Unfortunately for us, the latter part of the above statement isn't true. But it should be. And Senator Claire McCaskill is doing everything in her power to make it happen. The St. Louis Post Dispatch dedicated today's editorial to the subject.
In case you're unfamiliar with the latest fiasco, here is a quick synopsis:
Lt. Col. James Wilkerson, a standout fighter pilot and former inspector general at Aviano Air Base in Italy, was convicted of sexual assault by an all-male panel of five officers in November. He was sentenced to a year in a military prison and dismissal from service.To make it worse, word on the street has it that Col. Wilkerson has a history of misconduct. A story in the New York Times calls attention to his blatant disregard for the military police and his stereotypical fighter jock demeanor. The Air Force has helped hone this guy as a fighter pilot. Many in today's military still believe that the skills necessary to fly a jet come hand in hand with arrogance, sexism, and a disregard for following the rules and they are willing to turn a blind eye to that behavior when it comes from a fighter jock.
A few months after Col. Wilkerson began serving his sentence, the Air Force commander overseeing the case, Lt. Gen. Craig A. Franklin, ordered his release from prison and overturned the conviction without explanation. His action permitted Col. Wilkerson to be reinstated in the Air Force.
Secretary Chuck Hagel has opened up an investigation to find out if the decision of Lt. Gen. Franklin was warranted. I have no doubts that the people tasked with this onerous duty will find that he not only used poor judgement but that he, too, is locked into that stereotypical fighter jock demeanor and was looking to protect one of his own. He forgot while making this very critical decision that "his own" shouldn't have been single airman who broke the law, was sent to jail and was serving a sentence for his illegal actions, nor was it that man's family. It was the entire Air Force that he should have been looking out for - those thousands of men and women who have to serve side by side the fighter jocks, the ones that work day after day to keep those planes in the air and should be able to do so while feeling safe at work and home.
If you would like to see both Lt. Col. Wilkerson and Lt. Gen. Franklin removed from duty, please sign this petition. It needs just under 400 more signatures to reach their goal of 3000.
Poor judgement, good ol' boy's club, whatever you want to call it, the General made a huge mistake and his judgement should be questioned from here on out. He is not a man we want in charge.