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ok, Capt B and Taco... You guys have anything to do with this?? (Yes, you did!)
This September, Senator John McCain's youngest son, Jimmy, 18, will report to a U.S. Marine Corps depot near Camp Pendleton in San Diego. After three months of boot camp and a month of specialized training, he will be ready to deploy. Depending on the unit he joins, he could be in Iraq as early as this time next year, and his chances of seeing combat at some point are high. Of the 178,000 active-duty Marines in the world, some 80,000 have seen a tour in Iraq or Afghanistan, and there are 25,000 bearing the brunt of some of the worst fighting in Iraq now. About 6,000 Marines have been wounded there, and about 650 have been killed. "I'm obviously very proud of my son," says the elder McCain, "but also understandably a little nervous."
McCain says he doesn't read much into Jimmy's decision. "I know that he's aware of his family's service background," he says, "but I think the main motivator was, he had friends who were in the Marine Corps, and he'd known Marines, and he'd read about them, and he just wanted to join up."
Couldn't agree more with Senator McCain here:
McCain says his son's service won't change his position on the war; he claims it won't even affect how he feels about it. "Like every parent who has a son or daughter serving that way, you will have great concern, but you'll also have great pride," McCain says.
Like his father before the Senator, I wouldn't want to be him...
But it will be hard to ignore. If Republicans retain control of the Senate after November's midterm elections, McCain is due to ascend to the chairmanship of the Armed Services Committee in January, a position he has long aimed for. There he will have day-to-day responsibility for the oversight of the war.
Oorah, James. Oorah. (and keep in mind that McCain has a 20 yr old son about to start his 2nd year at the Naval Academy...)
Read the whole TIME Mag story HERE
No wonder Ahmadinejad is taking so long to reject the nuke proposal ... He's busy in the "reading room"...
Iranian Leader: 'Pizza' to Be Called 'Elastic Loaves' in Foreign Word Ban Saturday, July 29, 2006
TEHRAN, Iran — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has ordered government and cultural bodies to use modified Persian words to replace foreign words that have crept into the language, such as "pizzas" which will now be known as "elastic loaves," state media reported Saturday.
The presidential decree, issued earlier this week, orders all governmental agencies, newspapers and publications to use words deemed more appropriate by the official language watchdog, the Farhangestan Zaban e Farsi, or Persian Academy, the Irna official news agency reported.
The academy has introduced more than 2,000 words as alternatives for some of the foreign words that have become commonly used in Iran, mostly from Western languages. The government is less sensitive about Arabic words, because the Koran is written in Arabic.
Among other changes, a "chat" will become a "short talk" and a "cabin" will be renamed a "small room," according to official Web site of the academy.
The headline reads: Army Dismisses Gay Arabic Linguist. As with most of these stories that make it into the news, the charge is that the soldier was "outed" by "anonymous sources" and it was these anonymous sources that formed the basis of his discharge.
Andrew Stuttaford of NRO opines that this is part of a "Sept 10th mentality" on the part of the Army.
Yet again, the policy on homosexuals in the military is reported on by those who haven't read it.
I write as one who is constantly briefing commanders on the policy (mostly in the context of trainees that think they can just say "I'm gay" and get out--sorry bucko).
As an initial matter, while the soldier was an Arab linguist, that was not his assignment at the time. He was assigned to the All-America Chorus (i.e. a singer), which is part of the 82nd Airborne Division but with a decidedly different mission.
So unless we're fighting the enemy with show-tunes, discharging this soldier is not part of some "Sept 10" mentality. Were the soldier actually working as an Arabic linguist at the time, perhaps you could make that argument. But as he wasn't, you can't.
For reference, here is the Army policy on homosexual conduct and the procedures by which allegations are investigated and substantiated:
The story contains several errors, the first being a fundamental misunderstanding of the Army policy:
(1) The policy does not discharge you for being homosexual. The policy mandates discharge for "homosexual conduct." Such conduct is defined as a statement ("I am gay"), act, or marriage. Statements of others that a soldier is gay doesn't count. Nor do rumor, opinion, or mere suspicion qualify as homosexual conduct.
You don't have to affirmatively state that you are homosexual to be discharged. But you do have to engage in homosexual conduct. You could be as gay as can be, but provided you don't actually act on it, you cannot be discharged under the policy. Additionally, you could have engaged in all sorts of homosexual conduct BEFORE joining the Army--the policy is only concerned with conduct occuring while you're in the Army. So statements like "I had lots of boyfriends before joining the Army" would not be grounds for discharge under the policy if there's no evidence that the soldier did anything while on Active Duty.
(2) The story also claims he was "outed" by several anonymous emails. There's a problem, anonymous sources are not a credible basis for discharge. Before an investigation can commence, there must be "credible information" that the soldier engaged in "homosexual conduct."
(a) Credible information is information coming from a credible source. For instance, a soldier goes up to his platoon SGT and says "I am gay"--the SGT goes to his company commander and reports what the soldier said. The Commander must determine first if the information (that the soldier made the statement) is coming from a credible source. (I.E. does he believe his SGT's story?) If so, then he can begin an investigation.
The problem with this story is that anonymous emails is not "credible information" as defined. The policy is specific on that point. So the fact that this soldier was discharged did NOT come from "anonymous emails"-- it came from the soldier's own sworn statement (i.e. under oath).
(3) Finally, the story claims that the soldier never admitted to anything, but his discharge was based on his own sworn statement:
Lt. Col. James Zellmer, Copas' commanding officer in the 313th military intelligence battalion, told the AP that "the evidence clearly indicated that Sgt. Copas had engaged in homosexual acts." While investigators were never able to determine who the accuser was, "in the end, the nature and the volume of the evidence and Sgt. Copas's own sworn statement led me to discharge him," Zellmer said.
Presumably when asked "did you engage in this specific conduct?" the soldier responded in the affirmative--or at least, provided enough of an affirmative response (as he refused to answer some questions)-- such that the recommendation for discharge was legally sufficient. (this story from a gay paper lays out some more "curious" details of the investigation: including the allegation by the soldier that he was "lured" into a chatroom where supposedly "Ft. Bragg officials" tried to get him to admit he was gay -- sure, why not not like your average 15-6 investigator has anything better to do...)
I understand objections to the policy (even if I don't agree with those objections)--but the policy is clear and far more protective of homosexual soldiers than is commonly portrayed. Accordingly, stories like this need to be taken with a fair amount of salt.
Tonight (Saturday) and Sunday at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET, CNN will air a special report on the October 23, 1983, bombing of the U.S. Marine Corps barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, that killed 241 service men and women.
I can tell you firsthand that this event pained Cap to his core; he was never really able to move beyond it.
He always felt that his strong, almost strident, warnings to the President should have somehow been even stronger.
As he wrote in his autobiography, In the Arena:
Our mission would be nebulous at best, with no way to tell when it was completed. Although I made these arguments repeatedly and forcefully, the president, unfortunately, concluded otherwise....I have never overcome the feeling that I somehow should have been more persuasive in urging the president not to engage in such a failed policy. The whole episode ingrained even more deeply in me the conviction that we should never commit troops into situations where the goals we give them are not clear and where the equipment we give them is not sufficient at least for self-defense.
As President Reagan later wrote in his autobiography, An American Life, "Every day since the death of those boys, I have prayed for them and their loved ones."
Then as now, sage counsel from both men.
This is a sad story. Good to remember that when it is all said and done, that guy that seems to win it all, have it all, and everything he touches turns to gold - in the end - just may want to trade places with you. What a loss for his kids, family and nation.
Now that the 172nd SBCT has been held in Iraq(Not the 10th or 101st) could the Grand Planners at the Pentagon finally admit that up-armoring Humvees is penny wise and pound foolish, and just spend the extra money for Strykers?
Excellent report on seaborne threats to Israel by Wolf Blitzer on CNN. Video here.
SEATTLE, July 28 (Reuters) - A woman was killed and five other women were wounded on Friday when a gunman opened fire at a Jewish organization in downtown Seattle that last weekend organized a rally in support of Israel.
Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle Vice President Amy Wasser-Simpson told the Seattle Times in a story on its Web site that a man got through security at the building and shouted, "I'm a Muslim American; I'm angry at Israel," then began shooting.
I'm starting to get frustrated with these clowns. Maybe we are just being too nice. Maybe the ROE in Iraq should be everytime an IED goes off withing 100 yards of a US Soldier, a Sunnie and Shiite Mosque is leveled. Everytime some Muslim angry at America hurts an American citizen, we drop a daisy cutter on Syria and Iran.
I wonder how co-operative Assad and that loon in Iran would get if we dropped some daisy cutters into the palace pool.All done!