FROM James Bowman
Another Gender Barrier Is about to Come Down Defense Secretary Leon Panetta made a historic announcement today when he lifted the ban on women in combat , at the request of a unanimous Joint Chiefs of Staff. In fact, the nature of modern warfare already puts women in combat, where they've earned purple hearts and medals of honor, been wounded and died. But opponents are adamant, based on physical strength, sexual distraction and traditions of male camaraderie as old as the practice of warfare itself. We hear the arguments of both sides as the Pentagon prepares to implement a historic change. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta hands Army Lt. Col. Tamatha Patterson his signed document lifting the Defense Department's ban on women in direct ground combat roles. DOD photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo
'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' on a Legal Rollercoaster Last month, Federal Judge Virginia Phillips declared that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" deprives gays and lesbians of equal rights under the Constitution, and further deprives the military of highly qualified officers. Ten days ago she ordered the Pentagon to stop enforcing the law, allowing openly gay and lesbian recruits to volunteer. Two days ago an appellate court temporarily suspended her order. Yesterday, the Pentagon said it would clear up the confusion by limiting the power of discharge to the secretaries of the Army, Navy and Air Force. Will a President who says he opposes the law tell the secretaries what to do? Will the lame-duck session of Congress repeal the law before it gets to the US Supreme Court? We hear what it's like for gays, lesbians and their comrades who are serving now, with all three branches of government trying to decide what to do.
'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Comes Out of the Closet At a gay rights dinner on Saturday night, President Obama repeated a promise he made during last year's campaign, to revoke Bill Clinton's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. Now, from the Pentagon's highest levels comes a call for repeal of the ban against homosexuals in the military. An article for the Joint Chiefs of Staff says there's "no scientific evidence" that gays and lesbians damage morale."
'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Comes Out of the Closet At a gay rights dinner on Saturday night, President Obama repeated as promise he made during last year's campaign, that of ending the exclusion of gays in the military. Obama could revoke Bill Clinton's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," policy, but it will take an act of Congress to repeal the ban. Hard-line activists say Obama is moving too slowly, but now from the Pentagon's highest levels comes a call for the repeal of the ban. An article for the Joint Chiefs of Staff says there's "no scientific evidence" that gays and lesbians damage morale," but that, in the meantime, they're required to live a lie. Is Congress likely to listen?
Mixed Messages from US diplomats on the new hard line on Syria Since President Trump's surprise retaliation against Syria's use of chemical weapons, Bashar al-Assad has used the same airport to launch conventional attacks on his own people. It's not clear what the US, its allies — or Vladimir Putin's Russia -- plan to do now.
The flight bumping heard around 'round the world Recent video of a passenger forcibly removed from a United Airlines plane is a worst-case example of what's happened since consolidation into just four US-based carriers. Management seems to be tone-deaf to a decline in service — and even abuse — of passengers.
White House flip flops: NATO, Syria and China In less than 100 days, President Trump has contradicted himself on a host of foreign policy issues — Syria, NATO, China and Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Is it a strength — or a weakness — for the United States when the world of power politics never knows what to expect?