Female Marines Killed in Iraq by Suicide Bomber

As of the end of May, there were 2,823 military occupations open to women, including Army jobs in which women provide medical, maintenance and logistics support to units in combat zones, according to the AP. Nearly 200 of those positions are closed because of the Pentagon policy that bars women from joining the ranks of the special forces.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, of the 1.1 million troops deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan at least 119,000 of them are women.

Asked about women in the military at the House Armed Services Committee meeting Thursday, Gen. George Casey reiterated women's important role in the military. "We couldn't do what we do without them."

He added that he didn't see "any need to change any of the policies and procedures."

Public's Take

In the United States, public support of the war seems to be waning. According to the latest ABC Poll, given the costs versus the opportunities in the Iraqi war, 58 percent said the war was not worth fighting. This is a new high and could keep climbing if casualties continue to rise.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Thursday that he thinks public opinion is being "pushed" by a drumbeat of unflattering coverage of the war.

As the violence rages on, the Bush administration still has not set a date for withdrawing from Iraq. Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari today said that the U.S.-led multinational force must stay in Iraq until Iraqi forces are fully prepared to defend the country by themselves.

Bush agreed to fight on but critics warn that with military recruitment down, finding troops regardless of gender will be more and more difficult in the coming months.

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