Controversy is raging over whether there is room in the military for adult male fans of the kiddie cartoon show “My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic” after photos emerged on the Internet of service members wearing pony-themed rainbow patches on their uniforms.
While members of all military branches participate in the kooky pop culture phenomenon, which was created for children but whose messages of friendship and kindness have surprisingly resonated with an older male demographic, a National Guard soldier caused a furor after he was photographed at BronyCon, the fans’ largest gathering, in Secaucus, N.J., last month wearing a rainbow patch velcroed to his sleeve.
Operation Iraqi Freedom ended last week, but for the families of the four Americans still officially categorized by the U.S. government as missing in Iraq, the ceremonies marking the war’s end by no means meant the end of their search.
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ahmed Altaie and contractors Timothy Bell, Adnan al-Hilawi and Kirk von Ackermann are not home for Christmas. Nor do their families have answers about their disappearances, according to the government agency responsible for overseeing prisoner-of-war and missing-in-action cases.
The Pentagon has failed to act properly to investigate the 2,594 sexual assaults reported in 2010, a Government Accountability Office accused in a new report.
The Department of Defense Inspector General’s office is supposed to oversee all sexual assault investigations within the military, but none of the nearly 2,600 cases were passed through that office this year, the GAO said. The DOD was told to develop a policy for handling and investigating sexual assault cases in 2006, but has done none of this in the five years since.
The United States spends $20.2 billion annually on air conditioning for troops stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan — more than NASA’s entire budget, NPR reported.
In fact, the same amount of money that keeps soldiers cool is the amount the G-8 has committed to helping the fledgling democracies in Tunisia and Egypt.
It’s not uncommon for air travel passengers to complain about airlines’ baggage policies and treatment of customers, but when it’s members of the U.S. military coming home from Afghanistan raising complaints about unfair rules, the grievances tend to be amplified.
Items such as night vision goggles, pistols, field kits, boots, body armor, machinery and rations have gone missing around British military bases in the past year, and officials there say the disappearances are starting to add up.
“There’s enough military equipment to launch a small coup,” Luciana Berger, an MP, told The Guardian. “The list went on and on, and the one I asked for was restricted to those items worth more than £100, so it is likely that many other things were stolen.
“This list doesn’t include military bases abroad either. I will be laying down another question about that.”
A second attempt at a military cease-fire in Libya may be on the horizon, after Operation Odyssey Dawn began Saturday. Coalition military efforts have reportedly crippled Libya’s ground troops and air capabilities.
According to UKPA, the new cease-fire was issued under a general banner of the Libyan government, and Gaddafi was not named specifically.
“We, the Popular Social Leadership of Libya, recommend to the armed forces to announce an immediate ceasefire to all military units,” said a government spokesperson in Tripoli, after an afternoon of heavy artillery fire in the area.
UPDATE 12:45 p.m.: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appeared at the podium in Paris at 12:25 p.m. EST. She said that the Libyan government had “lost all legitimacy,” and listed the broad coalition of support for U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973, demanding a cease-fire in Libya.
“Yesterday, President Obama said very clearly that if Gaddafi failed to comply with these terms, there would be consequences,” Clinton said. “There has been some talk from Tripoli of a cease-fire, but the reality on the ground tells a very different story. Colonel Gaddafi defies the world. His attacks on civilians go on.”
“I’m tired,” the 63-year-old Whelan said. “I’ve been around a long time, and I think that I’m really tired of the propaganda that is given to the American population in lieu of the truth about what’s really going on.”
WASHINGTON–When President Barack Obama stood in front of cadets at West Point Military Academy in New York Tuesday night and announced that 30,000 more troops would be deployed to Afghanistan, he acknowledged that the move would not be universally popular. He said in his speech that the debate over the Iraq war — and by extension, the war in Afghanistan — has drawn the “dominant share of our troops, our resources, our diplomacy and our national attention.”
The “wrenching debate” will continue in the aftermath of the president’s address, even among members of Maine’s congressional delegation.