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Tuesday, Jun 30th

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Chaplain violated Army rule in promoting book

Jesus was a US RangerAn active-duty Army chaplain with the elite 75th Ranger Regiment has published a book titled Jesus Was an Airborne Ranger and appeared in a promotional video in uniform to promote it, raising questions about the service endorsing Christianity as the Pentagon wages wars in Muslim countries.

Chaplain John McDougall recently returned from Afghanistan where he served as chaplain for the 75th Ranger Regiment. He wrote the book, he told the Army in a story published on its website, because "the Jesus of many churches is a weakling — someone our Rangers cannot relate to."

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Pentagon Adds 'Sexual Orientation' To Military's Anti-Discrimination Policy

Ashton CarterDefense Secretary Ashton Carter announced Tuesday that the Pentagon has added "sexual orientation" as a protected class under its Military Equal Opportunity Policy.

The policy identifies certain classes of people who should be protected from discrimination that prevents them from rising to the highest levels possible. Until now, the policy has been extended to people based on their race, religion, sex, age or national origin, but did not protect gay or lesbian military personnel from discrimination outside of their chain of command.

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U.S. Air Force introduces new policy preventing discharge of transgender troops

US Air ForceThe Air Force announced a policy Thursday that makes it more difficult to discharge transgender service men and women, offering greater protections against discrimination based on gender identity.

The move comes two months after the Army made a similar policy, inching the nation's military closer to allowing openly transgender troops. Before this new policy, soldiers diagnosed with gender dysphoria, or those who identify as the opposite sex, were discharged from service based on medical grounds with decisions made by doctors and unit commanders. A psychologist or psychiatrist had to approve any recommended discharge over gender dysphoria, and a unit commander had to determine if the condition disrupted the individual's performance.

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The Risk of Over-Thanking Our Veterans

miliary medalsTraveling through an airport recently, I witnessed a now-commonplace ritual: military personnel getting head-of-the-line privileges in the boarding area. As we complete the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, one of the legacies of the longest war in our history is how the public has rallied to support those who served.

While this can seem superficial at times, there is not a vet alive who would prefer the other extreme. My father served in Vietnam, and the welcome home his generation received was a national disgrace.

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Chelsea Manning reveals threats of 'disappearing' at Guantánamo Bay

Chelsea ManningThe American soldier Chelsea Manning has accused US military guards of threatening her with exile to Guantánamo Bay without trial or acknowledgment of her gender transition after she was apprehended as the source of one of the largest leaks of state secrets in history.

Writing in the Guardian from prison at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, where she is serving a 35-year sentence, Manning marked the fifth anniversary of her military custody on Wednesday with the most personal first-hand account she has yet given of the “physical and emotional rollercoaster” of a whistleblower behind bars.

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US military accidentally shipped live Anthrax to nine labs

anthraxThe US military accidentally sent live Anthrax samples to as many as nine labs across the country.  There were no public threats from the mishap, a defence official said on Wednesday.

A US Defense Department laboratory in Utah had "inadvertently" shipped the samples to commercial labs.

Government health authorities are testing the samples. All Anthrax samples are believed to be secured, and there are no known exposures.

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The $25 Million Building in Afghanistan Nobody Needed

Afgnaistan boondoggleThis is a story about how the U.S. military built a lavish headquarters in Afghanistan that wasn’t needed, wasn’t wanted and wasn’t ever used—at a cost to American taxpayers of at least $25 million.

From start to finish, this 64,000-square-foot mistake could easily have been avoided. Not one, not two, but three generals tried to kill it. And they were overruled, not because they were wrong, but seemingly because no one wanted to cancel a project Congress had already given them money to build.

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