Mack Owens reports on the Army’s possible backdoor attempt to sneak women into combat, as unearthed by Elaine Donnelly’s Center for Military Readiness:
The U.S. Army is quietly making a radical change in its personnel policy that may well see the 3rd Infantry Division redeploy to Iraq early next year with mixed-sex support companies collocated with combat units. The move violates not only Defense Department regulations, but also the requirement to notify Congress when such a change goes into effect.
The Army’s defense of its actions has been disingenuous. On one hand, the Army claimed in May that there were “insufficient male soldiers in the Army to fill forward support companies,” and therefore it “cannot support elimination of female soldiers from all units designated to be UA elements.” But if the Army knew about this back in May, why didn’t it ask Congress for more recruits at the time? One cannot escape the conclusion that the Army’s position appears to be that we don’t have enough young men to fight our wars, so women must be integrated into fighting units by subterfuge and sleight-of-hand.
But then, on the other hand, an Army spokesman recently told Rowan Scarborough of the Washington Times that the policy of prohibiting women from serving in units supporting ground-combat formations is outdated. Today, said the spokesman, the threat is “asymmetrical… There is no front-line threat right now” since all soldiers, support or combat, face rocket, mortar, and roadside-bomb attacks, as well as ambushes.
First and foremost of my objections: if these allegations are true then the Army is breaking the law. Even if I agreed with the Army’s goal (which I don’t), I’d oppose their methods here. The senior officials responsible for this sleight-of-hand need a public and permanent reminder about civilian control of the American military.
Lt Col Dave Bellon sent another e-mail to his folks from Fallujah, dated November 19th. It relates some of what he saw in the battle there, and includes some photographs.
Immediately following 3/5’s attack on the apartment buildings, 3/1 took the train station on the north end of the city. While the engineers blew a breach through the train trestle, the Cavalry soldiers poured through with their tanks and Bradley’s and chewed an opening in the enemy defense. 3/1 followed them through until they reached a phase line deep into the northern half of the city. The Marine infantry along with a few tanks then turned to the right and attacked the heart of the enemy defense. The fighting was tough as the enemy had the area dialed in with mortars. 3/5 then attacked into the northwest corner of the city. This fight continued as both Marine rifle battalions clawed their way into the city on different axis.
There is an image burned into my brain that I hope I never forget. We came up behind 3/5 one day as the lead squads were working down the Byzantine streets of the Jolan area. An assault team of two Marines ran out from behind cover and put a rocket into a wall of an enemy strongpoint. Before the smoke cleared the squad behind them was up and moving through the hole and clearing the house. Just down the block another squad was doing the same thing. The house was cleared quickly and the Marines were running down the street to the next contact. Even in the midst of that mayhem, it was an awesome site.
The fighting has been incredibly close inside the city. The enemy is willing to die and is literally waiting until they see the whites of the eyes of the Marines before they open up. Just two days ago, as a firefight raged in close quarters, one of the interpreters yelled for the enemy in the house to surrender. The enemy yelled back that it was better to die and go to heaven than to surrender to infidels. This exchange is a graphic window into the world that the Marines and Soldiers have been fighting in these last 10 days.
Read the whole thing at The Green Side.
As always, you can get your Fallujah data dump at The Adventures of Chester, Winds of Change, and here.
I found this footage on The Drudge Report. God bless our troops and grant them victory.
Winds of Change has the best Battle of Fallujah round-up I’ve seen yet.
The Command Post brings you a handy comprehensive briefing on The Battle of Fallujah.
Carnivorous Conservative outdoes himself with this original graphic combining an open-source satellite photo with info from news reports. It’s a very informative snapshot of the situation as of 8:30 PM, EST.
And people wonder why I’m a blog junkie?
Hat tip: Chester (who’s liveblogging the battle as I suspected he would).
I’m just guessing here, but don’t be surprised if Chester and Carnivorous Conservative team up again tonight to cover the latest (and hopefully last) developments in the Battle of Fallujah. They started at about this time last night, so stay tuned …
Look at this map from GlobalSecurity.org, then read The Belmont Club’s description of what sounds like the endgame in Fallujah.
Remember the Highway of Death?
Winds of Change has a multi-week roundup on The Battle of Fallujah.
Our troops are advancing faster than we’d planned, killing more of the enemy than we’d expected, losing fewer of ours than we’d feared, and might be wrapping up Fallujah more swiftly than we’d dreamed.
To sift through what bits of information manage to leak out of Fallujah, read The Command Post.
If liveblogging with on-the-fly analysis is your bag, then The Adventures of Chester is your one-stop shop.
The Belmont Club pulls some loose threads together to make educated guesses about the unfolding battle.
Want maps and satellite photos? Two words: Carnivorous Conservative.
For your inspiration, Blackfive has video of Marines singing in Fallujah.
And please … say a prayer today, OK? Froggy Ruminations has an appropriate one.
The Army has one airborne division, the 82nd. They used to have a battalion of light tanks that accompanied them into battle. Used to.
I’m a Coastie, so my expertise in Army matters is roughly nil. However, my father was in the 82nd and told me all about it when I was a kid, and I’ve always loved reading military history … concerning all branches, not just my own. So I may not know much, but I do know the 82nd Airborne needs some light armor … and an M1 Abrams is too darn big and heavy for their purposes.
Enter the M8 Buford.