the head of command hangs heavy.

Whoa, folks! I may not think this “forum” is superior to the living room at my house; however, there are many who can speak here, with our democracy as umbrella, and not be called “Nazi”. I have had my say elsewhere on this matter and I am PLEASED to tell you all present were vets in a VA hospital waiting room. Some were articulate, some simply passionate about the subject… all were either wounded or non-wounded, but ex-GIs. You would find the end results, if you would have heard those that offered in-put, as I did… willing to compromise as the cover of misunderstanding slipped off their minds. Some kinda morning for me!

I see no one standing up for the reasoning for the revercial. Why did she reverce a court martial verdict? I think due process should be be reverced only through Judicial apeal and jury process, not just one officer male or female.

Her prescident undermined due process by a flip of a pen, not new evidence adjudicated in due process.

Did you notice there was no physical evidence to convict the Captain on either of the charges? Helms did her job. McCaskill will be voted out of office the next time around because she is a worthless Obama Lap dog.

You must have never been in the military, there a lot of things that are unconstitutional there. Justice is not served with General Helms. She has more guts than all the Washington DC crowd including the president , vice president, and all the White house lackys and congress put together. She will be missed among the honorable people in the United States. A president that lies to the American people passing judgement on General Susan Helms, ha!

Yes and the Girlie men rule!

No we are becoming a nation of girlie men!

Yes and I am sending money to the Missouri republican party who oppose McCaskill so she goes into retirement and on Obama care.

A lot of things in the military seems broken by a lot of people who served so we let Obama change everything he thinks is broken right? He never was in the miltary and has no clue how it works. I am tired of Obama and his lies I think he is broken time for him to retire.

None of the judges in a military court are judges or attorneys they are peers of the accused.

The right to appeal and review after trial is a Constitutional right — until amended to say differently. Gen. Helms was required to review the case. Normally only capital cases go to civilian federal courts for review at least not on a timely basis.

Her decision however was POLITICALLY UNWISE even if she as female officer thought it was the right one in terms of justice. If in doubt about GUILT military authorities decline to convict but unlike civilian courts doubt as to innocence is ALSO observed by most Commanders — thus the administrative axe on the subject’s career.

Truthfully Commanders and officers should not be asked to add serving criminal justice to the already dangerous mix of serving politics and military duties. At least most tof the politics stem from the same ultimate source as military orders — but justice should NOT stem from Presidential concerns at any time regardless of political convenience and campaigning.

Yes Commanders and the military need to be stripped of judicial responsiblities in the modern political world. Short comm lines to rear echlons and civilian authorites make this practical and necessary. However the Constitution needs to be modified to include doubts as to innocence or competance or good judgement during performance of for military — where perhaps an actual crime was not committed but national interests are endangered if government service is continued in that position.

However, placing all the review and appeals within JAG clearly creates conflicts of interest as lower courts would be under the authority and pressure from senior JAG officers to create certain outcomes from the start. Perhaps if the JAG was restructured such that various levles of appeals were in separate chains of command. High profile cases would also probably require a sequestering process from contact with their own superiors during the conduct of a given case. Because I can assure you that opinions of VIPs flow downhill from CINC even when not desired by that VIP when someone think they can lubricate a career and sometimes those opinions are just rumors.

The suggestion to move the entire process to the JAG would however remove

You don’t punish someone for following the law. This is the second time a Gentle Lady from the House has interferred in a Courts Martial.
The UCMJ specifies that the only Lawyer requiered to be in the court room is the Government’s Attorney. The Judge or Judges, unless they are on a big base that sees a lot of Courts Marshalls, are usually a Field Grade Officer. Should the accused be a Flag Officer, the panel will be higher ranking Flag Officers. The Jury will be equal to or above the accused’s rank. Yet it is commonly recognized that Courts Marshalls tend to be a “Hanging Jury” Thus the Covening Officer review. As the Officer who brought the charges, yet is expected too be impartial, no one else has the authority to decide if Justice was served. If after a Five Week review General Helms decided
to overturn te Courts Marshall for lack of proper evidence for a conviction, I would dare say that the eidence was not there.
The accused likely did not have a professional Laywer as Defense Council, No one from the JAG Office was alloweded to represent him. Outside counsel is expensive and usually only used in Capital Cases.
His Counsel would likely have been a fellow Officer with little or no Legal experience. So it is not uncommon for the only Laywer in the room, the prosecuter, to run wild and make the case very one sided. After all he has the resources of the whole US Government.
It is for this reason the Convening Review. Obviously, Generall Helms, did not find the accused blameless, She did impose non-judicial punishment that resulted in the accused being seperated from the Service, usually what happens to an Officer brought up on an Article 15 by a General Officer. It simply the fact that her five week review showed the Government did not make it’s case.
Had there been a conviction and the Covening Authority concurred, then It would have been Appealed to the Military Court of Appeals, where I have no doubt, the conviction would have been overturned.
Again, General Helms did her duty under the UCMJ. And she was punished for it. What a shame! Its the same thing as the press screaming for someone’s head, and the accused is not convicted. So the court of public Opinion punishes the accused anyway. Sound like any recent cases you know?

While agree she should have overturned the conviction which is her right under the UCMJ it marks another problem.…sexism. They didn’t do the same to Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin
( http://​www​.airforcetimes​.com/​a​r​t​i​c​l​e​/​2​0​1​3​0​8​3​0​/​NEW… when he overturned a sexual assault case. He and the perpetrator still have careers. But a female does it and she loses her promotion and career.

General Helms,

It is a loss of the USAF and the US for you to leave the military. However, you will be leaving with your integrity in tact. I applaud you for standing for what is right while Washington makes a mockery of all that is good in this country. I wish you all the best in your civilian life.

Wayne Bell
Veteran USAF SSGT.

Wake up America. It is time to replace all of the old folks in DC Fire them all. Clean them out. Get rid of all of them on both sides and lets get a new start. Please do not think party. Think American. If you want to keep a Democrat ok just get a new one. The same for Republicans. Only we can impose term limits.

Regardless of the merits of her decision, Obama’s actions are not meant to improve anything. He is sending a message of intimidation to our officer corps in order that they align themselves with is ideology. What will happen now is that for all in our military, accusation will mean guilt. Period. The intent with this incident, other purges, and the military’s new “diversity” edicts and manuals, is to remold the thinking of those in uniform and condition them to be able to one day turn on American citizens. Those who mock this idea are naive and gullible and reveal their lack of understanding as to what is being done in this country.

I cannot believe the comments posted by some people on here. Some may understand the military justice system some may not. The military justice system as it stands is inherently flawed. And the person who made comment about service women making “questionable” accusations”. I am a survivor of sexual assualt in the military, the system is set up to favor the the accused the accusers get treated like criminals, and in many cases it ends thier carreer while the one who assaulted gets to stay. Perhaps you think that this accuser was questionable, but apparently a jury did not agree, she diecided to overide what little fairness there is in the miltary justice system. She felt that her opionions outweighed a jury of peers. Well guess what, the same thing has been done to her in congress and rightfully so. The fact that the Capt. was given an article 15 and forced to resign is more or less standard practice in many of these cases, but no consolation to victims. While I do beleive that Susan Helms has an honorable record, her judgement here is flawed, and I too woul pull the nomination.

I’m sure the general carefully read the entire transcript of the procedings. Remember, many innocent people have been convicted in their original court trial; only to be hopefully exonerated in the appeals process. Abuses in the legal system happen often, probably moe often in the civilian crimial process than in the military one. I would imagine a female general would be highly cognizant of all the facts here. It’s you and me that don’t know the whole story.

I doubt you have ever served in the Air Force–I have and know the system very well. Unfortunately, you don’t know what you are talking about. The General saw all of the evidence in written form– you didn’t!!

If you served as long as you say, you’d know that the 14th Air Force has a staff of high powered JAGs, who provide legal expertise to assist the commander in the performance of duties as “convening authority”. You know very few of the facts, so how can you think you are qualified to make definitive comments on this case. That “unilateral” decision is exactly what is required of the Commander, 14th Air Force. The JAG staff gives the commander the legal advice he/she needs to make a competent decision. Your use of “logic” isn’t evident in your post.

What does having served in the Air Force have to do with this? Oh, yes, I did serve in the Air Force! And many guilty people have been declared innocent who were guilty because of abuse of authority by an officer who should have let the court decision stand. This is a very good example. I will be happy when they take such authority out of the hands of officers.

Not all rapes have physical evidence, or are airtight cases.

There’s a tight precipice to walk in these cases: do you rule in favor of acquittal of potential rapist? Or do you potentially send an innocent person to prison? Neither are “good” options, and obviously you don’t know which one you get when you rule on a case bereft of physical evidence.

In the civilian world, I would strongly believe in the latter. I suspect some would be happier to put more people away, even if a few innocents are imprisoned. I would feel more comfortable if the authority to throw out a case like this did not rest within the chain of command, where it creates conflicts of interest: does commander A like the plantiff or the defendant more? Who knows? Better collection of evidence would help immensely, as it does in the civilian world.

It was all politics that propelled her career and got her to the rank she has. Fitting it be politics that ends it.

I am working on putting together the specifics. At the moment:

Well said! Gen. Helms acted within her authority and I am sure she agonized over her decision. Yet she made a call that she believed was correct, knowing almost certainly that she would be criticized for it. The net result is a loss of an outstanding officer demonstrating her integrity and is just the sort of role model the Air Force, and indeed all services, need.

A trial is about justice, not revenge. Having been the president of a court in a sexual assault case, I can truthfully say there is a great deal of separation between supposition, innuendo, and PROOF. Proof consists of witnesses and physical evidence. The burden of proof rests with the trial attorney(s), but the pressure on members of the court to come back with a guilty verdict in these cases is great because it’s a supercharged political issue. In your scenario with your criteria, two women can get together and decide to bring down their boss… Who’s to stop them? The reviewing general, that’s who — And, BTW, in this case, that general was a woman.

While I agree with you comments about the role of the convening authority in courts-martial. None of the current armed services would have a courts-martial of anyone, much less a lieutenant, without a qualified military attorney representing them. Certainly in the Air Force, where I tried courts, all accused were represented by counsel.

My husband has worked both defense and prosecution in the military justice system and abuses are very abundant. If you are even accused in the AF of a sexual crime no trial is needed now, they just start the 15 process. It’s sad that the search for real sexual assault cases have come down to a witch hunt in which the accuser need only file a complaint for a person to be guilty. I can not say if this man was guilty as I didn’t review the evidence, but Lt. Gen. Susan Helms did for 5 weeks. If there is no physical evidence it should not be such a hard decision. The problem is that the jury and commanders are so afraid of allowing anyone to be not guilty that everyone accused is always going to be guilty now. These actions by the President of removing the nomination should be considered as command influence and jury tampering. Would you let an innocent man go knowing that if you didn’t convict him despite not have any evidence you were ending your career?

A courts martial is very very different from a civilian criminal trial. Commander review is an important safeguard for both the government and the defendants.

A lot of military sex offenders are getting off scot free because President Obama basically ordered the military to find anyone accused of a sex offense to be found guilty. This is called ‘improper command influence’ and is solid grounds for throwing out criminal charges against military members.

So if you want to fire someone for letting sex offenders off, fire President Obama.

Commanding officers do NOT enjoy the status of appellate judges, where did you come up with that bit of misinformation?

If you don’t want commanders to have that authority then take it away. But for civilian outsiders to question a decision and pull a promotion previously awarded based on many years of devoted and superior service because the decision made legally and within the scope of that commander’s duties, without any proof that they made their decision improperly or outside the letter of the law or procedure as it currently exists and based primarily on the fact it doesn’t send the “politically correct” message that politicians want is wrong, unjust, unwise, tainted, and amounts to erroneous meddeling by civilians, and illegal interference in the justice system. The man was given an article 15 and removed from the military. A jail sentence with no physical evidence and contradictory testimony would have been harsh and unjust. Obama and democrats are destroying our military and our country. We will swallow a very bitter pill in the years ahead because of their actions

Physical evidence is not a requirement for conviction, simply a beyond reasonable doubt will do just fine. In this case the court had no doubt and the commanding officer did. Who is better able to judge the case, the court or the commanding O? If H thought he was getting a bum deal he could appeal.

The CO did not need to hijack and interrupt the legal process but she did and now she’s paid for it.

Move on and stop ranting about liberals, where’s the injustice, the fact that an officer got convicted of rape or that an officer was raped, and now you’re trying to justify it? The latter is the true injustice.

Yes she did have the authority to modify the decision. That is why she did nothing illegal. This is a matter of liberals not liking her decision because it sent the in their eyes the wrong, not politically correct and biased message that they wanted and nothing more

Moral decision? He was convicted but a court of his peers. What about that do you find immoral?

Yes that is correct but also CO regularly have been setting aside verdicts for favors past and present and future. It’s the way it is, always has been. If you think CO always do the right thing then think again.

I don’t think there is any integrity in releasing a convicted rapist. I wonder what she told the female Lt, about her decision if anything.

What possible motivation could she have had to make this decision, knowing full well that she would be subject to severe criticism for it? If she had acted solely on her own self-interest she could have simply rubber stamped the court martial’s conviction. But instead she chose to act as her conscience dictated. If that’s not a “Profile in Courage” I don’t know what is. Don’t you want women in command positions who act based on their conviction, and not their self-interest?

F. Lee Bailey once commented that the Military Justice system was one of the fairest he had come across. There are reviews and oversite, such as General Helms used. I don’t see the need to change that. However, there are some unscrupulous types that ave some sort of power over the investigative agencies that often block proper investigations of perpetrators. I am aware of one such person at a Florida Air Force Base that was allowed to molest children at the Youth Center. The local county had an entire file cabinet on the person, but the base kept protecting him. Military members, whose children were acousted, were told to remain quiet or received short-notice moves. The commanders that allow this need to lose their military careers, not a commander that exercised due diligence and followed the rules.

They let me only “like” this once, but you should get more!

Gen Helms chose to retire after her nomination for higher office stalled. Lt Gen Franklin likely will retire after his stint as the NAF/CC is over. Lt Col Wilkerson was demoted and forced to retire. Please get your facts straight.

Well Leroy… If you were an Officer which I highly doubt; I would definitely want any command authority taken away from you. You are the swine and disgrace to oh… Mankind.

The result of this will be to increase the number of support personnel at the expense of needed combat crew members. Unless that is they finally make the lawyers have to be combat qualified. What has occurred is indeed the effects of the thinking of our political leaders. Why does McCatKill see the same kind of reasoning when voting for some of the S—T she doesn’t read and furthermore doesn’t understand.

Just like there are inherent powers of the executive…there are inherent powers of the jury. The military way is unconstitutional and anathema to the Republic.

Looks like Obama has just fired another High Ranking Military Officer. It has been said, lately, that Obama is setting himself up a group of Commanding Officers that absolutely will not talk back to him and will obey his every Command. This Female, Senator McCaskill, is said to be one of the Democrats biggest and fastest Obama butt kissers in his Senate..

Did you read the trial transcripts? I did. She made the right call.

What a travesty! The general attempted to review the case and provide a fair assessment based on facts and testimony and was punished for doing so. Justice is blind, and the current government all about political motivated actions.

Interesting… A General does what she is supposed to do and makes a decision and all hell breaks loose. I’ve seen both the good and bad concerning Military Justice. Some things I would like to see changed, but moving it out of the military hands into a civilian court is not one of them. I won’t even address all the problems there. Those that have served know. I am fairly certain the General consulted legal before she finally made her decision and it was most likely the right thing to do. Oh, well.…another blow to the military. On another note” Isn’t it strange how so many high ranking officers are disappearing these days for the oddest of reasons.

As i recall, Lt Gen Helms would have approved the decision to proceed with the Court. In other words, she felt the case needed to be heard before a trier of fact. When the prosecution was unable to present any evidence that the crime was committed, the Court should have done its job and found for the accused to be innocent. The fact that they didn’t is a problem to me.

There are a lot of folks commenting here who don’t know the military justice system. The fact that Lt General Helms wasn’t in the court room is perfectly proper … even required,. If she had attended the trial, she could have been charged with committing an undue influence on the Court.

Democrat Woman Senator from NY put the squeeze — as pwer Obama BS — more of the same. We need to clean house and get rid of the Obama cancer in our government and Washington.

Cary, I believe you’re correct on most of what you stated. The military justice does need to be changed some, but I firmly believe it should stay within the hands of the military and not be put into the hands of a civilian court. One of the things the military system needs to change is conviction criteria. Normal the jury is composed of military officers and I’ve seen convictions on very little evidence. Also, it’s not an equal playing field for an enlisted individual. For example. An officer said an enlisted person said or did something. The enlisted person states they didn’t. In the court, the officer’s word is going to have more weight and most like there will be a conviction of the enlisted person and would be reverse if an officer is on trial. The officer would walk. Justice needs to be blind to rank.

You have no concept of the military let alone a military courts martial. Spend four years in service then maybe you might have a valuable opinion.

Susan Helms finally got her day…karma rules! I for one am glad to see her stopped in her self serving tracts.

JoJo. Do you have a link? If so could you provide it, so a lot of others including myself could read. Would quite some who would question her decision.


Godwin’s Law applies here. Accusing people of being Nazi destroys your whole argument. You are done.

YGBSM!!! Congress, you can’t seem to do YOUR job, so you must content yourself doing others’ … and not well at that!!!!

So why bother even having a jury then? If you can just automatically reverse the verdict without appellate process. I am not saying this man was or was not guilty, but where there is smoke there is usually fire. What are the chances of being accused by 2 separate victims.? You say Gen. Helms reviewed the evidence for 5 weeks, what about the jury’s review of the evidence, and actually being there for the testimony, I guess that counts for nothing. I agree there are some abusees, but I agree that investigation and prosecution needs to be taken out of the chain of command. As a survivor of abuse in the Air Force, I can say that whole heartedly. It is of no consolation to me that abusers, rapists and the like rarely get punished . Just because they sometimes get removed from active duty means nothing. A 15 means nothing in the civilian world, it is simply a slap on the wrist, that person has no criminal record, nothing to warn others, maybe you would take exception, if the person who was assaulted was your mother, sister, daughter.

I served as an enlisted man in the AF after the service I became a lawyer in civilian life I am a liberal but I think a great disservice was done to the general. Firstly careful reading of the story wqould give one clues . He was accused of rape/sexual misconduct by two women ‚an enlisted woman a sargent and a female officer. The jury found him NG of the charges brought by the enlisted woman and guilty with respect to the officer . What is the significance, well military courts have juries of their peers so an officer would have a jury of fellow officers;they said there was scant or no physical evidence in either case but those officers found him guilty of the charges aganst the officer.

The ignorance of those passing judgement on the UCMJ is appalling; if you don’t know what you are talking about your opinion is worthless! The appellate authority for the UCMJ has access to ALL evidence, witness statements, and testimonials — NOT just what was put out in the court room. The appellate authority has the ability to judge the content of the case without the bias of attorney or court room “spin”. Most of you folks don’t know what the heck you are talking about! Did you know that the conviction rate for a UCMJ Court is 10–12% higher than that of the Civilian Court system? General Helms was in the FIRST graduating class of females from the United States Air Force Academy and has always been out front in promoting the rights for females. Ask yourself this… What would have been the easier thing to do given the facts we know about this case? It absolutely would have been to let the Captain take the conviction, no one would have thought ANYTHING about it! She did the RIGHT THING and now look what it is getting this American Hero. General Helms reviewed the facts of the case in an unbiased setting and did what she was LEGALLY authorized to do in offering non-judicial punishment in the form of a career killing Article 15, hardly a slap on the wrist and a free-pass for sexual assault. If there is anyone in our military that we need to keep around, especially during this time of sexual misconduct, it is the likes of General Helms.

I agree but you probably have not served or have forgotten that in military it is a jury of the accused peers ‚in this case officers So they believed the female officer or felt obligated to believe her but not the sergeant. That is probably part of the General’s reasoning . I do agree that maybe the commander should not have the power to set it aside

Unfortunately Jim, this practice was going on long before Obama was POTUS.

MAM, an article 15 is nothing more than a slap on the wrist, and it is a free pass to go out and assualt again. An article 15 does not give the offender a criminal record, he or she remains on the streets free to offend again. More over the fact that it is only a slap on the wrist, it is a slap in the face to victims.

One must separate the issue from emotion. The issue is simple; a constitutional right to trial by jury. A Commander can be a member, or preside over over a courts-martial panel. But there is no justice, when a panel of qualified military individuals, can be overrode by the opinion of the Commander. The only consideration of necessity at that point is whether the trial was conducted properly. I say this, for those critics who question anything other than their own biased opinion, whether based on a totally separate issue (the fitness and quality of the individual at hand), or against their “military mentality”. I also say this as a retired Air Force officer who served as a Commander on three occasions during my career, so I am more than familiar with the military judicial system).

Leo… The same thing I was thinking. Off topic I know, but I believe this is a bigger issue that just one general. As you stated, a lot officers have been ousted and more good officers will follow I am sure. Take away any leadership in the military that would follow the basic rule the military is sworn to follow… Support and defend the constitution against all enemies foreign and “domestic”. I can imagine the domestic threat of the future, but will the leaders he appoints see the same threat? Not likely. Here comes Socialism or should I say Obamaism in full swing. He’s following the Marxism play book to the T.

I retired from the military 37 years ago and then went to work for the Dept. Of Agriculture Forest Service as a Wild Land Fire Fighter. There are a very high percentage of females who also work in that profession. There were females back then who I would NEVER work or even be near alone during duty hours. After the fire was out and we all sat around drinking a beer I would hear females say to the mixed group, if I ever have anyone give me any sh– about how to perform any task related to my job all I have to do is wait till they are near me with no witness present and I will ruin their career in a heart beat. Just say they made a unwanted sexual advance at me. I know, I’ve done it. They are few and far between but never the less they are there. And the ones I’m speaking of know how to work the system.

But there was no RAPE and there was NO PHYSICAL evidence. Caution to the wind; if someane yells “sexual assault” all the villagers come running. Then it turns out to be a false alarm. In any case how can you question a WOMAN, THREE STAR and NATIONAL ICON who mulled over the verdict for five weeks before decided! Get off your feminist horse—please!


Thank you very much. As a Commander on three occasions during my career, I can appreciate everything you’ve eloquently spoken on this issue and feel you have hit the nail on the head, the system is broken and needs revision. Removing the convening authority immediately upon the charges filed is exactly what is needed. The appeal process in in place and is more than adequate to address judicious propriety.

Weak argument. One charge did not stand and in neither was physical evidence or rape (probably no witnesses)! So how can you say she made the wrong decision. She is a woman and you are second guessing her! She dealt with the situation and it cost someone their career. Now it looks like it cost hers too because someone in Congress didn’t like it!

Wrongo Josey! A court will decide on evidence that was ALLOWED and INTRODUCED in court. Court is not interested in the TRUTH but simply what you CAN and CANNOT PROVE. And stop comparing us with Germany—that is idiotic!

As an attorney you know that Court system is not about JUSTICE it is about WHAT YOU CAN PROVE or DISPROVE and what is ALLOWED to be introduced by a JUDGE. I’m thinking the General had more information that the jury knew and she talked with others that where not interviewed or used as witnesses. I believe she was able to make a better call than the jury could of. See the: OJ Simpson case for example.

Sad that women fault other women of not being “sensitive” or “feminist” enough. My God give her some credit. She is a WOMAN, A GENERAL OFFICER and a NATIONAL ICON. She conducted prehaps a better investigation than OSI ever did and made the decision she was authorized to make. Someone up the food chain—probably a democrat—didn’t like it so her career is OVER! What a joke!

I am one of those “independent lawyers” you derisively referred to…we give the commanders the advice they rely upon in making their decisions — they very rarely do not follow our advice…those who do not do so at great peril and risk. The reason why commanders follow our advice is because they know we don’t tell them what they want to hear…we tell them what is the right course of action. I will add that military lawyers have no love for Eric Holder and the DOJ, or for any of the civilian lawyers in the GC chain — we respect the law, not the politics!!

Senator McCaskell and Senator Gillibrand are just Political Hacks stuck in Senator Schumers back pocket. And Schumer is another ‘shill’ in the Obama Chicago politics.. General Helms acted correctly.

Amen, Wayne, pore it on !!!!! Couldn’t have been said better.

Gillibrand and McCaskill are a disgrace to Congress — all they care about are the politics behind their rantings and ravings…AF commanders rely upon the advice of their staff judge advocates to make their decisions. These staff judge advocates are well-trained and very educated attorneys, and I am one of them…for anyone of you out there making claims to the contrary, please get educated on the facts of what you claim before ranting and raving so…

Whole heartedly agree.…a General thinking they know better than the jury who was entrusted to hear the case and pass judgement is ridiculous.…another example of Air Force Leadership not trusting their people.

The military has different rules and regulations than the civilian world. Some may be good and others may not be but this officer was doing what the regulations, or should I say code (which is a law), call for. There was nothing inappropriate in what she did. If we are not required to follow that part of it, then we can ignore any and all of it. If it needs to be changed, then change it but don’t punish someone because they are using the current law. We have become a country without common sense. I don’t know if the individual who was convicted is guilty or not…that isn’t the question. The real question is whether Gen Helms exceeded her authority. She did not. Should she have set aside the conviction. I don’t know because I haven’t read the transcript and I doubt anyone here has either. So easy to screw with someones career in the military. Such a shame the same rules don’t apply to our leaders in Washington DC. How many of them would be looking for a job today or be in prison.

Yeah riiiiight. Because combat experience is soooo helpful leading Space Command.
Command and Stars are for leaders with consequential knowledge and abilities in needed areas of expertise. If you don’t think much of and astronaut making stars, don’t search up Jasper Welch or Glenn A. Kent. For God’s sake don’t look up Lt Gen William S. Knudsen.
Also suggest you read up on B.H. Liddell Hart and what he has to say about the relative values of direct and indirect experience.

Well, I have no beer belly, I do not drink beer, & I’m not over weigh. I weight about 164 & stand about 5′ 10 &1/2″ & would still physically qualify for the Air Force at the age of 67. And its quite oblivious that you’ve never been an officer, just a person that thinks highly of them self loving to put down others. Yes, your one that such authority would go strait to your head just as it did that officer who overruled the court. So sad, yes, very sad. Yet there’s still hope for you!

Sen. McCaskill is an idiot as is the author of this article…the general is the court-martial authority who convened the court.…she ruled as her authority allows. This is another hunt to weed out those senior military leaders who disagree with democrats who want to transform the United States military into a social service. As the democrats continue down this path, there will be serious consequences resulting from their misguided senses. God help us.

Psssst. They don’t give out Article 15s for sex offenders. That’s your first clue.

Two telling what this man did to them is evidence. The word of two is better than the word of one. You must be a poor lawyer, I would hate to have you defending me.

Let’s see. Military law gives the Commander authority to overturn a conviction. But, when they do, they are fired. Makes sense. I pity the next poor guy, or woman, who, in the Commander’s opinion was wrongly convicted. The Commander may say: Hmmm. Do I want to get fired or serve justice??

Lt. General Susan Holms should be stripped to 01 and the dishonorably discharge from the Sevice. She over ruled a jury who were charged with making a guilty or not guilty decision, not her. She violated the defendants constitutional rights. By previously issuing NJP to the defendant, she showed bias. Another violation of her position. It seem like her time on her space walk made her brain to stop functioning. There is no place for her in our military any more. Furthermore, it wouldn’t surprise me if she hadn’t been involved with the perp and put herself into a black mail situation. Why else would a woman, knowing the problems with sexual abuse in the military, stop justice in a case she had nothing to do with. I’d bet she had sexual relations with him too. Oh, did I let the cat out of the bag! Shame on me. CHECK IT OUT, THE FIRE THE CROOKED BITCH.

As a retired First Sgt. and Chief, I can tell you, Commanders must have authority to refer charges, that is part and parcel of command, control and leadership. Disipline is the backbone of any military organization. Review of court actions though would be a duty I think most commanders would be willing to give up, as long as review was in the hands of non-civilian lawyers reporting directly to the JAG in D.C. It is important that these people themselves be under the MCM/UCMJ as the President himself is the final authority for the military. In other words, a clear chain of command is essential.

Wow, you have some loose screws…please read on the actual facts of the case (like issuing NJP after, not before she set aside the verdict and believing she violated the accused’s constitutional rights by reversing his conviction) before you go off on a factually baseless tirade! Seriously — do you really think she was involved with the accused? Ridiculous!!

You are still begging the question, presuming sexual assault where the General found none, and using an appeal to emotion to cover it up. I also find your phrasing curious, which makes me suspect there is another side of your story, if true (no, I don’t want to know, I’m just saying) .
I have a story or two as well. Here’s one. It was 1984 and I was in the AFSC NCO Academy. We had the JAG drop by for a lecture on sexual harassment et al. (This was a brave new world of PC crap back then). The JAG ran down a list of hypothetical situations and some of them were startling, as in “depending upon how the other person felt about something you said or did that could be considered sexual harassment or worse” startling. I asked a question as to how that squared with the legal notion of ‘intent’ and gave an example. The shiny faced JAG-man assured me that that my hypothetical would never be seen as a crime. Within 5 minutes he was describing instances where situations materially the same as my hypothetical case WERE prosecuted. He got called out on it — and not just by me. I think he was not prepared for interacting with direct-question asking NCOs.

If innocent, what was the basis for NJP via Article 15?

Well, aside from the article stating “There was no physical evidence…” I don’t know what transpired in either case, in or out of the court room. Maybe officers should leave it to those who know best, a judge and jury in this case, instead of believing that they somehow know better.

I think we are missing the point. In a civil court a convicted person has the right to appeal. In the military, the UCMJ requires the conviction to be automatically appealed to the convening authority. In this case that was the unfortunate responsibility of Lt Gen Susan Helms who was promoted to that position based on integrity & good judgment in other decisions over 30 years service. She was forced to say yes or no. She saw no physical evidence of rape, only an accusation, so she said no. She had the integrity to do her job, knowing it would end her career. If the conviction had stood, any military female receiving a bad OER or Art 15 could retaliate against her boss simply by an unsupported accusation of rape. They should promote Helms.

Ref. to comments on;. “she should have had a panel of experts—” etc. Every reviewing authority I worked for as a First Sgt and Chief, had such cases reviewed by legal staff before making a decision, legal staff, read that JAG. And, yes, She had not only the authority to make Her decision but also the responsibility. Read the book, (Manual for Courts Martial/Uniform Code of Military Justice. This book is both military specific laws and trial procedures authorized by Congress approved under the authority of the President). I give Her credit for making a decision, probably aware of the P.C. back-lash She could face. I myself if knowing I was guilty as charged, would rather be tried by a military panel than a civilian court. The MCM provides more protections for an accused than civil courts proceedings. Even limits on punishment are in “the book”. By the way, how many of you PC experts have read the trial transcript??

Susan, you don’t know s**t about the military, so you are not entitled to an opinion. Gen. Helms did the right thing and Sen. McCaskill, whose achievements are miniscule compared to the general’s, should be ashamed of herself.

Court martial charges include “all lesser offences” such as conduct unbecoming, or simple assult etc. each which must be proven “beyond a reasonable doubt”. The trial record may have been weak on the main charge but the other charges may have been sufficient for NJP. The proofs for these charges may not have risen to the level necessary for a court conviction but been sufficient for administrative action by the commandeer, thus NJP.

The reason Lt. Gen. Susan Helms bears the burden of approving the conviction is because she, as the convening authority, not only made the decision to charge the captain but also hand picked the jury. She alone was in the best position to decide whether the result was just.

Two major issues to the current military justice system, esp. as it concerns sexual crimes, are the fact that these crimes look bad to anyone in the offender’s chain of command. Secondly, they do what Helms did, they look at the paper.
The problem with the paper: It may say this Capt. is an upstanding guy. He may even appear to be an upstanding guy to his friends and colleagues, but when no one is looking, he’s committing heinous crimes. So, someone like Helms, who knows only what papers are saying, is wondering if she should hurt not only her career but also this Capt.‘s because of what these lower ranking individuals are accusing the Capt. of.
No, it is not okay to say she is and was not in the wrong. Being an astronaut or a high ranking official or both does not make someone a hero. It does NOT make them necessary to the system. The military will be a better place without someone who, through their actions, is saying “It’s okay to commit sexual crimes against your fellow man and woman.” Thank you to those individuals who actually understand the issue and are trying to curb the problem.

It was her duty to overturn that decision because she didn’t believe the prosecution had proven its case. That’s why they have reviewing officers. That’;s why cases get reversed civilian appellate courts.

Screw McCaskill and Obama.

Are you serious!?! EVERY MILITARY JUDGE IS AN ATTORNEY WITH YEARS OF CRIMINAL LAW AND MILITARY JUSTICE EXPERIENCE!!!!!!!!!! Go to a forum where stupid off the cuff opinions like yours will escape scrutiny…otherwise keep your stupid trap shut!!!

I second that

There they go again…a judge must submit to political party’s ideology!!? That’s sick! If she retires, she join the ranks of the many great leaders that decided to retire rather than submit to corrupt idiots, like it happened with Clinton when he won the election and GREAT GENERALS & ADMIRALS retired before his oath to become President! He was a great role model for all military, right?! Unfortunaly, a judge has to follow the law as written…is there was not sufficient evidence, no judge, regretably, convicts any one…didn’t we see enough cases,even in civilian courts, that ende up that way???!

“The case in question involved Capt. Matthew Herrera, who was acquitted of assaulting a female technical sergeant but convicted of assaulting a female first lieutenant.”

Yes… because, we all know an enlisted person’s word has no value when it comes to officers.

TSgt, Ret.

So, it’s ok for Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo, to say the General was wrong in what she did? How long did she review the assault cases before she made up her mind, 5 min? No, she probably didn’t look at them at all. Hypocrisy Senator??? Maybe she needs to retire. Politicians are this country’s undoing. They are doing their best to destroy this country.

The senator argument is not based on facts stated in this article. It is stated the accused conviction was pending the approval by the general. Therefore he was neither convicted not sentenced. Therefore the senators @argument against General Helm is incorrectly based on an assumption about the accused conviction and not on fact. These are the kind of thinkers we want making our laws? Where are the Generals supporters of truth?

Why don;t we just scrap the courts martial system and turn over the militlary justice system the general officers . . after all, their the only ones who a capable of making decisions . . in 25 years of active service, have seen my share, as have most of you, the self serving decision a lot of general officers make . . they did get there by being “No” men, and now women …this particular general officer is a joke and not very credible …even if she a former astronaut and space endurance record holder .… . the military has a big problem with sexual assults and this si the way our general officer choose to deal with the problem .…

General Helms has lost her job. However I, for one, will do everything I can to ensure Senator Claire McCaskill loses HER job in 2018.

What Obama and his supporters are doing is decimating the military of those who have good moral values and if they don’t agree with him, they are out. Beware people the worst is yet to com. So far 200 high ranking commanders have been relieved of their posts for a variety of reasons and none of them have been proven guilty of any wrong doing just trumped up charges

Such a loss to the Air Force.

your an idoit!!! REALLY!!!I bet you never serve your country or even understand the Military law system…educate yourself before you blast a great Military WOMEN leader at that..that will be lost…

I understand what you meant, but where I’m confused is, this is problem in every facet of life not just the military. My question is what do propose we do about it. We as human are wired to have sexual urges and in every element of society there are those who cannot control those urges and do things to others against their will, and those individuals whom are violated deserve justice. The military isn’t the only high stress enviroment.

It’s two cases of circumstantial evidence; which is certainly better than one case of circumstantial evidence.

So civilians have a better grasp of the military law and chain of command…You should be ashame of the position that these officers have to be in because of theses events…no middle ground at all…the military needs to keep changes some things, the review possess maybe…but it still needs to be in the MILITARY..

I was under the impression that those were two separate incidents, handled as two separate cases. Officer found not-guilty in the case of the enlistedwoman, found guilty in the case of the officer; and case thrown out in the case of the second.


Why the hell would anyone listen to one politician’s opinion on a matter like this? Was she there?

Hmmm…do you truly believe a numbered AF commander would overturn a verdict without reviewing court records?!?

Why does everyone keep saying she is a woman, what does that have to do with anything. That’s a problem right there. Because she’s a woman is she supposed to think a certain way or she’s better at judging these matters. It has absolutely nothing to do with anything that she is a woman. You just discredited everything you said prior to that comment and it didn’t sound half bad till then.

Well spoken. Michael mentioned his “fundamental right” to have sex. I always wonder who issues that right? The Book I get my “Fundamental Rights” does not have that “right.” Instead there is the one man and one woman right. Oh yeh„ it does mention “marriage” which is something that is not remembered also. People consider marriage a fundamental right to do or not to do and still reap the benefits. If we do not straighten it out, perhaps it is time to apologize to Sodom & Gomorrah.

If you cannot clearly state your arguement without stooping to name calling, no one is going to take you seriously. State your point, base it off of clear facts, and maybe someone will agree with you. Calling people names based on your opinion as a basis of why you are right is meaningless. Why is McCaskill a nincompoop. It would of been more helpful to state facts that would sway those to believe she is not worthy of her position, and the same for our President. Give me facts. The funny thing is you’ll try, I’ll fact check you, and maybe you’ll get 1–2 facts correct out of the countless you’ll propose, and at the end of the day, McCaskill and our President are entitled to get 1–2 things wrong out of the 1000’s of things they handle daily. Moreso at the time they made a decision with the facts they were given even you probably would of made the same decision as they did, Nevertheless since you failed to state facts, your whole comment was pointless, and purely opinionated assumptions.

Continued: Not on here to come after you, but I love this Nation of ours, and sometimes we need to step outside ourselves leave are opinions at the door and do some hard hitting homework, in the books about things we hear and believe as facts. Unless you can tell me you really looked into the Presidents actions or McCaskill or anyone for that matter, you should think twice before you call them out their name.

He was proven guilty in the opinion of three senior officers. Also, it is obvious from her picture that sexual assault is something the General has never had to worry about so she could not really relate to the victim in this case. She probably believes the victim should be grateful for the assault.

Agree or disagree with the final ruling, that is our process in the military. If congress doesn’t like it, change the process, not condemn the action of an otherwise honorable and highly revered Air Force senior officer and national hero. Uneffn real!

No physical proof…i.e. DNA sperm, hair follicle. Your point, while containing some merit and some sexism, is not sound. So no man can be convicted with out physical proof. Some rapist use condoms, force the women to take a shower. Some victims are not educated in CSI and the first thing they want to do is take a shower, wouldn’t you if you weren’t in your right mind after something like that? Not saying it happen or it didn’t but you can still convict without physical proof, or witnesses. Also your comment about: Shocke this writer is a woman, is a sexist remark even if you meant it in a positive way. Its a shot at the fact that she is a woman that makes some kind of a difference. Mindsets like that are the problem. You can’t argue a sexist view point (no man). and take a stab at the gender of the writer and expect to be taken seriously.

I’m not quite sure why everyone assumes to be experts on the matter without a detailed review of the facts. Being Active Duty AF myself currently, fighting to protect and defend the US this is shocking. I will not decide either way who is right or who is wrong without a complete review of the facts. I will however not stoop to calling appointed officials out their name PERIOD! Those having served should no better as well. The General earned her stars and I’m sure she has fully reviewed her options with the matter brought before her, if she was correct or incorrect in overturning the verdict, and has decided to the best thing for herself and her family in regards to the matter, and having served as long as she has, she herself would not support the name calling of any Commander and Chief, though she may disagree with the POTUS on this matter.

I love how so many people come to the defense of her seeing as how she overturned a conviction from a court of peers.. this wasn’t some crony government system that decided the offender was guilty, it was other military members just like us. I find it disgusting that some of you can pretend that it was within her right to try and protect some capt’s career by overturning that conviction… being a victim advocate myself I see this kind of BS happen all the time and when I see things like this happen I can only laugh because it is about time leadership are being held accountable for sweeping sexual assault under the rug…

Opinions, Opinions, all I’m reading is opinions, does anyone have facts that can be verified on the matter? You can say what you want but we are completely blind on this matter, and acting like you know if it was a correct decision based on opinions or a loosely reported news article isn’t going to cut it. I would hope most of America isn’t that easily fooled. Who knows maybe she got it right. Maybe she got it wrong. Have any of your reviewed the court documents, are any of you trained in judicial matters? So how do you know she got it right because she’s a good General. For those that think she got it wrong, how do you know? That’s the point we don’t know. Hit me with facts. Until then cut the name calling, reel it in and realize all your doing is spreading rumors. Rumors can be damaging think about it. AD and Prior military, you should fully understand Rumor control, and your should not contribute baseless information to the masses.

I can personally speak to the integrity of both flag officers and have had extensive experience as a court martial convening authority. The fact of the matter is both leaders followed their consciences with the full knowledge of the ramifications. That POTUS and Sen McCaskill got this wrong and (very predictably) short-circuited someone’s career in the process IS the problem. One question to ponder…did either of these politicians read the cases and testimony in their entirety, as I have hundreds of time in similar cases, before they decided. The answer is with 1000% certainty — NO. This is an injustice and the changes proposed will make things far worse for victims instead of better.

It seems to me that the so called senators are making the same judgement on the LtGen that she has made on the Herrera case, she wasn’t in the court room and they weren’t either and additionally the senators probably haven’t even read through the court documents. I don’t believe that the LtGen has made a bad decision.…referring to the Capt’s case. No physical evidence? it becomes “he said she said” doesn’t it? Big loss for the USAF

Another tid bit, as far as this article goes, it states and I quote “McCaskill said that “With her action, Lt. Gen. Helms sent a damaging message to survivors of sexual assault who are seeking justice in the military justice system.”McCaskill charged that Helms had sent the message to survivors that “they can experience a momentary sense of justice in knowing that they were believed when their attacker is convicted and sentenced, only to have that justice ripped away with the stroke of a pen by an individual who was never in the courtroom for the trial and who never heard the testimony.” Therefore who is to say that action alone is what caused this whole situation? I haven’t read the message have you? However if it is something along the lines of we believe you, just to overturn the verdict, yeah well that can cause a storm of problems for a variety of legal and career reasons.

And Sen McCaskill and the POTUS didn’t follow their consciences with the full knowledge of the ramifications. Knife cuts both ways. For those that missed it the letter the General sent seems to be a major issue according to this article, and I quote “McCaskill said that “With her action, Lt. Gen. Helms sent a damaging message to survivors of sexual assault who are seeking justice in the military justice system.” McCaskill charged that Helms had sent the message to survivors that “they can experience a momentary sense of justice in knowing that they were believed when their attacker is convicted and sentenced, only to have that justice ripped away with the stroke of a pen by an individual who was never in the courtroom for the trial and who never heard the testimony.”

Yes, and repelling DADT was another huge mistake. Over half the reported sexual assault cases in the military last year were male on male YUCK!!! The administration likens this to rape in a male prison. I would never ever send my young son into such an immoral and dangerous environment. How far can our military fall before another country invades us?

According to the article, she isn’t under fire necessarily for the verdict, but for the letter she sent to the surviors. So agree or disagree, if she sent the letter, in the eyes of the military, we all know how something like that could derail a career.

Prove that please with actual facts. Until you can do that I must support my Commander and Chief and the USA. That just sounds like conspiracy theory rumor mill.

The letter was the damaging piece to her career!!! True or not, verified or not, we all maybe aruguing the wrong point.

McCaskill said that “With her action, Lt. Gen. Helms sent a damaging message to survivors of sexual assault who are seeking justice in the military justice system.”

McCaskill charged that Helms had sent the message to survivors that “they can experience a momentary sense of justice in knowing that they were believed when their attacker is convicted and sentenced, only to have that justice ripped away with the stroke of a pen by an individual who was never in the courtroom for the trial and who never heard the testimony.”

I have zero respect for Senator McCaskill. As a airline captain, I had her on a flight from Washington to STL last year. When we landed in STL, I was aghast at the mess her and her posse left when they deplaned. Three toddlers in that area could not have left that row in bigger disarray. And while they say they support working people, they actually treat them like @#$%.
Withholding the Helms nomination is just another of how this administration is purging the services of great officers who don’t tow the party line. Last week there were 197 senior officer purges. Not sure we will have any left in three more years.

Kudos to General Helms for her outstanding service to this country. For her to be outdone by a mindless hack like the likes of Senator McCaskell is a shame, The military is slowly being degraded to the likes of McCaskell.

I find it hard to believe that she reviewed the case daily for 5 weeks with all of her other duties, or did she stop doing her job to devote the entire 5 weeks to this review.

I’m surprised she didn’t coerce some air force VIP aircraft.

What’s hilarious is that the assaults were probably done by veterans who had risen to the top, even before DADT; therefore DADT was not a causative agent that brought them to the armed services? They were…what’s the word, “in the closet”.

Clearly, the military can be a great place to harass subordinates when the wrong people are promoted.

All the evidence of this sort proves is that there was a sexual act, the woman’s word is the only thing that it was rape. If it was rape send him to prison, if not send her. If women were not always believed by everyone the many innocent men who are in prison, lives ruined by a lying woman, would be out with their families and the women would be in prison where they belong. I hate rapist, but I hate liars just as much. I am a Christian and I know they will be judged and punished finally.

Stop the bleating, already. It does not follow that just because you accuse others of not having facts that they do not. It only follows you believe they do not. Work on your mad search engine skillz and actually . Y’know look for them

The current administration have to ask someone what the Constitution is and why they need to consider it. They have ripped it to shreds and continue every day to do so. There is only one way I know of to change the Constitution legally. I swore to defend that Constitution with my life just as every other Vet. did. I did not swear to defend any political party or political cause. If all the vets would forget their party preferences and defend the Constitution we might get the USA back to where we want it and let the hired politicians know who is in charge, the people, not them.

I’ve known Helms for a couple of decades beginning when I was the Chief of Current Ops at AFSC and had regular contact/oversight of the USAF astronauts assigned to NASA/Houston. She is a great leader and a great person. She would have been a wonderful addition to the leadership team at AFSC. Her retirement will be another arrow into the heart of the USAF.

As described, this was a civil, not military matter and should have been referred to county DJJ. I am a current law enforcement officer, spent 32 years on active duty as an officer, and my dad was a Chief Master Sergeant; so I know about the teen club scene.

AFMaria, you are making comments that would lead one to believe you are emotionally unstable — in your ideal world of justice all accused sex offenders would be pronounced guilty upon accusation then castrated; execution would follow if the now convicted and emasculated offender did not appropriately and publicly renounce his crimes!

What a mess! We loose an outstanding leader, which the Air Force needs and nothing is solved. She did the job and some were not happy with the results. I ‘m a simply man and don’t have answers to complex problems, but losing talent this way just isn’t right.

This Joe doesn’t have the same opinions as I, the Joe who supported the military justice system in previous posts…I guess I need to come up with a more unique name!

Oh BS! Helms didn’t protect the Captain’s career — she found he committed a lesser offense and issued him nonjudicial punishment; the Captain was then kicked out of the AF…

” . I also find your phrasing curious, which makes me suspect there is another side of your story, if true (no, I don’t want to know, I’m just saying) . ” I find your phrasing( and questioning of my integrity )curious, as I never offered my story. I simply said it would be wise to take it outside the chain of command, where it would be less biased, I further said that an Article 15 means nothing in terms of punishment to those who are guilty.

So what she made a mess on a flight to STL, many people make a mess on a plane or in other public venues. I am not a supporter of the Sen, nor do I hate her I do not have any opinion one way or the other. The fact that she made a mess on a plane has nothing to do with her politics or this story.

So if Helms thought Herrera was not guilty, why did she give him an Art 15? At best, it makes no sense; at worst, it’s misconduct on her part. I think there’s more to this story than we’re being told.

“For the commander to make a unilateral decision about a case, any case, without being present in the courtroom and listening to testimony, is ridiculous.“
Court of appeals judges are NEVER in the courtroom during trial. They work strictly from court transcripts.

“And Sen McCaskill and the POTUS didn’t follow their consciences with the full knowledge of the ramifications. Knife cuts both ways” Well of course they didn’t follow their consciences. They followed the political carrot like most politicans do. If “sexual assualt” weren’t one of the latest buzz words Sen McCaskill would have jumped on a different bandwagon and we wouldn’t see this nonsense. The system is in place (right or wrong) and I would venture to say 99% of the cases are upheld on review. In this case she obviously saw something she didn’t feel was fair and overturned it. She did impose other UCMJ actions against the officer in question and he wound up on the outside looking in.

Thinking the Courts Martial may have screwed the pooch on this one, just like Pontius Pilate did with Jesus handing Him over to the Jews for punishment..__With all the political oversight, a Courts Martial these days is more about “is my career in jeopordy if I let this person walk.” Find him guilty, toss it up to the Commander.__There was no physical evidence.. his word against hers.__It sucks, but General Helms showed incredible courage to have overturned it on those grounds.__As for her retirement..I would have done the same thing.. who the hell wants to be under a microscope by Congressional Hacks… Lousy way to run a war incidently.. which is why the Viet Cong kicked our collective asses in Viet Nam.. Congress wanted to run the war.

Wasn’t the Tsgt a honorable servicewoman also? Oh I forgot, she is enlisted. Doesn’t matter. Even the most“honorable” person can make a certain decision for the career advancement and opportunities. I have witnessed it. This time it backfired.

Who is this Carmine007, and can he call me a moron? IE Sen McCaskell placating the morons of her state. I was a Boom Operator with over a 100 Young Tiger (Read Combat) flights in SE Asia, and with over 26 years active duty, and I resent being called a moron by someone who would not put his name down. Perhaps a little cowardice? Fred F. McClure, MSgt, USAF (Ret)

It’s time for Congress to help the Air Force clear out all the “Good Ole Boy” (and Girl) leaders who continue to tacitly condone sexism in the ranks. Why is it that General Craig Franklin is still around and not being made to retire? And what about the head of the Air Force, General Mark Welsh? After reading Welsh’s email telling Franklin to keep his head low until “all this” all blows over, it’s pretty clear he thinks the ongoing sexual misconduct focus is just one big waiting game. Accountability starts at the top, General. So start walking, and go ahead and let the door hit you on your bum as you leave (so you can see what it feels like).

For anyone interested in the actual facts, Lt General Helms documented her thoughts on the case. You can find that here: http://​www​.foia​.af​.mil/​s​h​a​r​e​d​/​m​e​d​i​a​/​d​o​c​u​m​e​n​t​/​AFD–

And if you are interested in the opinion of her lawyer, you can find that here: http://​online​.wsj​.com/​n​e​w​s​/​a​r​t​i​c​l​e​s​/​S​B​1​0​0​0​1​4​2​4​127

Read the facts and opinions of those involved and decide for yourself.

Such a huge loss for the Air Force, the United States and the World. Lt General Helms is a national Hero!

If there was ever a case of the PC Police taking charge of the military it’s this one. Apparently even if you are a female and can’t accept the fact that no matter what the evidence might say, or not say, the males is always guilty in any case where a female says she was sexually assaulted. So guys, here is the message, under no circumstances and at no time should you be alone on or off base/ship/post with a female without at least three witnesses. Because it will always be her word against yours and your words are meaningless.

As a former First Sergeant, and military retiree, my perspective is that I had to stop too many commanders from killing their careers with stupid decisions. One Colonel, I would have loved to see him go down, but not at the expense of the crews that were under him. Commanders have a conflict of interest in every aspect of the job. This would be a relief to most commanders. They do not want to deal with it. Early in my career, the admin clerk could make or break any officer. No job is done till the paperwork is done. Many years ago, blanket parties took care of bad actors. Today, the system is all you got. It’s time to modernize, stop treating the command seat like the chair makes the person. It’s like flipping a coin. Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. Commanders should not have absolute power. Just as they can’t perform heart surgery. They just don’t have the training and skill.

The problem is that unlike prison MEN have a choice of whether or not to go into the military. And when the MEN stop joining then we are all f’ed. All the PC propaganda in the world is not going to save us then.

Hell yeah, I got my microwave off a Saturn V rocket I found washed up on the beach. Don’t you know nothin’?

He’s probably in Washington DC.

Without rockets, we wouldn’t have UAV’s wasting those Pakistanis. Or GPS. Or ICBM’s.

Boys together and girls together. It’s like elementary school all over again.

Thanks for the link.

Lest we forget. “convening authority” in this case is a General sitting in # AF for a an offense in Vandenberg AFB CA (if those are the facts). Does anyone really think The Gen. didn’t have legal counsel review first?? Lest we forget, the reason for a “MILITARY JUSTICE” SYSTEM is for the efficiency and effectiveness of the Military for the defense of the nation. The people hold the Generals accountable for getting the mission (our defense) done. Some rightly think removing Justice from Generals’ purview, delutes his responsibility. Will lawyers be accountable for lax discipline and failed missions? Hardly…

I agree. Unfortunately the military is rife with this type of activity. (meaning inappropriate sanctions against innocent people to protect the military’s image, I was denied a security clearance and laid off from my air guard technician slot because I wouldn’t close ranks and lie about maintenance mistakes in my helicopter squadron). as I understand it there was no physical evidence and she reviewed the case for five weeks. seems to me she used due diligence. as a former soldier I absolutely abhor soldiers preying on other soldiers but justice requires evidence not just an accusation. I wonder what should be done about people who fire their weapons in a nuclear weapon storage area. I witnessed this but nothing ever happened to the perpetrator because if I had reported it I would have been a target for retribution and the I had no confidence in the Army protecting me.

What’s combat about a stateside assignement?

I’m afraid to ask what the assault rate was on WAVES back then…

We have a magnitude of work to do in the military using a constrained work force. Why would a commander rework an effort that consumed so much time and effort and believe that only they can see the truth?
Let the court do their job and trust in the process.

You’re missing the point. The general had the authority to approve or not approve panel decisions because she was the military commander. Take away a commander’s authority over his or her troops and you undermine everything that has made our military second to none in the world. Centralizing authority and power in the hands of pencil pushers and politicians is what was wrong with the Soviet military. If we allow people like Sen. McCaskill to overrule our military commanders who are merely doing their job in accordance with regulations and the UCMJ, then next you’ll have civilian politicians deciding which targets to bomb in Vietnam… oh wait, that’s already happened before. And we lost that war — that should tell you something!!! This discussion should not be about politically correct posturing regarding one overturned rape conviction, but about the bigger picture of whether or not a military commander has authority over his or her troops. If they don’t then we’re all in trouble.

Jos in the United States it has always been true that if a state court finds someone guilty of a crime, that state’s governor can overturn that verdict. This, however was a military court, and the military commander has authority somewhat similar to what a state governor would have if it were a state court. I think the fact that Sen. McCaskill would change a military tradition that has worked for this country for over 200 years just because of one case she disagrees with is just sad.

OK, I did my 4 years in the Air Force (1970–1974), and this much still remains very clear to me…that there is a civilian justice system and there is a military one governed by the UCMJ. I dare say that the esteemed Senator from Missouri ever served. If she had, perhaps she would have a better understanding of the issues rather pandering to the politically correct spotlight. In any case, the general did see fit to provide suitable punitive measures allowed by the UCMJ under Article 15 (Commander’s Punishment) whereby the offender resigned his commission. My guess is that the individual in question would make the same mistake in civilian life and find himself civilian justice, which depending upon political, familial, or business connections could end up in a similar resolution. If people believe that the justice systems, military AND civilian, are broken (which they are), it would behoove those individuals we elect to represent us to provide the American citizen a way of changing them. However, while serving in uniform we have an ADDITIONAL set of rules governing our conduct and it is not a necessarily a good thing for the civilian authorities to pick and choose which ones they want to mess with and which ones to let be. The UCMJ was developed for a military that was ALL MALE, and I daresay that it has been amended all that much to consider gender. Now I could be very wrong about that statement and if so, kindly do not take offense but provide some illumination regarding the current facts.

Thank god they’re unmanned, because I’d hate to ride one with that 1 in 50 chance of blowing up.

Or Hollywood, CA.

So, we’re supposed to believe that a female astronaut is a self-loathing misogynist?

I can’t tell if you’re serious or trolling…

How much time do you think she actually spent studying this decision?NOT the whole five weeks.She got screwed trying to screw someone else.Too bad. She should have stayed out of it.

Not a fan either.She got her just dues.


Evelyn.. She did not have to be an attorney to overturn the conviction.

According to the UCMJ.. Universal Code of Military Law.. authroized by Congress.. the CO who began the process has the sole authority to overturn the conviction, unless the prosecuted calls for a Courts Martial Appeal other than the CO who inititated the Process.

She did the right thing..

Military Justice is unlike the Justice administered by the DOJ, and does not afford the accused the same rights under the Constitution as the Civilian Justice System.

Gee Mark.. just wishing you knew what you were talking about.

Your post is nothing but a series of overplayed Right Wing Rants, about something of which you know a great deal of nothing.

First… the concept of rape wasn’t dealt with when the original UCMJ waa written..

Second.. Congress gave he right of appeal to the CO back in 1794..

Third.. the President doesn’t have to know how it works.. he has the DoD, the Chairman of the JCS, and the Secretarys of the Army, Navy, and Air Force to deal with it.. And he didn’t change anything.

Fourth… Your lameness and BS, really does show how uniformed you are.

I agree with you totally on your statement..this was nothing more than a political hack job.. and I’ve lost all respect for Senator McClovsky, a democrat, who was obviously pandering to her wacko constituency, an ultraconservative base.

Wht ever happened to integrity?

Did you see where there was no psyical evidence in the case, with out it there is not much of a case. I am not saying that the captain didn’t deserve to get his butt kicked out of the Air Force. He should have been kicked out for fraternization that an enlisted woman. Like you I was not there but, I am taking into account that General Helms made the right decision in the case. Now, it comes McCaskill I will work very hard to kick her out of the Senate and she can go home and crawl back under the rock she came from

There are many ways to commit sexual assault and another way is not support female Lt. General’s. The military has suffered within and without the many changes to its judicial system regarding gender issue cases. One moment it’s “Don’t ask Don’t tell” then open sexuality. Will shifting to “Independent” lawyers make a difference other than shifting burden of responsibility or will the loss of people like Lt. Gen. Helms continue. Sexual charges need to improve evidence submissions to eliminate political charges being submitted by plaintiffs. It’s sad day to learn retirement of another great individual caught in the mix-master of ongoing work in progress and not supported by Commander-in-Chief Obama.

The judge presides over the case, the conviction is provided by a jury of military officers NOT lawyers or legal experts. By the way I was told the ranking member on that jury was a “liberal” woman’s lib supporting female officer. I would not be surprised if the other junior members felt pressured to follow her “suggestions” and render the decision they did, which is why commander review is important.

You stated “EVERY”… You are mistaken, sir. (I have sat on court martial panels during my 22 years active duty.)

This is in defense of Lt. Gen. Susan Helms and her decision. During the time frame of 15 Dec 1993-January 1994, I was assigned to the 82nd replacement Company. While there I was in charged of 10–15 soldiers including 6 females. My job was to get them in shape ‚prepared for jump school, and to keep them out of trouble. This was my first state-side assignment after coming from KG in Germany. Those females tried everything Not to exercise or do their jobs. After seeing many careers and marriages ruined and destroyed while in Europe, I made it a point never to get caught one-on-one with any female enlisted or officer. Long story short, these females filed over 30 complaints against me for just doing my job. One complaint because I wouldn’t drop her off at the PX in my own POV.( I told her to take a taxi) How I was saved, GOD and Staff Sergeant Josey. He called me into his office one day, droped that big file on the desk in front of me, and told me what was going on after he had observed me performing my duties. After that, I was a beast. I made sure we visited Area J every single day of the week and while still clocking miles on Ardennes St. I broke that ass. I am so sorry about her career and pray that she stills gets all her retirement benefits. Because if it wasn’t for people like her and Sgt Josey taking their time and looking at the situation from all points of view, I would have lost my career and everything just because some female soldiers didn’t want to do their jobs and I choose to do mine.

Are you nuts. People need to be responsible for their actions. Why is she a hero? Walk in space? Boo. Other people did it.

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