After a detailed search, the Department of Defense released
names of 78 troops who will be attending the February 29 White
House dinner marking the end of the Iraq War.
But the most interesting thing about the event so far – titled
“A Nation’s Gratitude” and hosted by President Barack Obama – may
be the steps the DOD took to make it happen.
USA Today has a story about
the filtering process the Pentagon executed to make sure every
corner of America was seen in the faces of the service members
attending the dinner.
“Old, young, male, female, gay, straight. We wanted the entire
Pentagon spokesman Doug Wilson told CNN’s Security Clearance
blog. “That means all ranks, all branches of service, all
races. We wanted it to look like the battlefield in Iraq.”
Read the full list of invitees here.
It’s been a nightmarish 24 hours for American forces around the
Seven Marines were killed when helicopters collided over the
California desert Wednesday night and
two U.S. troops were killed in Afghanistan on Thursday amid
nationwide protests over improper disposal of Korans at Bagram Air
According to The Associated Press,
the helicopters collided during night training at the Yuma Training
Range Complex near the Arizona border. The area is used to
simulate flying conditions in Afghanistan.
Half a world away,
a NATO spokesperson confirmed to CBS News that two American troops
were killed by a man wearing an Afghan army uniform outside a
base in eastern Afghanistan during a riot over the alleged burning
of Korans earlier this week.
Afghanistan is demanding the NATO troops responsible for
the Koran incident be put on trial. President Barack Obama sent
Afghan President Hamid Karzai a letter apologizing for the
The Supreme Court will take a look at the Stolen Valor act
today, a law that criminalizes false claims about military
At the heart of the argument is whether or not a law—in this
case, one that President Barack Obama’s administration and
veterans’ groups consider narrowly crafted—can criminalize
someone’s speech. On the other side of the argument, civil
liberties groups, publishers and media entities are concerned the
law could lead to more government attempts to regulate speech.
According to Fox News, attorneys for Xavier Alvarez—who has been
prosecuted under the Stolen Valor Act—admit in their Supreme Court
brief that Alvarez is a liar, but argue his falsehoods caused no
Read more in
High court examines lying about military exploits.
In other news around the military:
One crisis management lesson that will be taken from the wars in
Iraq and Afghanistan is that bad news—even in a third-world
country—now travels faster than anyone can anticipate.
A violent protest occurred outside Bagram Air Base in
Afghanistan today after word spread that NATO troops had improperly
disposed of Islamic religious materials, including placing Korans
in an area where materials are burned. There is a dispute between
Afghans and Western officials over whether or not any Korans were
actually set ablaze.
Marine General John R. Allen—the American officer in charge of
operations in Afghanistan—released a statement apologizing for the
action, thanking Afghans on the base for stopping the burning when
they did, and promising an investigation.
Read more in
NATO Commander Apologizes for Koran Disposal in
In other news around the
- The U.S. Postal Service has
issued a series of stamps called Dogs at Work. One of the
stamps—seen here—features a dog working with troops downrange. The
stamps are 65 cents apiece and are good for sending first class
mail up to 2 ounces.