An appalling world view

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By John Barnhart

    Rick Howell certainly did an outstanding job, in last week’s The Liberal Agenda, of proving my contention that liberals loath our armed forces.
    Apparently, in Liberal World, American soldiers don’t have legal rights. Mr. Howell is quite perturbed that Staff Sergeant Robert Bales’ trial on multiple murder charges is going to take a long time.
    “We’re just not in a rush to convict American soldiers of much of anything, are we?” Mr. Howell wrote.
    Of course we aren’t. People accused of crimes under our system have legal rights which include the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. This is very important. This means that, should you be arrested and charged with something, the burden of proof rests with the prosecution. You don’t have to prove that you are innocent. The prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty. I’ve covered a couple of cases in which the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office has not been able to do that — cases in which the defense attorney has been able to plant reasonable doubt in the jury’s mind. I recall one time when I could tell from the expression on the jury foreman’s face that he really hated to read a “not guilty” verdict. But, there was a reasonable doubt as to whether the Commonwealth’s version of what happened was true and the jury had no choice but to find the defendant not guilty.
    This is why we make extensive use of the word “alleged” when referring in print to a person charged with a criminal act. The legal presumption of innocence until proven guilty  in court prevails even if the police catch you standing over your victim’s body with a gun, still warm from the shots you fired, in your hand.
    And, SSG Bales, like all people charged with a criminal action, is entitled to a defense attorney, and has the Constitutional right to refuse to make statements that would incriminate him. I’m sure any liberal would “lawyer-up” and watch his mouth if charged with a serious crime.
    Further demonstrating the level of contempt that liberals have for our armed forces, Mr. Howell writes,  “Bales should be turned over to the Afghans for trial.” SSG Bales is not an American tourist, or student, or businessman charged with a violation of local law in a foreign country. The circumstances that brought him into Afghanistan make him subject to United States law, not Afghan law, such as it is. He will be tried under U. S. law in a court-martial, where his rights will be respected under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which allows for the death penalty should he be convicted. Mr. Howell’s suggestion that SSG Bales be turned over to a semi-civilized tribal society for trial demonstrates the antipathy that liberals have for soldiers.
    I noticed, last week, that Mr. Howell didn’t mention Sgt. Dennis Weichel. Toward the end of March, this soldier was with his unit when they encountered several Afghan children in the pathway of their convoy. They got the children out of the way, but one girl ran back to retrieve something from the road, right in front of an MRAP. Sgt. Weichel  shoved the girl out of the massive armored vehicle’s path, but he was run over by the 16 ton vehicle and killed. He was awarded the Bronze Star, posthumously, for his action. His three children no longer have a father.
    This, however, doesn’t fit a liberal’s view of the military. “Isn’t all war mass murder?” Mr. Howell asked last week. This was a stunning statement. Does this mean that Mr. Howell believes our D-Day veterans were guilty of the mass murder of German soldiers in Normandy? What about the Marines who killed Japanese soldiers on Iwo Jima or the airmen who few in B-17s on bombing raids over Germany? Last year I interviewed a man who won the Congressional Medal of Honor on Iwo Jima as well as the man who was Jimmy Doolittle's co-pilot on the Tokyo raid. Does Mr. Howell think these men are mass murderers?
    The modern liberal world view never ceases to amaze, and appall, me.