Conservative commentator James Taranto, in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal on Monday night, detailed a set of allegations of sexual assault in the military before concluding that they amounted to a “he-said/she-said dispute” that only revealed “a political campaign against sexual assault in the military that shows signs of becoming an effort to criminalize male sexuality.” All of it, he argues, amounts to a “war on men.”
Taranto tried, without much success, to tie his grievances to Sen. Claire McCaskill’s (D-MO) attempt to stall the nomination of a Lt. Gen. Susan Helms to be vice commander of the Air Force Space Command. McCaskill is holding up the nomination because Helms once granted clemency to a man in the military accused of sexual assault.
But ultimately, Taranto’s greivances — which are simply against a changing culture that is starting to hold men accountable for treating women like objects — came through in his piece. And they had nothing to do with McCaskill’s, or Helms:
It’s fair to say that Capt. Herrera seems to have a tendency toward sexual recklessness. Perhaps that makes him unsuitable to serve as an officer in the U.S. Air Force. But his accusers acted recklessly too. The presumption that reckless men are criminals while reckless women are victims makes a mockery of any notion that the sexes are equal.
What’s worse, Taranto followed up his op-ed with an appearance on Wall Street Journal’s video channel, where he argued that “female sexual freedom” is responsible for a “war on men,” and that war is embodied in allegations of sexual assault. During that interview, he also said that a woman alleging assault and a man denying it “differed… on whether she consented.” Taranto also cast doubt on the report because someone present “didn’t even hear this going on.”
“What does female sexual freedom mean?” Taranto added, “It means, for this woman, that she had the freedom to get drunk and get in the back seat of a car with this guy.”