It apparently takes more than a few good men, according to the U.S. Marine Corps. It takes all kinds of people to support military families, including same-sex spouses of service members.
CNN published a story this week about a woman married to a female lieutenant colonel at Fort Bragg who believes she was rejected from an officers' spouse club because she's gay. Less than a day later, Maj. Gen. Vaughn Ary advised Marine Corps legal staff such clubs conducting business on its bases must admit same-same spouses. If they do not, the clubs will be barred from meeting on any Marine Corps installation. Read the full story
A gay member of the military and her spouse's experience may reflect a struggle at the nation's military bases to adapt culturally to the legal changes brought on by 2011's repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy.
Though gay people can now serve openly, the military doesn't formally recognize same-sex marriage under the federal Defense of Marriage Act, a law passed in 1996 that denies many benefits to same-sex spouses. One of those benefits is military IDs.
In 2008, U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens warned in a diplomatic cable about a growing jihadist group in Derna, operating not far from Benghazi.
Stevens was killed this week in an attack that U.S. sources tell CNN was planned by a pro-al Qaeda group of extremists.
In his 2008 missive, Stevens wrote about the group, apparently operating in the port city of Derna.
"One Libyan interlocutor likened young men in Derna to Bruce Willis' character in the action picture "Die Hard", who stubbornly refused to die quietly," Stevens wrote.
Libya has been in a "very fragile" state of security for a while, and the U.S. and international community failed in paying the country consistent and adequate attention so that it would grow stronger since the killing of its longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi in October 2011.
That's according to Fran Townsend, a former Homeland Security adviser to President George W. Bush and current CNN contributor who spoke Wednesday morning in the wake of the death of J. Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya. Stevens was killed in an attack on a diplomatic facility in Benghazi on Tuesday.
Libya "really needs the attention and support of the international community," Townsend said. "Unfortunately it will now get the attention it needed before this tragedy."
"I think we [the United States] have supported the freedom movement [throughout the region], especially in Libya," Townsend said. "We supported the strikes. We were a part of the effort by NATO. But it's not enough, right? It's not enough to help people actually get their freedom, overthrow a government. You're going to have to come in behind them and help them as a fledgling democracy." FULL POST
Editor's note: Watch Barbara Starr's report on Sanjay Gupta MD (Saturday at 430pET/Sunday at 730aET).
By Ashley Fantz, with reporting from Barbara Starr and Larry Shaughnessy
If it were a movie, the moment would play slowly.
The big, boyish eyes of 23-year-old Marine Cpl. Winder Perez would widen. His lips would part. The sound of chaos around him would be muted as he watched a rocket-propelled grenade zooming toward him.
Then, snapped back to real time, Perez would look down and think: "Oh, crap! I have an RPG in my leg!"
By Ashley Fantz
A former spokesman for Iran's nuclear program whose life was turned upside down when President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused him of spying still vigorously defended his homeland's nuclear efforts on Tuesday.
Sayed Hossein Mousavian stressed that the West is making a mistake in believing that Iran is making a bomb, or that the country has nefarious intentions with its nuclear plan.
Mousavian, an associate research scholar at Princeton, spoke for an hour at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington.
He repeatedly said that the West, particularly the United States, must recognize Iran's right to build its nuclear program and that the United States and Iran would be better served if they were less suspicious of each other. He also argued that the international community should ease sanctions against Iran. FULL POST
Editor's Note: After Kim Jong Il's death brought tears in North Korea and caused concern for South Korea, we're taking a look at the secretive nation from the view of those who have traveled there.
The first time that Brit Simon Cockerell visited North Korea, he noticed how clean it seemed. The air was not polluted like in Beijing, where he has lived since 2000. Another curiosity also struck him: In the capital of Pyongyang, there were no advertisements or billboards, and there was no traffic.
One of the rare times one might see North Koreans out and about during the day is when co-workers are doing aerobics with their "work unit" in the morning, he said. Around lunchtime, workers might venture outside again, perhaps stringing up a net or marking a line in the street to play a quick match of volleyball before returning to the grind.
"It's a place that can seem very dead during the week. There are a few bars in Pyongyang, but they close around 10 p.m. There are no crowds. And this is odd, because there are 3 million who live in that city," said Cockerell, who has visited North Korea more than 100 times.
"There isn't any hustle or bustle. Everything is a five-minute drive away. You wind up, typically, on your first day saying to yourself, 'Bloody hell, I'm in North Korea, where is everyone?'" Read the full story
Before suspected WikiLeaks leaker Bradley Manning was arrested in May 2010, numerous military personnel considered the young soldier to be mentally unstable, immature and potentially dangerous to himself and others, a new court filing by his defense team says. Read the entire document
The 23-year-old Army intelligence specialist exhibited behavior that should have prompted his superiors to take his weapon and block his access to classified material, according to a 20-page witness list filed last week in the case and published on a blog written by Manning's attorney, David Coombs.
Warnings and concerns about Manning's mental health were either ignored or were not passed up through the chain of command, the document says.
The Army private is due at Fort Meade, Maryland, on December 16 for an Article 32 hearing, a military version of a civilian arraignment. But unlike a civilian hearing, it often includes a considerable amount of testimony and presentation of evidence. The military has said the hearing is expected to last five days. A military officer will decide if Manning will face a court-martial.
Manning faces violations of military law, including aiding the enemy, stealing records, transmitting defense information and fraud. If convicted, he could go to prison for life. He has been held for more than 18 months in military custody and is currently behind bars at Fort Leavenworth prison in Kansas.
By CNN's Ashley Fantz
This week the U.S. Justice Department accused an Iranian-American, who allegedly has ties to Iran's elite Quds Force, of attempting to hire a man he thought was a Mexican cartel hitman to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States.
Some question the plausibility of the circumstances that prosecutors have described involving Manssor Arbabsiar, a 56-year-old used-car salesman from Texas.
The alleged plot, if proven, would be but one of several terror schemes hatched by American citizens that were intended to occur on U.S. soil but were not carried out.
Iran's secretive Quds Force is the elite special operations unit of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard. The most militant wing of the Guard, Quds has reportedly carried out covert operations in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Iraq.
The United States has accused it of aiding insurgent groups behind attacks on U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, Jane's global security site reports.
On Tuesday, the FBI and the DEA announced that they had disrupted a plot to commit terrorism inside the U.S., specifically that elements of the Iranian government were involved in a plan to kill Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. Adel Al-Jubeir.
CNN's Barbara Starr explained the connection between Saudi Arabia and Iran, noting that there has been bad blood between the countries for some time.
Al-Jubeir is close with Saudi King Abdullah and works at the behest of the royal family. He is a visible, highly respected diplomat.
Saudi Arabia has publicly criticized the violence in Syria, Starr explained.
"The Quds Force is essentially looking at Syria as one of its satellite states for the last many years," she said, using the country "as a place from which to launch attacks, to support terrorism ... to run weapons all over the world."