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FACEBOOK Chat 21 January 2013
MOOT on COMBAT
Veteran Military Correspondent Joe Gallow Says Women Have Been in Combat Since 2003
- Joseph Galloway Was asked to write a few lines with my thoughts on women in combat, so here is:Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's decision to lift the official ban on women serving in combat is long overdue, since American women have been serving in combat since the beginning of the Iraq War in 2003. Scores of women have given their lives in combat; hundreds have been wounded or injured; thousands have pulled tours every bit as dangerous as the ones men serve.
Secretary Panetta's action recognizes the reality on the ground in Iraq and now in Afghanistan, but it will open up several combat occupation specialties to women, as deserved, and clear career paths to easier promotion to high ranks.
Most important, this decision levels the playing field so that women who meet both physical requirements and training standards have the same opportunities as anyone else wearing our country's uniforms.
I could name half a dozen military women I have met in recent years who not only meet but exceed those standards, and I would be proud to share a foxhole or bunker with them in any combat zone. West Point and Annapolis and the Air Force and Coast Guard academies turn out a wonderful annual crop of ever-stronger, ever-better women officers.
Those among them who choose a combat MOS (military occupational specialty) and meet the standards have earned the opportunity to serve and be fully recognized for that service.
His public comments came a day after the paper suspended Mexico bureau chief William Booth for lifting four sentences without sourcing them to a recent academic journal article. Booth was suspended for three months without pay, the Post reported Friday in an article detailing the incident."This is the third column I have written about plagiarism at the Post since I began as ombudsman, and there was a fourth case last September, while I was away, that I neglected," Pexton, who was named ombudsman in February 2011, wrote. "This indicates a problem that The Post needs to address, not just after the fact but also before it. The Post’s standards on this point are clear; they’re not at fault. They call plagiarism 'one of journalism’s unforgivable sins.'"
He suggested that the Post could begin firing staffers for first-time plagiarism offenses, but said that zero-tolerance policies are rarely effective.
Also read: Washington Post Suspends Mexico Bureau Chief for Plagiarism
"Should we just throw up our hands and blame it on new technologies that make vast tracts of information easily available for instant cutting and pasting?" he said. "I’m not buying it."
Booth, a well-respected veteran of the Post's staff, copied four lines from an article in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives by University of Southern California professor Andrea Hricko, who Pexton said sent him and other Post editors side-by-side comparisons of her and Booth's sentences two days after the story was printed. Of the five passages she believed he plagiarized, the Post concluded that four were copied and took swift action.
New executive editor Martin Baron and Booth wrote separate personal letters of apology to Hricko, who told TheWrap on Thursday that she felt the paper "acted with integrity and responsibility."
Booth called the ethical breach a "very serious lapse" but said in a public apology, released by the Post, that it was accidental.
His story, which ran on A1 of the Sunday, Dec. 13 paper, described the expansion of the Panama Canal and the need for larger cargo ships.
The Post on Friday provided examples of the stolen material. In them, Booth appeared to have altered the sentences and changed certain clauses, but the resemblance is apparent.
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Guantanamo prosecutor wants conspiracy charge dropped in 9/11 caseMIAMI -- The chief prosecutor for the Guantanamo war crimes tribunal recommended on Wednesday that the Pentagon drop a conspiracy charge against five prisoners accused of plotting the September 11 attacks on the United States in 2001.
The prosecutor, Brigadier General Mark Martins, expressed doubts that the conspiracy charge would withstand legal appeal.
If that charge is dropped, the defendants would still face seven other charges in the tribunal at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base in Cuba, including charges of murdering 2,976 people in the attacks, carried out by al-Qaida operatives using hijacked planes.
They could still be executed if convicted of planning and executing the attacks that propelled the United States into an ongoing global war against al-Qaida and its affiliates.
The defendants include the accused mastermind of the September 11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who is alleged to have been al-Qaida's operations chief.
Defense lawyers had long argued that conspiracy was not recognized as a war crime when the attacks occurred in 2001. The defendants are being tried under a law passed by the U.S. Congress in 2006 and revised in 2009, which designated conspiracy and providing material support for terrorism as war crimes.
In October, a U.S. appeals court in Washington struck down the material support conviction of deceased al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden's driver, former Guantanamo prisoner Salim Hamdan, on grounds that the charge could not be applied retroactively to events that occurred in 2001 and earlier.
A pending appeal on behalf of another Guantanamo convict, al-Qaida videographer Ali Hamza al Bahlul, was expected to bring a similar ruling on the conspiracy charge.
Martins said dropping the conspiracy charge from the 9/11 case "would remove an issue that could otherwise generate uncertainty and delay resulting from prolonged litigation in the ongoing capital prosecution."
He made the request to the Pentagon appointee overseeing the Guantanamo prosecutions, retired Vice Admiral Bruce MacDonald.
"There is a clear path forward for legally sustainable charges," Martins said in a news release. "The remaining charges are well-established violations of the law of war and among the gravest forms of crime recognized by all civilized peoples."
The defendants are accused of recruiting, training and funding the hijackers who slammed commercial jetliners into the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon and a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
They were captured in 2002 and 2003 and held in secret CIA prisons before being sent to a detention camp at Guantanamo in 2006. Efforts to prosecute them have moved in fits and starts amid controversy over the fairness of the tribunals set up to try non-U.S. citizens outside the regular court system.
The five men are scheduled to appear before a military judge on January 27 for the next pre-trial hearing at Guantanamo.
Mohammed and his nephew, defendant Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, are Pakistani citizens. The other defendants are Yemeni citizens Walid bin Attash and Ramzi Binalshibh, and Saudi captive Mustafa al Hawsawi.
The remaining charges against them are attacking civilians and civilian objects, murder in violation of the law of war, destruction of property in violation of the law of war, hijacking aircraft, intentionally causing serious bodily injury, and terrorism.
Martins said that dropping the conspiracy charge now "would reduce the potential risks in the prosecution of the 9/11 attacks and allow the case to move forward without unnecessary delay."
Only seven cases have been completed in the Guantanamo court and four of them involved only charges of conspiracy and material support.
Related stories:Conviction of Osama bin Laden driver thrown out by appeals court 9/11 mastermind, alleged accomplices return to Guantanamo courtGuantanamo detainee found dead; Navy investigating
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