Author Archives: claudialong

‘Supporting’ the Troops?

· long story short

This is one of the most critical issues facing our nation today — and few are paying much attention. The fact is, for all their talk about ‘security’ the Bush Administration has, in fact, made the US LESS secure in almost every possible way.
They have alienated our allies and created hatred for us around the world — in places where it never existed before. But their most egregious failure is to the military. They have so damaged morale and so overextended our troops that we are now in no position to be able to respond to threats. If another nation declared war or attacked us now, we would simply have no credible force to meet the challenge.
Recruitment among all service branches is falling far below necessary levels, and our military is increasingly relying on forcing back into service those who are retired, have recently served long, dangerous deployments in Afghanistan or Iraq, or are unprepared, inexperienced reservists. This puts these people at extreme risk if they are sent to the battlefield, which can only increase casualties.
Once again, this administration talks the talk about ‘supporting the troops’ but they have done nothing to walk the walk. All veteran services have been cut, and are due to be cut more. Even Republican congresspeople [as you see from the article below] are alarmed at the shameful way the Bush people are undermining and endangering our military, and our country’s security.

July 8, 2004 | WASHINGTON (AP) — In a bipartisan show of concern that the military is dangerously overworked, lawmakers said Wednesday the Pentagon is stretching troops to their limit and perhaps undermining the nation’s future force.
Amid worries the high level of deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan could discourage potential new service members, Rep. John McHugh, R-N.Y., said it was not reassuring that most reserve components were falling below their recruiting goals for the year.
As of May 31, the Army National Guard was reported at 88 percent, the Air National Guard at 93 percent and the Air Force Reserve at 91 percent of their goals.
“We’re taxing our part-time soldiers, our Guard and Reserves nearly to the breaking point,” said Rep. Ike Skelton of Missouri, top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee. “We have to be aware that the families back home are paying a significant price. We don’t want to break the force.”
Added Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., the committee chairman: “We’re also concerned that insufficient force structure and manpower are leading the services to make decisions that I liken to eating the seed corn. That is, in order to make it through today, we do things that mortgage the future.”
The Army recently decided to deploy units that have been used to train other soldiers. Hunter also noted that the ratio of reserves to active duty soldiers in Iraq is increasing and he said he was concerned that troops are not getting enough turnaround time back in the states.
Stretched by war needs, the Pentagon already had declared a “stop-loss” to prevent troops from leaving once they have finished their obligation.
The Army in April broke a promise to some active-duty units, including the 1st Armored Division, that they would not have to serve more than 12 months in Iraq. It also has extended the tours of other units, including some in Afghanistan.
For the first time since the 1991 Gulf War, the Army is forcing thousands of former soldiers back into uniform, a reflection of the strain on the service of the long campaign in Iraq, coming on top of the global fight against terrorism.
More than 5,600 former soldiers — mostly those who recently finished serving and have skills in military policing, engineering, logistics, medicine or transportation — will be assigned to National Guard and Reserve units scheduled to deploy to Iraq or Afghanistan, officials announced last week.
Members of the Individual Ready Reserve, perhaps thousands more are likely to be called up next year, the Pentagon said.
People in the Individual Ready Reserve are distinct from the National Guard and Reserve because they do not perform regularly scheduled training and are not paid as reservists.