I’ve always been against women in the military, except in clerical and USO-style positions because there is little upside and a whole lot of downside. They get pregnant, and they’re of no use after that, or a poor baby suffers with some other caregiver. Or other “spectacular” results: we have Army cooks, like Shoshanna Johnson, in the war zone, and they get kidnapped in Iraq. Then, when we do something about it and risk other soldiers to find the women and get them back in a way we’d never do for male soldiers. And then they repay us by attacking other soldiers on CNN’s “Larry King Live” and defending Islamic terrorists like Nidal Malik Hassan.
Spc. Alexis Hutchinson: Using Her Baby Mama Status to Get Out of DutyOr we have incompetent soldiers like Jessica Lynch, who–after a ton of training–still don’t know how to load firearms correctly and use them, can’t read a map, and get lost. Then, we repeat by blowing our battle and security plans in order to find and rescue the female soldier. And they–at least, in Lynch’s case–get an undeserved affirmative-action-for-vulvas Bronze Star (and other unearned accolades and awards).
But those complaints don’t even take into consideration soldiers like Spc. Alexis Hutchinson, who are single mothers and jeopardize their kids’ well being if they go to war. Statistics show that a large number of female soldiers in the military are, indeed, single mothers, likely with no father figure in their kids’ lives. That’s bad enough. What happens if they die? What happens if they refuse to go when called up to go to war, using their kids as an excuse?
That’s what’s happening in Hutchinson’s case. Her story shows how much our military is hampered by and bends over backward for single mothers in its ranks. It’s absurd.
An Army cook and single mom is confined to her base in Georgia and may face criminal charges for skipping her deployment flight to Afghanistan in order to take care of her infant son.
Spc. Alexis Hutchinson, 21, who was arrested by military police Nov. 6, claims she had no choice but to refuse deployment orders when her mother was unable to care for her 10-month-old son, Kamani.
Her civilian attorney, Rai Sue Sussman, alleges that one of Hutchinson’s superiors at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Ga., told her she would have to deploy anyway and place the child in foster care.
No charges have been filed, but Kevin Larson, a spokesman for the Army post, says commanders are investigating, the Associated Press says.
Larson says he does not know what Hutchinson’s commanders may have said, but that the Army would not deploy a single parent who had nobody to care for a child.
Savannah’s WTOC -TV reports that Larson calls some of the statements from the Hutchinson camp “misleading” and says that the Army gave her an additional 30 days to work out a plan when her initial child care arrangements fell through.
At the time of Hutchinson’s arrest, Kamani, was placed into custody overnight with a daycare provider on the post, Larson says.Yup, you’re paying for full-time parents for single mothers in the military. It’s like paying double or triple for one largely useless soldierette. Are Army cooks such a hot commodity that the military is willing to go through all of this? This is the military, NOT Jean George or even Nobu.It’s time to ban single mothers–and perhaps any mothers of kids younger than their teens–from the military. It clearly exacts more costs and bureaucratic BS than it’s worth. And it harms the kids even more than they’re already harmed without having a father in their lives.There is no benefit to having single mothers in the U.S. armed forces. Period.
An Arab newspaper has reported that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu approved a prisoner exchange deal with Hamas terrorists that would eventually result in the return of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.
According to the report published Thursday in Al Manar, the prime minister agreed to carry out the first stage of the deal, in which Shalit will be transferred to Egypt.
The newspaper, which is distributed in Arab neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem, said the prime minister's approval for the deal came during a three-way meeting held recently between Israel's chief negotiator, Haggai Hadas, and the German mediator who has been working on the case.
David Baker, spokesman for the Prime Minister's Office, was tight-lipped when Israel National News asked about the deal, however. "We have no reaction to that report," he said firmly, and refused further comment.
The Arabic-language Alhurra network in the United States also reported Wednesday that a deal was imminent, possibly to be concluded as soon as Friday, November 27, the eve of the Muslim feast of the sacrifice of Ishmael, Id al-Adha.
The unconfirmed report said "hundreds of prisoners" from Israeli jails would be freed in exchange for the Israeli soldier in the first stage of the deal, which would bring Shalit to Egypt. In the second stage, Shalit would be transferred to Israel.
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said Wednesday during a visit to Israel that the involvement of a German mediator in the negotiations with Hamas was a positive move and that the French government did not want to interfere in the talks.
Shalit is a French national and holds dual Israeli-French citizenship. His father, Noam Shalit, had no comment on the reports, other than to tell reporters on Wednesday, "It's not over till it's over."
A senior Hamas terrorist has denied there has been any significant progress made on a prisoner exchange deal for the release of Shalit, being held hostage by the terror group in Gaza.
Salah Bardawil, who serves as a member of the PA Legislative Council, claimed that it is too early to talk about any specific date for a prisoner exchange.
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
In an interview with the New Statesman, the fourth eldest son of the world's most wanted man said that he "passionately wants to try to stop violence".
Asked whether he plans to enter politics or public life, Mr bin Laden said: "I do not believe that I would be a good politician – I have a habit of speaking the truth, even when it does not serve me well. But I would like to be in a position to promote peace. I believe that the United Nations would be ideal for me."
He said he ended contact with his father in April 2001 but that he was once asked to take up arms at a meeting with his fighters.
"His sons were in attendance, although none of us was a fighter," he said. "He spoke of how it is a great honour to give one's life for Islam and said anyone who wanted to give their life should put their name on a paper in the mosque.
"He never asked me to join al-Qaeda, but he did tell me I was the son chosen to carry on his work. He was disappointed when I said I was not suited to that life. I do not like disagreement or violence."
Mr bin Laden also described his memory of the 11 September 2001 attacks in America that his father is said to have carried out.
"I had been sound asleep and was woken by my uncle yelling: 'Look what your father has done!'," he said.
"I went into the sitting area and my family were gathered around the television. I soon learned that America was under attack. It was a very sad day."
"I did not agree with my uncle's reaction. I never thought my father was capable of the carnage in America – it was too big for his small organisation.
"I cannot speak for my father's family. This topic is too painful for us to talk about. We were all so shocked by the suffering of those poor people that, after that morning, none of us ever had a conversation about it."
Mr bin Laden's experiences have been documented in a book Growing Up Bin Laden, Osama's Wife and Son take us Inside their Secret World. He coauthored the book with his mother, Najwa, and best-selling writer Jean Sasson.
In the book, which was published last month by St Martin's Press, he describes his childhood as "sad and lonely" because of his father's "passion for supporting the Afghan people against the Russians".
He added: "Although my father was stern and did not hesitate to use his cane, there were good times when he stopped his war plans and played with us.
"My father could be very kindly and he was very close to his mother. I remember his face glowing with happiness when he was with her."
Israel's high rise buildings in Jerusalem are built out of Jerusalem stone, a beautiful natural building material that makes even the new city look gloriously resurrected from the very hills themselves. Obama is a Third World socialist, meaning that he sees everything through the lens of revenge against Western colonialism of the 19th century. Where Obama sees "settlements," Israelis see 900 units of beautiful high-rise buildings made out of the living rock of the land.Almost all Israelis serve in the army, and when you look at those stone buildings from a tactical viewpoint, as soldiers do, you see rank upon rank of defensive positions. Bullets don't penetrate those Jerusalem stone walls. Even radiation weapons only penetrate one or two ranks of buildings, allowing for defensive positions to be erected behind them. While nothing is impermeable to high explosives and powerful rockets, each row of high rises in Jerusalem can serve as a tactical fortification: a tank ditch, or a tactical position for a team of soldiers. Having seen a century of attacks from Arabs, the Israelis can't avoid thinking like that.Fifty miles south, Hamas still fires rockets at surrounding Israeli villages every week. A hundred miles north, Hezbollah has now been resupplied with tens of thousands of fresh, long-range missiles from Tehran. So where Obama looks at Israel like the Dutch settlers of South Africa, the Israelis see the battle of Stalingrad: A place where Israel may take its last stand against another wave of tanks and RPGs, and still turn the tide.The normally fractious Israelis have finally discovered a common enemy, and it's Obama. Politics in Israel is about as contentious as it gets without members of parliament coming to regular fisticuffs, Taiwanese-style. But now Obama has done the quarrelsome Israelis a favor, sort of. Ninety-six percent of the Israeli population believes that Obama is a threat to their survival. Israel is uniting against a common threat. Thank you, Mr. Obama.
"Israel is for the EU not a country like the others. There is no other country in the world with whom we have such visible and invisible links. Israel is part of our own history, our own culture and our own life."BRUSSELS (EJP, article by Yossi Lempkowicz) - An EU senior official said the European Union should upgrade its political and economic relations with Israel – frozen after the Gaza war in January - and grant this country the same status enjoyed by Norway.Speaking at an event dinner organized Tuesday in Brussels to mark the 50 years of diplomatic relations between the EU and Israel, Günter Verheugen, German Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for Enterprise and Industry, said: "We should give Israel a long-term and clear credible European perspective".The process of upgrading the EU's relations with Israel, decided last year, was put "on hold" after Israel’s operation against Hamas in Gaza and linked to the restart of Mideast peace talks. While not an EU member state, Norway required to adopt much EU legislation due to its participation in the European Economic Area (EEA), through the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). The country has also chosen for participation in many of the EU’s programmes, institutions and activities."Israel is for the EU not a country like the others. There is no other country in the world with whom we have such visible and invisible links. Israel is part of our own history, our own culture and our own life," Verheugen said."We cannot deliver hard security to Israel but we can strengthen our economic and political relations", Verheugen, who described himself as "definitely pro-Israel", added.
At the event, organized by the Mission of Israel to the EU and the Konrad-Adenauer Foundation, Stanley Fischer, Governer of the Bank of Israel, emphasized the "resilience" of his country’s economy, which has been less hit by the crisis, and said the success and vitality of the high tech sector in Israel "should be an example for Europe where it has been less successful". Israel’s ambassador to the EU, Ran Curiel, said EU-Israel relations are based on a long shared history of the Jewish people and Europe "with its lights and shadows"."We have much more in common than what may seem to separate us. The long-term interests of Israel and Europe are identical especially when it comes to the future of the Middle East. Israel and Europe both seek peace, stability and development."He noted that the political dialogue between Israel and Europe has improved substantially in the last couple of years. The EU and Israel are linked by an association agreement since 1995, which came into force in 2000. The EU is Israel’s main trading partner and Israel participates in several EU programs. Israel hopes that the upgrade of its relations with the EU would take place during Spain’s EU presidency in the first semester of 2010.
There’s a Nubian in the Fuel Supply
by Baron BodisseyWhen various cartoons and photoshop images depicting Barack Obama as a monkey appeared in the media and on the internet, consternation and outrage were aroused among the bien-pensants of the chattering classes.Insulting Mr. Obama in this fashion was not an Islamophobia issue (at least we hope it wasn’t). But what would happen if one Muslim happened to call another (somewhat browner) Muslim a monkey?This isn’t a hypothetical question, because a well-upholstered Lebanese songstress has just put her foot in it big time by referring to Nubians as monkeys.Nubians, as you may know, are black Egyptians, and lighter-skinned Egyptians have been known to refer to the Nubians as simians. But Ms. Wehbe used the phrase in a song lyric, and that simply won’t do.It’s worth remembering that Arabs have a somewhat less than respectful attitude towards African blacks. In fact, the Arabic word for African is aswad, which not only means “black”, but also “slave”.In other words, if they were Europeans or Americans, Arabs would officially be WAYCISTS!But since they’re “brown”, that isn’t possible. Not only that, Nubians are Muslims, so this can’t possibly be an Islamophobia issue.Here’s the story from the Grauniad:Nubian Fury at ‘Monkey’ Lyric of Arab Pop Star Haifa WehbeOne of the Arab world’s biggest pop stars has provoked a torrent of outrage after releasing a song which refers to black Egyptians as monkeys.Haifa Wehbe, an award-winning Lebanese diva who has been voted one of the world’s most beautiful people, is now facing a lawsuit from Egyptian Nubians claiming the song has fuelled discrimination against them and made some Nubian children too afraid to attend school.The row has cast fresh light on the position within Egyptian society of Nubians, who are descended from one of Africa’s most ancient black civilisations and yet often face marginalisation in modern Egypt.- - - - - - - - -Wehbe, a 35-year-old model turned actress and singer, is widely regarded as the Middle East’s most prominent sex symbol and has been no stranger to controversy in the past. Her skimpy outfits and provocative lyrics (one previous hit was entitled Hey, Good Little Muslim Boy) have earned her the wrath of religious conservatives and forays into the political arena have also sparked debate, including her very public praise for Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah during the 2006 conflict between Israel and Lebanon.The latest accusations of racism came after the release of her new song, Where is Daddy?, in which a child sings to Wehbe, “Where is my teddy bear and the Nubian monkey?”.Wehbe has since apologised profusely for the offending lyrics, insisting they were penned by an Egyptian songwriter who told her that “Nubian monkey” was an innocent term for a popular children’s game. That hasn’t stopped a group of Nubian lawyers submitting an official complaint to Egypt’s public prosecutor and calling for the song to be banned.“Everyone is upset,” said Sayed Maharous, 49, the Nubian owner of a coffee shop in Cairo. Adul Raouf Mohammed, who runs a nearby store, agreed. “To compare a human being to an animal is insulting in any culture. She has denigrated an entire community of people, and now some of our children are afraid to go into school because they know they will be called monkeys in the playground.”The row over Wehbe’s song has highlighted a growing sense of communal identity among Nubians in Egypt, a country where the government has traditionally promoted a very monolithic brand of nationalism, sometimes to the exclusion of religious or ethnic minorities.Despite breaking through into the cultural mainstream — several Nubian novelists are well-regarded within Egyptian intellectual circles and Nubian singers such as Mohammed Mounir are among the most popular in the country — Egypt’s estimated two million Nubians remain largely invisible on television and film, except as lampooned stereotypes.
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