Posts Tagged ‘military’

Fishbowl America Round-Up for July 8th:

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  • “Lost” To Air on Sci-Fi Channel – Sci-Fi has jumped in to help us all with the hiatus blues and announced it will begin airing 4 hour blocks of LOST every Monday at 7:00pm starting September 15. The episodes will run in order up to the season 4 finale.
  • Carey Takes Helm of National Gay and Lesbian Task Force – Rea Carey was happily serving as interim executive director of the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force until a few months ago. The organization had embarked on an extensive search to find a replacement for Matt Foreman, who resigned in January.
  • What the Pregnant Man Didn’t Deliver – By the time Thomas Beatie, “the Pregnant Man,” strode across Oprah Winfrey’s stage on April 3, his story had already become a worldwide phenomenon. Beatie — a transgendered man who was born a woman and became pregnant through artificial insemination — h
  • Alabama Senate: Sessions 58, Figures 34; Obama down by 15 – Rasmussen Reports takes another snapshot of the Alabama Senate race, this time finding Sen. Jeff Sessions leading his Democratic challenger Sen. Vivian Davis Figures, 58 percent to 34 percent.
  • Retired Military Leaders Come Out Against Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell / Queerty – Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell took a severe blow today. A study released today asserts that openly gay soldiers do not threaten unit cohesion.
  • Wockner: The Day ACT UP Put a Condom On Jesse Helms’ House – AIDS activists inflated a giant “reservoir-tipped condom” over U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms’ house Sept. 5 [1991] in Arlington, Va., a suburb of Washington, D.C.
  • A Clintonian at Fox – Howard Wolfson, who was a top strategist for the presidential campaign of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, is going where some Democrats were unwilling to go during the early days of the election season: the Fox News Channel.
  • Charred Bodies Found on Tijuana Street – Police on Monday found six charred bodies on a Tijuana street following a bloody weekend that left 14 people dead.

Fishbowl America Round-Up for July 7th:

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  • Sneak Peek: First Look At New Harry Potter Film – The Harry Potter trio are back to save Hogwarts from dark forces in the eagerly anticipated sixth film in the series. A year after the last Potter film, Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix, JK Rowling’s creation is back in British cinemas in November.
  • Fred Barnes: McCain Better Step Up ‘Homo-Bashing’ As Strategy – Pam’s House Blend: I guess the talking heads on Fox just get right to the point — the GOP is bankrupt of any ideas or actual accomplishments to run on in 2008, so the flagging McSame campaign better drag out the tired homo straw man, according to Right S
  • Andrew Sullivan: A Long Way From The Green Iguana – It’s funny to watch the partisan right out-do each other to declare Obama a cynic while Charlie Crist gets engaged to a woman at the height of McCain’s veep search.
  • Study: Military Gays Don’t Undermine Unit Cohesion – Congress should repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy because the presence of gays in the military is unlikely to undermine the ability to fight and win, according to a new study released by a California-based research center.
  • A Major Speech in Berlin?: Obama Refines Plans for Germany Trip – Barack Obama’s planned European tour might make a major whistlestop in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. The candidate’s schedule isn’t set, but a Berlin appearance before the end of July looks likely.
  • Borat’s Alter Ego Dupes Former Mossad Agent – It’s unclear whether his Mossad retirement benefit card will be confiscated, but former spy and current political analyst Yossi Alpher is certainly feeling sheepish after being fooled by actor Sacha Baron Cohen, aka Borat.
  • Federal Investigation Launched into Obama’s MD-80 – The National Transportation Safety Board said Monday that it is investigating what caused Senator Barack Obama’s plane to make an unexpected landing today in St. Louis.
  • Iraq May Set Timetable For U.S. Withdrawal – Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki raised the prospect on Monday of setting a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops as part of negotiations over a new security agreement with Washington.
  • Webb Says No To Being VP – You can officially scratch off Sen. Jim Webb’s name from the list of Barack Obama’s potential running mates.
  • ABC News: Md. Plantation Attic Holds 400 Years of Documents – For four centuries, they were the ultimate pack rats. Now a Maryland family’s massive collection of letters, maps and printed bills has surfaced in the attic of a former plantation, providing a firsthand account of life from the 1660s through World War II
  • Miami Herald Covers Media Swirl Around Crist – And Avoids The Obvious – I’m not sure how you can explore Florida governor Charlie Crist’s shameless self-promotion for McCain’s consideration as VP (after all, the long-time “bachelor” is willing to get married to pass muster) without going into the ample number of stories about

Sneaky snapshots from Prince Harry’s tour of Iraq Afghanistan are surfacing.

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Hat tip to TowleRoad.com.

General Wesley Clark, a potential veep for Barack Obama, is pulling out the big guns in going after John McCain and his heavily touted military experience.

McCain frequently points out that he led “the largest squadron in the U.S. Navy,” but Clark said on CBS television that that was not enough to support a claim to the presidency.

“He hasn’t been there and ordered the bombs to fall” as a wartime commander, the general said on CBS. Clark is mentioned as a possible Obama running mate, although he originally supported Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.

When the interviewer, Bob Schieffer, noted to Clark that McCain had been shot down over Hanoi, Clark replied, “I don’t think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president.”

PageOneQ: Army Sergeant Darren Manzella, profiled on 60 Minutes, has been let go under the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

Manzella has been twice deployed to Iraq since his enlistment in 2002. Military awards he has received during his service include the Combat Medical Badge. He also received the Barry Winchell Courage Award at the 16th Annual SLDN National Dinner in March of 2008.

“My sexual orientation certainly didn’t make a difference when I treated injuries and saved lives in the streets of Baghdad,” Manzella told SLDN. “It shouldn’t be a factor in allowing me to continue to serve.”

The 30-year-old told CBS correspondent Lesley Stahl in December 2007 that despite the policy, which mandates discharge of a servicemembers who are discovered to be gay, he served openly with the blessing of his colleagues and superiors. After receiving anonymous e-mails advising him to “turn down the flame,” Manzella turned to a commanding officer for help and came out to him in the process. Ultimately, after an investigation, “no evidence of homosexuality” was found, despite video and photographs of Manzella with his partner, and he was told to return to work.

“The discharge of battle-tested, talented service members like Sergeant Manzella weakens our military in a time of war,” said SLDN Communications Director Adam Ebbin. “National security requires that Congress lift the ban on gays in the military and allow commanders to judge troops on their qualifications, not their sexuality.”

Manzella was the first active duty servicemember serving in a war zone to speak with the media. It has been estimated that over 500 individuals serve openly in the United States military despite “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” suggesting selective enforcement of, and perhaps distaste for, the policy, and an unwillingness to sacrifice needed personnel.

Lt. Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody was nominated to be America's first four-star female general.

CNN: America’s first female four-star general has been nominated, the Pentagon announced Monday.

President Bush nominated Lt. Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody to serve as head of the Army’s supply arm.

By law women are excluded from combat jobs, the typical path to four-star rank in the military.

“This is an historic occasion for the Department of Defense and I am proud to nominate Lt. Gen. Ann Dunwoody for a fourth star,” said Defense Secretary Robert Gates. “Her 33 years of service, highlighted by extraordinary leadership and devotion to duty, make her exceptionally qualified for this senior position.”

The Senate must approve the nomination.

Dunwoody, a native of New York, was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1975 after her graduation from the State University of New York in Cortland. She also holds graduate degrees in national resource strategy and logistics management.

She became the Army‘s top-ranking woman in 2005 when she received her third star and became deputy chief of staff for Army logistics.

New York Times: The Army and Air Force discharged a disproportionate number of women in 2007 under the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that prohibits openly gay people from serving in the military, according to Pentagon statistics gathered by an advocacy group.

While women make up 14 percent of Army personnel, 46 percent of those discharged under the policy last year were women. And while 20 percent of Air Force personnel are women, 49 percent of its discharges under the policy last year were women.

By comparison for 2006, about 35 percent of the Army’s discharges and 36 percent of the Air Force’s were women, according to the statistics.

The information was gathered under a Freedom of Information Act request by the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a policy advocacy organization.

“Women make up 15 percent of the armed forces, so to find they represent nearly 50 percent of Army and Air Force discharges under ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ is shocking,” said Aubrey Sarvis, the organization’s executive director. “Women in particular have been caught in the crosshairs of this counterproductive law.”

New York Times: The Army and Air Force discharged a disproportionate number of women in 2007 under the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that prohibits openly gay people from serving in the military, according to Pentagon statistics gathered by an advocacy group.

While women make up 14 percent of Army personnel, 46 percent of those discharged under the policy last year were women. And while 20 percent of Air Force personnel are women, 49 percent of its discharges under the policy last year were women.

By comparison for 2006, about 35 percent of the Army’s discharges and 36 percent of the Air Force’s were women, according to the statistics.

The information was gathered under a Freedom of Information Act request by the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a policy advocacy organization.

“Women make up 15 percent of the armed forces, so to find they represent nearly 50 percent of Army and Air Force discharges under ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ is shocking,” said Aubrey Sarvis, the organization’s executive director. “Women in particular have been caught in the crosshairs of this counterproductive law.”

New York Times: Israel carried out a major military exercise earlier this month that American officials say appeared to be a rehearsal for a potential bombing attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Several American officials said the Israeli exercise appeared to be an effort to develop the military’s capacity to carry out long-range strikes and to demonstrate the seriousness with which Israel views Iran’s nuclear program.

More than 100 Israeli F-16 and F-15 fighters participated in the maneuvers, which were carried out over the eastern Mediterranean and over Greece during the first week of June, American officials said.

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CNN: Suspected terrorists and foreign fighters held by the U.S. military at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have the right to challenge their detention in federal court, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday.

A prefabricated court complex has been erected at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to try terrorism suspects.

The decision marks another legal blow to the Bush administration’s war on terrorism policies.

The 5-4 vote reflects the divide over how much legal autonomy the U.S. military should have to prosecute about 270 prisoners, some of whom have been held for more than six years without charges. Fourteen of them are alleged to be top al Qaeda figures.

Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy said, “the laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times. Liberty and security can be reconciled; and in our system reconciled within the framework of the law.”

Kennedy, the court’s swing vote, was supported by Justices John Paul Stevens, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, generally considered the liberal contingent.

At issue was the rights of detainees to contest their imprisonment and challenge the rules set up to try them.

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CNN: Suspected terrorists and foreign fighters held by the U.S. military at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have the right to challenge their detention in federal court, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday.

A prefabricated court complex has been erected at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to try terrorism suspects.

The decision marks another legal blow to the Bush administration’s war on terrorism policies.

The 5-4 vote reflects the divide over how much legal autonomy the U.S. military should have to prosecute about 270 prisoners, some of whom have been held for more than six years without charges. Fourteen of them are alleged to be top al Qaeda figures.

Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy said, “the laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times. Liberty and security can be reconciled; and in our system reconciled within the framework of the law.”

Kennedy, the court’s swing vote, was supported by Justices John Paul Stevens, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, generally considered the liberal contingent.

At issue was the rights of detainees to contest their imprisonment and challenge the rules set up to try them.

The Washington Post‘s Jonathan Capeheart warns of the potential trouble with an Obama-Nunn ticket, seen as a significant problem with gay fundraisers over Nunn’s involvement in the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell controversy in 1993.

When Bill Clinton sought to keep his 1992 campaign promise to end the ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military, he met strong resistance in the Pentagon and on Capitol Hill. Nunn, one of the most adamant opponents, led a series of hearings that were stacked against ending the prohibition. Critics noted that Nunn held more hearings about and spent more time on gays in the military than he had on the defense budget or even the Navy’s Tailhook sexual harassment scandal.

Already, the prospect of an Obama-Nunn ticket does not sit well with some prominent gay Democratic fundraisers. “It would without question irrevocably diminish my enthusiasm for the democratic ticket,” a longtime Clinton supporter told me in an e-mail. “Sam Nunn not only opposed [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people’s] rights to serve in the military, he viciously campaigned against it.”

Atlanta Journal-Consitution: Former Georgia senator Sam Nunn, who helped push through the 1993 “don’t ask, don’t tell” law that established the terms under which gays and lesbians could serve in the U.S. military, said Tuesday that it’s time to review the policy.

“I think [when] 15 years go by on any personnel policy, it’s appropriate to take another look at it — see how it’s working, ask the hard questions, hear from the military. Start with a Pentagon study,” Nunn said.

Atlanta Journal-Consitution: Former Georgia senator Sam Nunn, who helped push through the 1993 “don’t ask, don’t tell” law that established the terms under which gays and lesbians could serve in the U.S. military, said Tuesday that it’s time to review the policy.

“I think [when] 15 years go by on any personnel policy, it’s appropriate to take another look at it — see how it’s working, ask the hard questions, hear from the military. Start with a Pentagon study,” Nunn said.

Atlanta Journal-Consitution: Former Georgia senator Sam Nunn, who helped push through the 1993 “don’t ask, don’t tell” law that established the terms under which gays and lesbians could serve in the U.S. military, said Tuesday that it’s time to review the policy.

“I think [when] 15 years go by on any personnel policy, it’s appropriate to take another look at it — see how it’s working, ask the hard questions, hear from the military. Start with a Pentagon study,” Nunn said.

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more about “Max Blumenthal: Generation Chickenhawk“, posted with vodpod

Generation Chickenhawk was a documentary by Max Blumenthal that was filmed at the 2007 College Republican National Convention in Washington, D.C. This film featured interviews with convention attendees, focusing on why they, as Iraq War supporters, had not enlisted in the armed services.

Col. Elspeth Ritchie, a doctor in the Office of the Army Surgeon General, discusses efforts to study and understand suicide among American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, Thursday, May 29, 2008, during a news conference at the Pentagon.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

AP: Army soldiers committed suicide in 2007 at the highest rate on record, and the toll is climbing ever higher this year as long war deployments stretch on.

At least 115 soldiers killed themselves last year, up from 102 the previous year, the Army said Thursday.

Nearly a third of them died at the battlefront — 32 in Iraq and four in Afghanistan. But 26 percent had never deployed to either conflict.

“We see a lot of things that are going on in the war which do contribute — mainly the longtime and multiple deployments away from home, exposure to really terrifying and horrifying things, the easy availability of loaded weapons and a force that’s very, very busy right now,” said Col. Elspeth Ritchie psychiatric consultant to the Army surgeon general.

“And so all of those together we think are part of what may contribute, especially if somebody’s having difficulties already,” she told a Pentagon news conference.