House panel vote supports contempt vote for AG Holder.Fox: 'Holder has not yet been formally held in contempt of Congress. The full House would still need to approve the resolution in order for that to happen --Rep. Issa, R-Calif., suggested the vote can be avoided if the attorney general turns over more emails and memos about the botched anti-gunrunning operation Fast and Furious. Sources say other House Republican officials are also willing end to a potential constitutional confrontation if the documents are released. But the 23-17 party-line vote on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee marked a significant turn in lawmakers' 16-month investigation into operation Fast and Furious. ...'
Service members who report being sexually assaulted by a commanding officer or military colleague do so at their own peril. They face ridicule, demotion, investigation that includes a review of their sexual history and even involuntary discharge.
In 2006, when Marine Lt. Elle Helmer reported to her commander that a superior officer assaulted and raped her the night before, her colonel discouraged her from obtaining a rape kit. In spite of his objections, she sought a thorough medical investigation.
Helmer appealed to her rapist's supervisor, who still refused to press charges or significantly punish the assailant. He said, "You're from Colorado -- you're tough. You need to pick yourself up and dust yourself off. ... I can't babysit you all of the time." ...
From Oscar®- and Emmy®-nominated filmmaker Kirby Dick (This Film Is Not Yet Rated; Twist of Faith) comes The Invisible War, a groundbreaking investigative documentary about one of America's most shameful and best kept secrets: the epidemic of rape within the U.S. military. The film paints a startling picture of the extent of the problem-today, a female soldier in combat zones is more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire. The Department of Defense estimates there were a staggering 19,000 violent sex crimes in the military in 2010. The Invisible War exposes the epidemic, breaking open one of the most under-reported stories of our generation, to the nation and the world.
The 90-minute documentary opens with vintage military recruitment ads aimed at women from as early as the 1940s. They’re followed by clips of women military members talking about what drew them to a career in the military.
Quickly, the interviews turn serious, and we learn that each woman is a survivor of rape at the hands of another military member. Even though all love the military, each says she would not recommend the military as a career to any other woman until significant structural changes are made to prevent sexual violence.
The Department of Defense estimates that during 2010, as many as 19,000 [PDF] women were raped in the military. ...
A suspected Pakistani intruder was on Sunday shot dead by women constables of BSF [Border Security Force] near Dera Baba Nanak Sector of Punjab, while he was trying to sneak into the Indian territory.
"Two women BSF personnel of 74 Battalion noticed the movement nearby barbed wire on the border and they challenged the intruder to surrender as he was illegally trying to sneak into the Indian territory from the Pakistan side," DIG, BSF, P S Bains said. ...
Assistant Commandant Gen. Joseph Dunford told Marine Corps Times that the Corps is now “soliciting volunteers” amongst women Marines for the Infantry Officers Course, the necessary pathway in the service to becoming a combat leader. Additionally, the Corps is opening up about 400 non-infantry jobs previously reserved for men, including amphibious assault; artillery; and low-altitude air defense.
Previously, women officers in the Marines were sent into ostensibly non-combat roles, like logistics or maintenance. But the idea that, say, logistics doesn’t have a combat role doesn’t survive first contact with reality anymore. ...
The Corps has been studying this issue for more than a year. In February, officials announced that company-grade officers and staff noncommissioned officers would be assigned for the first time to select jobs previously open only to men, though not in the infantry or any billets for which ground combat is a primary mission. Starting in May, women will be considered for about 400 positions within six types of battalions:
Additionally, new functional fitness tests are being developed to help Marine Corps leaders determine how women and men perform in, and cope with, various combat tasks. The goal is to establish “gender-neutral” physical fitness standards. Details are scant, but the Marine Corps’ Training and Education Command is looking to purchase a variety of new equipment specifically for these tests, suggesting the tasks associated with them will closely mimic combat-essential duties such as operating and moving heavy weaponry, and carrying casualties from the battlefield.
Esther was born in Jerusalem to a religious family and at sixteen, moved with her family to the United States. She made history when she became the first religious Jewish girl to compete in the “America’s Next Top Model“. She was on the fast lane to becoming a supermodel when things changed last year, during a visit to Israel for the first time in four years. Following her trip Esther decided to make Aliyah and join the army. ...
The A-10 Warthog may be one of the slowest, ugliest planes in the Air Force, but it’s the best friend a soldier or Marine could have in a close fight. And it’s the last thing an enemy ever wants to see – especially if the pilot’s call sign stands for “Killer Chick.”
On April 7, 2003, then-Capt. Campbell and her flight lead responded to a call for air support in downtown Baghdad, where an elite unit of the Iraqi Republican Guard had U.S. forces pinned against the Tigris River. Campbell and her wingman faced bad weather before they dove out of the sky and devastated the enemy with rockets and the Warthog’s feared 30mm Gatling gun. After successfully hitting their targets, the pilots turned back toward base – and that’s when Campbell’s jet was rocked by a large explosion, and immediately began pulling to the left and toward the ground. With numerous caution lights flashing, the one that worried Campbell the most was the hydraulic lights. A quick check confirmed her suspicions: Her hydraulic system had been fried. She would later discover that one of her engines was badly damaged and the fuselage was riddled with hundreds of bullet holes.
Campbell quickly switched to manual inversion, allowing her to fly her Warthog under mechanical control. She then had a decision: try to fly 300 miles back to base, or parachute into hostile territory. This was dicey terrain, so she decided she had to make the flight. Despite the heavily damaged aircraft and terrible weather – including massive dust storms – “Killer Chick” persevered. With the help of a seasoned pilot on her wing, Campbell landed safely back at base – fully prepared to take to the skies again and unleash the Warthog, as well as her moniker, on any opposing forces.
For her actions and bravery, Campbell was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for Heroism.
If someone would have said, “Captain, what is the absolute LEAST thing you want to do while serving in Iraq?” I would have said, “I NEVER want to be a Battle Captain–I want to have boots on the ground–rally the troops in a blaze of glory–kick some doors in–wooohooo!” So, of course, that being the case, here I sit at 0250 AM, as the Battle Captain. I rarely see daylight so I look something like I just crawled out of a cave in order to stalk my next victim for chow–while all my buddies are sporting their “California” tans looking like they belong on the cover of a Maxim magazine. I have made close friends with the other Battle Captains because by nature of the job, we have to communicate quite frequently, even though I have never seen half of them in real life. The most excitement I have in a day consists of trying to beg my boss to let me leave the FOB ...
But that's the price to be paid for getting to see the "big picture".
Military spouse Balding Eagle posts an inspirational clip. You know the drill, clickee clickee. Trust me, it's worth it.
Zarqawi in Baghdad: Crisis management.Kat at The Middle Ground turns a manager's eye to recently captured enemy documents from Iraq. Here's her comment on a paragraph insisting on clear near-term planning: 'One, it says they are looking at long term battle even though they talk earlier about the "quick" victories. Two, if any of you have been through business planning or management strategy sessions or even "career planning", this comment comes right off the list of things you could be sure to hear. So, whoever wrote this little outline is not some schmuck mujihadeen from a sheep farm in western Iraq or a laborer from Saudi or Syria. As usual, the people running the mujihadeen are not "disaffected poor", but educated middle class or wealthy. This fellow has definitely been to management classes or worked in a business field as at least a low to mid-level executive. Three, the outline format with brief discussion points also shows someone that has been "in business" and knows that the only way to keep his leader's attention and the worker bees below him is to be brief (make your points in five bullet points or less).' Read Kat's full, highly detailed analysis at the link. Nutshell: 'Zarqawi is on the Offensive, but reducing it down to even smaller units, fewer targets and tactics designed to preserve his forces while trying to cut off the center and continue to press the civil war issue. His only problem now is, we've got his plan and probably a lot more where that came from. ...' (TMG)
ITM: Mutlaq, Fadheela parties walk out.Iraq the Model: 'A few issues are complicating the talks; Fadheela Party announced their boycott to the negotiations of allocating cabinet posts; meanwhile Salih al-Mutlaq's Dialogue Front is most likely to stay out of the formation as well. Of course this is in addition to the already existing points of difference regarding some major posts. These two blocs comprise 26 seats in the parliament, that's roughly 10% of the legislative body of Iraq, that's why such boycotting would undermine the image of the government that bigger blocs want to be viewed as a unity government. ...' Read the rest at the link. (ITM)
Debka: Somalis flee Mogadishu. Israeli-based Debka reports: 'Hundreds of Somalis flee embattled capital, Mogadishu. Six days of fierce fighting and indiscriminate shelling have left some 120 dead, most civilians, as an alliance of warlords battles Islamist militias for control of the city. UN observers report the Islamists are gaining ground. DEBKAfile adds: Wanted al Qaeda leaders are fighting with the “Islamic courts” militias, who accuse the United States of backing the Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terrorism. The US has not confirmed or denied backing the alliance of warlords but said it would "work with responsible individuals... in fighting terror.”' (Debka)
Free Alaa! Blogs across the globe support the jailed Egyptian blogger Alaa and his comrades in the struggle for freedom. Round-ups at The Belmont Club, The Middle Ground, and of course Sandmonkey who's sick and tired of playing games with the fascists. (various)
American women remember casualties. On June 23, 2005, a convoy of US Marines came under attack near Fallujah. This month's issue of Glamour covers the firefight:
... The adrenaline pumping through her body obviously masked her pain. Padmore handed her his own M16 and headed off to find other wounded marines, with the sound of Saalman firing her gun toward the insurgents ringing in his ears.
Harding, meanwhile, had rolled off the truck with only minor burns to her hand but quickly realized she, too, didn't have her weapon. With machine-gun fire all around her, she ran behind the flaming seven-ton to take cover, and there she came upon Cardile and Bringas. Both had badly burned hands, and their faces were blackened from the fire. Dazed, their throats raw from inhalation burns, they followed Harding to the shelter of a junkyard wall where other female marines were gathering.
Libby, who'd been knocked unconscious in the blast, awoke about 10 feet from the truck with her face planted in the earth. She looked up to see, inches from her nose, the unconscious body of Clark. "Come on, girl, you've got to get up," she yelled to Clark, then again, louder, "Girl, we've got to get up now." Clark didn't respond. Finally, Libby, suffering from a broken collarbone and a dislocated neck, shoved her hands under Clark's shoulders and began dragging her toward shelter. She got about eight feet before a male marine ran up and pulled her away, screaming at her to join the other female marines for her own safety. Looking behind her, her heart pounding, Libby trotted toward the wall, a horrible thought haunting each step: Was she leaving behind a fellow marine to die?
About eight minutes after the attack, there were five or six female marines huddled behind the junkyard wall. Harding, after guiding Bringas and Cardile to shelter, now started to venture out again to retrieve a body lying a few feet from the truck—and hesitated as she heard the bullets flying all around her. Then her training kicked in: Leave no one behind. It's something a marine is taught until she knows it the way she knows her home address, her best friend's phone number or the Lord's Prayer. She ran toward the body. It was a woman, but the burns and impact wounds had marred her features beyond recognition. Harding looked at the name tag on the uniform pocket. Charette. The ex-cheerleader. ...
Six US Marines - three women and three men - died in the battle. Read the full story at the link. (Glamour)
Rules of war?The Belmont Club has an unsentimental (dare we say cynical?) look at warfare: 'It's doubtful whether either the warlords or the Islamists have much regard for the Laws of War and one wonders what exactly the "U.N.-backed transitional government" actually does. British Defense Secretary John Reid created a stir by suggesting that the Geneva Convention be updated to reflect the realities of terrorism. "The legal constraints upon us have to be set against an enemy that adheres to no constraints whatsoever." It is probably fortunate that a European has posed this question because this ball really belongs in the court of the transnationalists. Any attempts to obtain realistic rules of engagement against terrorists by a US administration will be branded as fascistic.' Wretchard's closing question generates some creative responses in the Comments. (Belmont Club)
E-mail of the day. From Jonah's Military Guys: "You guys don't get PTSD, you GIVE it.. You're carriers. Some jihadist is going to be waking up with a cold sweat 30 years from now having nightmares about YOU." (Argghhh!)
Photo of the week.Blackfive has a Marine patrol boat on the Euphrates. (Blackfive)