Sunday, February 25, 2007

Editorial: Watada, they go after, Watada


Ehren Watada is due to be court-martialed again. Friday, the US military refiled charges against him. After Judge Toilet's mistrial call, double-jeopardy should apply and the US military really needs to find other things to focus on.

How about this:

BAGHDAD -- Sgt. 1st Class, Daniel Edwards Franklin, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Corps Materiel Management Center, 13th Sustainment Command(Expeditionary), was convicted at a general court-martial on 22 February 2007 of indecent acts upon a female Private 2nd Class in the junior Soldier's room and then lying
about his involvement to CID personnel.
On 20 October 2006 Sgt. 1st Class Franklin followed a female Private 2nd Classinto her room on LSA Anaconda. He attempted to force intimate contact upon the soldier. During a CID interview and on the witness stand at trial, Sgt. 1st Class Franklin stated he was in the room for less than five minutes and never touched the female Soldier. The then 19-year-old victim knew her attacker and testified she often would seek out guidance and assistance from the 34-year-old Sgt. 1st Class Franklin in the days before the attack.
The court martial was tried at LSA Anaconda with Col. James Pohl, Chief Circuit Judge, from the 5th Judicial Circuit based in Germany, presiding. A panel of officers and enlisted personnel, sentenced Sgt. 1st Class Franklin to reduction in grade to E-1.
Capt. Jeremy Stephens and Capt. Dan Mazzone represented the government's interest in the trial.

Franklin got busted from Sgt. to private for attempting to "force intimate contact upon the soldier" which is also known as attempted rape. And the above is from the US military's official press release, FYI.

So attempted rape means no jail time but they want Ehren Watada to be court-martialed again? Seems like they're under some impression that they've got their house in order but that's really not the case, is it?

We recently touched on the violence against women who serve in the military (see "Women and the military") and for the three who felt we were "making too much" (SZX's words) out of it or that it "really isn't an issue of the military encouraging it" (Donnie's words), we ask that you question how "justice" was achieved by merely busting the rank of Frankling down and not sending him to prison?

This was the perfect opportunity for the military to demonstrate that they took the issue of assault seriously and all they demonstrated was that they don't really care. Yes, it must be hard to go from Sgt. to Private, but we're sure it's also harder to serve time and have that on your record.

The same military 'justice' system that wants to ignore the responsibilities it has for sending a clear message of no tolerance for sexual assaults now wants to demonstrate that they believe they operate outside of the Constitution by ignoring the double-jeopardy clause that should now prevent them from attempting to retry Ehren Watada.
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