The battle for the Iraqi city of Tikrit is underway after more than a week of fighting between Iraqi army soldiers and Shiite militias against ISIS militants. Over 30,000 soldiers and militiamen backed by jets and helicopters launched a much-anticipated offensive against the ISIS forces currently in control of the city.
Over the last few years, the Obama administration has pushed hard to ensure that veterans receive preferential treatment in the hiring for federal jobs. This policy is meant to recognize the often-inherent disadvantage veterans have competing for civilian jobs after they leave military service. For post-9/11 veterans, their civilian counterparts were moving up the corporate ladder or completing college when they were undertaking multiple combat deployments.
On a day that marks the 150th anniversary of the signing of the first Geneva Convention, it is worth remembering that even warfare has limits. Signed in August 1864, the Geneva Convention was the first attempt by nation states to enshrine the obligation to spare and protect wounded soldiers, and the people who care for them. The signing created the foundations of international humanitarian law, which has since expanded into an inclusive body of law that protects non-combatants during periods of armed conflict.
In December of 1981, just a month before President Ronald Reagan took office, an NBC/Associated Press public opinion survey found that 76% of Americans believed that nuclear war was “likely” within a few years, an increase from 57% just six months earlier. As a result of skilled diplomacy and unconventional thinking, the Reagan administration was not only able to avoid a nuclear conflict with the Soviet Union, but by the conclusion of his presidency, the two Cold War adversaries were well on the path to a peaceful, negotiated solution to the nuclear arms race.
On the 4th of July, we celebrate the 241st anniversary of the signing of America’s Declaration of Independence, and the founding of the United States as an independent nation. The declaration, drafted by Thomas Jefferson, has become one of the most influential documents ever drafted in the English language.