Military

Creative Commons

Islamic militants are slowly gaining more control of Iraq. 

The group known as the Islamic State is asserting its will in the northern part of the country. It has made Mosul its de facto capital, and has driven thousands of Christians out of the city.

But the battle is not just sectarian, it is political.

The U.S. has been unsuccessful in its push for the Shiite majority to be more inclusive toward Sunnis and Kurds, and some say a one-state solution cannot work.

headshot of ethicist David Gushee
theology.mercer.edu

Many have criticized the American government's use of torture since 9/11 including military experts who say it it is ineffective. But for Christian ethicist David Gushee, the very question of effectiveness is a degrading one. He believes the usefulness of a behavior does not affect its morality. 

Gushee is part of the non-governmental, bipartisan Task Force on Detainee Treatment, convened by the Constitution Project. Gushee speaks tonight at 7pm at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh. A declassified report on CIA torture is expected to be released by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence later this summer. 

Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl
Wikipedia

A deal reached by the White House allowed for the release of American POW Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl this week.

In exchange, five Taliban prisoners were released from detention at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The decision has prompted reaction from members of the military and Congress.

Teachers at North Carolina's military bases are preparing for up to five furlough days due to cuts from the sequester
Fort Bragg

Jasmine Pollard is an Army reservist. She had just gotten back from a nine-month deployment when she and her now wife decided to marry. The ceremony was in California, a state that allows same-sex marriages.

Her wife also serves. She's a medic stationed at Fort Bragg. So Jasmine, 20, decided to move back East so they could be together. She'd hoped to go to school, taking advantage of a federal law the says military dependents can receive in-state tuition rates.

She ran into problems.

She called Fayetteville State University to ask about the waiver.

The official statement might be the most passive aggressive technique in politics. And right now, there's a lot of passive aggression in the world of veterans affairs.

A field of flags outside the Airborne and Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville, NC.
Gerry Dincher / Flickr/Creative Commons

People will gather across the state for Memorial Day ceremonies honoring men and women who died in service to the US military.

Governor Pat McCrory and the commander for Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune will gather for a ceremony at the Battleship North Carolina in Wilmington.

During World War II, the battleship participated in every major naval offensive in the Pacific, survived a broadside torpedo attack, and earned 15 battle stars.

Marine Brigadier General Robert Castellvi said the armed forces are facing new issues since the time the North Carolina sailed.

Expert Infantry / Creative Commons

Women are still excluded from certain areas of military service, but the Department of Defense has given branches until 2016 to eliminate "unnecessary gender-based barriers to service". Now, bases are evaluating how women fare during training that was reserved for men.

Camp Lejeune is studying enlisted female Marines who have passed their first 29 days of general training and volunteer for another 30 days of specialized training. At the end of it, their male peers can become machine gunners and missile men.

Air Force airmen lay sandbags to protect against a flooding disaster in MO in 2011.
Dept. of Defense

Climate change and the way we use energy are threats to national security, according to group of U.S. military generals at the nonprofit CNA Corporation.

Their research shows stronger storms will likely divert more troops to humanitarian missions and American dependence on fossil fuels forces convoys to routinely transport fuel through dangerous areas.

Host Frank Stasio talks with retired Lt. Gen. Richard Zilmer, a member of the Military Advisory Board at CNA Corporation.

A picture of lights on a police car.
Alejandro Mejía Greene/JubiloHaku / Flickr

Police and community leaders in Fayetteville are working on a local incarnation of the Silent Siren program to help veterans in an emergency.

Fayetteville police responded last week to a call from a woman whose husband, a soldier, was parked outside a Walmart threatening to kill himself. Police approached the stand off without lights, sirens and shouting.  They were able get the soldier help.

Fayetteville wants to expand that gentle approach for emergencies involving veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or traumatic brain injury.

A picture of the Airborne logo.
The US Army Institute of Heraldry / US Army

All American Week gets underway today at Fort Bragg to honor members of the 82nd Airborne Division. 

Events begin this morning with a four-mile division run with 20,000 participants. 

Wednesday is International Day, where military leaders from US allies will be invited to tour the base and attend a ball in the evening. 

Lieutenant Colonel Bob Risdon said the culminating events will be held Thursday when thousands will turn out to see the Division Review.

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