Sex, Lies and the War on Men

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By James Taranto,

from The Wall Street Journal,

The rights of the accused are under vicious attack.

A massive twit-storm washed over your humble columnist yesterday, set off by our Wall Street Journal op-ed defending an Obama nominee and the rights of criminal defendants. To recap briefly: Sen. Claire McCaskill has placed a “permanent hold” on the nomination of Gen. Susan Helms to be vice commander of the Air Force Space Command. McCaskill is punishing Helms for having granted clemency to an officer under her command, Capt. Matthew Herrera, who was convicted of aggravated sexual assault.

We reviewed the facts and concluded that Helms was correct in holding that the prosecution case was so weak as to make the conviction unjust. (Herrera did not escape punishment: He pleaded guilty to an “indecent act” and was involuntarily discharged from the service.)

Our argument infuriated feminists, yielding hundreds of tweets and perhaps a dozen posts on various leftist websites [that we were somehow defending rapists].

That is an utter falsehood.

All this viciousness was in the service of denying that there is, as we wrote in yesterday’s article, a “war on men.” Well, imagine if a prominent feminist journalist wrote about the “war on women” and dozens of conservative male writers responded by subjecting her to similar verbal abuse. Would that not be prima facie evidence that she was on to something? If the answer is yes–and we’d say it is–then either the same is true in our case or the sexes aren’t equal. (Select one or both of the above.)

We can imagine being persuaded to agree with [a serious] argument. But we haven’t seen anybody make it. The tweets and articles quoted are typical of the response from the feminist left. The few who’ve deigned to discuss the facts of the case at all–have distorted them beyond recognition, obscuring the questions about the credibility of Herrera’s accuser that led Helms to reject the court-martial verdict of guilty.

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