Many women have been fighting the system since 1994 to lift the ban on military women in combat. It appears they finally won…
In a surprise move, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta removed the military ban on women in combat on Wednesday. Lifting the ban will open service on the front lines to thousands of women.
According to the Associated Press, the move was recommended by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and overturns a 1994 rule banning women from being assigned to smaller ground combat units. Smaller exemptions to the rule were passed in 2012, but the new decision opens up 238,000 positions where women were formerly banned.
Women have been traditionally barred from serving in ground combat units, such as infantry, artillery, armor or as special operations commandos. However, women have been serving in combat roles for years as well, as recent conflicts have blurred the lines of combat and non-combat duties. While the ACLU last year sued the Pentagon for the right for women to take up positions on the front line, and the Marines recently began allowing women to serve as officers, the timing of Panetta’s announcement comes as a surprise.
Some Republicans have opposed putting women in combat because of alleged physical inferiority to men. However, a survey of several NATO allies with women in front line roles in Afghanistan indicated that, far from causing problems, female officers actually performed better in intelligence-gathering roles than their male counterparts.
Military chiefs must report their initial implementation plans by May 15, and can request special exceptions until January 2016 for any positions they feel cannot be open to women.
This week, the President announced a major new initiative on food security, hosted the G8 and NATO summits, gave the commencement addresses in Joplin, Missouri and at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, and traveled to Iowa to urge Congress to act on the “To Do List,” invest in clean energy, and extend the Production Tax Credit that has bipartisan support.
It’s so frustrating to see how people over at Fox News and their pet candidates relay information to their gullible audiences…
Apparently desperate to make sure President Obama didn’t gain politically from the imminent fall of Qaddafi, Hannity came up with a ridiculous talking point: That in his Libya policy, Obama had adopted President Bush’s doctrine of preemption.
During a discussion last night with Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain (more about this segment in another post), Hannity brought up the subject of Libya at about 5:20.
“Does the president now agree with the preemption policy of George W. Bush or does he agree with Colin Powell, who said, ‘If you break it, you buy it?’ Does that now apply to Libya and President Obama in your view?” Hannity asked.
What does Bush’s preemption policy have to do with Libya? Does Hannity think Libya was a threat? Was he likening NATO’s actions in Libya to the invasion of Iraq?
Cain didn’t offer any enlightenment on that score. He gave “hats off” to British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy but spent the rest of the Libya discussion attacking Obama.
Hannity seemed perfectly happy with that response.
See video here…
Image by jim.greenhill via Flickr
If only Obama had acted like the GOP, like the metaphorical bull in a china shop (*), then Libya would’ve been a success as quickly as … uh, Iraq and Afghanistan? John McCain:
Americans can be proud of the role our country has played in helping to defeat Qaddafi, but we regret that this success was so long in coming due to the failure of the United States to employ the full weight of our airpower.
It’s kind of hard to employ the full weight of our armed forces when they’re bogged down in Afghanistan and Iraq. Remember those wars, John? Engaging in elective wars sure makes fighting morally justifiable ones much more difficult.
Ultimately, the air power employed by NATO was enough to degrade Gaddafi’s forces while the rebels got their shit together. And they did, performing acts of unbridled courage and heroism. I can’t wait to read full accounts of how the rebels broke the siege of Misrata, or how they barely held on to Benghazi those first early days of the revolution before NATO got involved.
Suffice it to say, we all know where McCain originally stood in all this: bowing to Gaddafi.
While I don’t believe American support was determinative to this successful outcome, it certainly played a helpful role. And that’s the difference between the GOP—that thinks that Americans should lord it over the entire world, and Democrats—who believe that we should work within international institutions to lend support whenever we can.
Had they been in charge, Republicans would’ve certainly found some way to fuck this up. Their track record is pretty clear about that.
(*) Bulls actually do quite well in china shops.
The strike that killed the dictator’s youngest son came nowhere close to killing Gaddafi, says Fadel Lamen’s Libyan sources , who also cast doubt on whether grandchildren were killed.
Forgive me for being cynical, but I’ve seen this act before. Yes, the NATO strike on the Gaddafi family – both the death of Saif al-Arab Gaddafi (not to be confused with Saif al-Islam, as the Libyan spokesman himself initially was) and the reported near-hit on the dictator himself – is important for the message sent and the chaos sewed.
But the details on the Gaddafi hit don’t add up, and they make me – and a half dozen sources I talked with last night, including several in Libya – skeptical about how close we came to hitting the dictator. Or that three grandchildren were actually killed, as Gaddafi’s embattled government claims.
Musa Ibrahim al-Gaddafi, belligerent leader’s spokesman – and cousin – went straight into propaganda mode after the strike. “Mr Saif al-Arab was a civilian, a student… He was playing and talking to his father and mother and his nieces and nephews and other visitors when he was attacked and killed.”
Like most of what the spokesmen there say, the regime has so far failed to provide any proof of its claim, except to guide the western journalists in a tour of a facility bombed by NATO. The lack of clear evidence of any death, except spots of blood, just increases cynicism.
My Tripoli sources confirm an attack on one of regime’s building frequented by another of his sons, Hanibal Gaddafi — but not Gaddafi himself, his wife or the other sons. In fact, one of my sources knowledgeable about with the family habits, maintained that the family almost gets together, especially given the current circumstances, which makes the idea of a NATO strike that somehow hit of a nest of Gaddafis (sparing the leader, of course) seem a bit far-fetched.
Welcome to the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that’s happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. This week, President Obama focused on the situation in Libya, monitoring conditions on the ground and keeping Congress and the American people informed as the mission transitions from U.S. to NATO command. Education month also continued, with the President making stops at a multicultural high school in Washington, D.C., and dropping in on a science fair in New York City.
Air Raids Force Regime To Pull Back.. Rebels Seize The East
Libyan rebels clinched their hold on the east and seized back a key city on Saturday after decisive international airstrikes sent Moammar Gadhafi’s forces into retreat, shedding their uniforms and ammunition as they fled.
(CKICK HERE FOR UPDATES)
Ajdabiya’s initial loss to Gadhafi may have ultimately been what saved the rebels from imminent defeat, propelling the U.S. and its allies to swiftly pull together the air campaign now crippling Gadhafi’s military. Its recapture gives President Barack Obama a tangible victory just as he faces criticism for bringing the United States into yet another war.
In Ajdabiya, drivers honked in celebration and flew the tricolor rebel flag. Others in the city fired guns into the air and danced on burned-out tanks that littered the road.
Their hold on the east secure again, the rebels promised to resume their march westward that had been reversed by Gadhafi’s overwhelming firepower.
“Without the planes we couldn’t have done this. Gadhafi’s weapons are at a different level than ours,” said Ahmed Faraj, 38, a rebel fighter from Ajdabiya. “With the help of the planes we are going to push onward to Tripoli, God willing.”
The Gadhafi regime acknowledged the airstrikes had forced its troops to retreat and accused international forces of choosing sides.
As ThinkProgress has reported, the Dove World Church based out of Gainesville, FL, is organizing an “International Burn a Quran Day” on September 11. Gen. David Petraeus warned yesterday that the hate campaign “could put the lives of American troops in danger and damage the war effort.” Gen. William Caldwell — the commander of the NATO training mission in Afghanistan — echoed Petraeus’ admonition on CNN yesterday afternoon:
CALDWELL: What I will tell you is that their very actions will in fact jeopardize the safety of the young men and women who are serving in uniform over here and also undermine the very mission that we’re trying to accomplish.
I would hope they would understand that there are second- and third-order — second-, really, and third-order effects that will occur that will affect that young man and woman who’s out there on point for America, serving their nation today, because of their actions back in the United States.
The hate pastor leading the Quran burning is Terry Jones, author of the a book called “Islam Is Of The Devil.” During a combative interview with CNN host Kiran Chetry this morning, Jones seemed unwilling to reconsider his “Burn a Quran Day,” and instead offered his prayers to soldiers who might be put at greater risk:
CHETRY: Are you willing to have the blood of soldiers on your hands by this demonstration?
JONES: Yeah, we are actually very concerned of course. We are taking the General’s words very serious. We are continuing to pray about the action on September the 11th. We are indeed very concerned about it. [...]
CHETRY: So you’re saying you might not well go through with this? [...]
JONES: I am saying we are definitely praying about it. We have firmly made up our mind, but at the same time, we are definitely praying about it.
I truly believe that if George Bush and his administration had paid attention to the war in Afghanistan, years ago, we wouldn’t be in this horrific quagmire.
WASHINGTON — Some 90,000 leaked U.S. military records posted online Sunday amount to a blow-by-blow account of six years of the Afghanistan war, including unreported incidents of Afghan civilian killings as well as covert operations against Taliban figures.
The online whistle-blower WikiLeaks posted the documents on its website Sunday. The New York Times, London’s Guardian newspaper and the German weekly Der Spiegel were given early access to the documents.
The Guardian described the collection as, “‘a devastating portrait of the failing war in Afghanistan.”
The White House condemned the document disclosure, saying it “put the lives of Americans and our partners at risk.”
The leaked records include detailed descriptions of raids carried out by a secretive U.S. special operations unit called Task Force 373 against what U.S. officials considered high-value insurgent and terrorist targets. Some of the raids resulted in unintended killings of Afghan civilians, according to the documentation.
Among those listed as being killed by the secretive unit was Shah Agha, described by the Guardian as an intelligence officer for an IED cell, who was killed with four other men in June 2009. Another was a Libyan fighter, Abu Laith al-Libi, described in the documents as a senior al-Qaida military commander. Al-Libi was said to be based across the border in Mir Ali, Pakistan, and was running al-Qaida training camps in North Waziristan, a region along the Afghan border where U.S. officials have said numerous senior al-Qaida leaders were believed to be hiding.
The operation against al-Libi, in June 2007, resulted in a death tally that one U.S. military document said include six enemy fighters and seven noncombatants – all children.