November 30th, 2009
10:17 AM ET

Morning Buzz: Women breaking the combat barrier

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Eliza Browning
AC360° Associate Producer

During the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, American women in the military have quietly been proving themselves as never before. These are the first wars in which women in the American military have lived and fought alongside men for long periods of time – and some say they could not fight these wars without them. Recently, it was announced that the nation’s top drill sergeant is now a woman.

Even in the field many women have taken on roles that were often seen as taboo in the past, as the necessity of manpower means they are called upon for duties previously set aside for male colleagues. But has their pioneering work come at a price? Do they receive the same support as their male counterparts? We'll talk to women in the military about how they are breaking barriers tonight at 10 p.m. ET.

Tomorrow evening, President Obama will deliver an address at West Point Military Academy to announce his plans to send thousands of additional U.S. military troops to Afghanistan. More than 900 American soldiers have lost their lives in Afghanistan, and October was the deadliest month since the start of the war in 2001, with 74 U.S. soldiers killed. According to numerous reports, the wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq have cost $768.8 billion dollars. Will Obama face resistance from lawmakers on Capitol Hill?

In addition to troop deployments, President Obama is expected to talk about how Afghanistan’s President, Hamid Karzai, has agreed to help and what kind of assurances the U.S. has received from his government to crack down on corruption. What role will Pakistan play in this new strategy to combat insurgents? Isn’t cooperation from Pakistan crucial to defeating the Taliban and al Qaeda? We’ll dig deeper tonight and don’t miss CNN’s live coverage of the President’s announcement tomorrow at 7 p.m. ET.

Authorities said they surrounded a house in east Seattle this morning where the suspect in the fatal shooting of four Washington state police officers is holed up. They had been looking for 37-year-old Maurice Clemmons in connection with an "ambush" Sunday morning at a coffee shop near Tacoma in Pierce County. Four officers - three males, one female - died in the attack. Clemmons had a 95-year prison sentence commuted by then-Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. If Clemmons was, in fact, the shooter, what was his motive and why did he gave a gun? And why was he commuted?

On Sunday, Iran’s state media announced that the country’s Cabinet has authorized the construction of another 10 uranium enrichment plants, further defying international calls to halt its production of nuclear fuel. How will the U.S. and other countries respond to this new announcement?

And we learned this morning that Chelsea Clinton, the daughter of former President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is engaged, according to a spokesman for the former president. Chelsea Clinton will marry longtime boyfriend Marc Mezvinsky.

What else are you following today? Let us know and see you at 10 p.m. ET.

Filed under: Eliza Browning • The Buzz
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Evan

    It's inspiring to see women on the battlefield...two thumbs up!!!

    November 30, 2009 at 11:36 am |
  2. Eliza, AC360°

    @Michelle – Yes, Anderson is back in the anchor chair tonight.

    November 30, 2009 at 11:10 am |
  3. Cindy

    Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving holiday! Back to the grind now unfortunately! LOL

    I'm not shocked that women are now doing the same as men in wars. That's how it should be. Women are more than capable of holding their own and doing what needs to be done to survive. We don't need to be coddled.

    It's about time that Obama make up his mind on Afghanistan. It's been too long of a wait IMO! He has cost more lives by doing nothing. The enemy there knows he is not serious because of his lack of doing anything so they are getting bolder and attacking more and that is why this month had the most deaths ever since the war started.

    I hope Cooper is back tonight! I haven't watched 360 all last week except when Tom filled in.


    November 30, 2009 at 10:56 am |
  4. Michelle D. Fonthill .Ont

    Good Morning Eliza and 360 team

    Why shouldn't women be serving the millitary to serve and protect our country as men . I thinkk ti's so brave of them and the sacfrice they make for us and our freedom . I aslo am looking forward to Pres Obama's adress to the nation i hope it will bring the right decsion .
    Congrats to Chelsea Clinton on her engagment ishe has come all long way since her early years in the White House along with her parents good for her !

    Thanks for the buzz :Michelle D.
    @Eliza Is Anderson back tonight ?

    November 30, 2009 at 10:33 am |