General George Casey, Chief of Staff of the United States Army, made clear to members of Congress that current 15 month tours of duty are “just not sustainable.” He told lawmakers “soldiers and leaders need to see that over time they won’t be deploying for 15 months and home for 12.” This can only become possible as long as the president realizes the number of active-duty brigades in Iraq and Afghanistan is reduced. However, he rejected implications there is something wrong with the morale of those fighting in these areas. “This is not a broken Army…Now, are we where we want to be? No. And we fully acknowledge that.”
Several senators such as Babara Mkulski expressed concern over the lack of funding for families of those serving overseas in order to assist them in coping with loved ones who are gone for such long periods of time. General Casey ageed much more must be done to confront issues of stress on family life,
President Bush is always praising members of the armed forces for their patriotism, but when it comes to pay raises or additional funds for handling post traumatic stress, he ordinarily lacks the same enthusiasm. In almost every case it is Congress which takes leadership increasing those funds.
Posted in Democrats, George Bush, Human Rights, Iraq War, Liberals, Military, Peace, US Foreign Policy, Veterans, War, World News
Tagged broken army, deployment, General Casey
A study by the Department of Veterans Affairs concludes that Reservists and members of the National Guard who fought in Afghanistan and Iraq comprise a majority of all suicides by veterans between 2001 when the invasion of Afghanistan took place and 2005 when the United States was actively involved in Iraq. Soldiers from these two groups constitute 53% of veteran suicides from this period. Of the 144 suicides during this time, 24% were from those who served in the Reserves and 29% from members of the National Guard.
Paul Riedhoff, executive director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America believes there has been inaequate counselling available to these veterans and the continued pressure of being away from families over an extended time period, has been damaging to many who served. “National Guardsmen and reservists are literally in Baghdad one week and in Brooklyn the next, and the transition is tough.”
The nation has asked tremendous sacrifices of those in the National Guard or Reserves. They are deployed for 18 months from family and their careers, and, all too frequently head back for anothe 18 months. The United States of America has failed these gallant individuals by refusing to either curtail such military ventures or obtaining the necessary manpower to carry them out. This is simply another legacy of Bush’s tragic mistakes in the Middle East.
Posted in George Bush, Human Rights, Military, Peace, Politics, United States, US Foreign Policy, Veterans, War, World News
Tagged Afghanistan, Bush, deployment, Iraq, suicides, Veterans
In an interview with the Army Times, Senator John McCain said, if elected president, he would expand the size of the Army and Marine Corps. “One of the major failures of the Rumsfeld era is that we didn’t expand the Army and Marine Corps.” He appeared to attribute problem in ending violence in Iraq due to lack of sufficient troops on the ground. The senator discussed strains imposed on members of the military and their families by shortened deployment after serving in Iraq. McCain believes increasing the size of our military “is something we should have done long ago. We are going to be in Afghanistan a long time, and I don’t know what other conflict might break out.” During the interview, McCain at one point indicated his belief troops could have longer deployment time in America, but also said, “i would do whatever is necessary to succeed,” even if it required shorter deployment time at home.
Senator McCain’s comments reflect his duality of feeling. On one hand, he blames the “Rumsfeld era” for military problems, but, on the other hand, refuses to cast blame on George Bush who supposedly was in charge of our government and supported Rumsfeld’s actions. McCain has certainly been an advocate of more troops in Iraq, but his failure to focus on political issues, indicates he still believes Iraq is a military rather than a political problem. There is little evidence, Senator McCain has a grasp of Middle East complexities other than thinking sending more troops will solve all problems. One is left wondering after reading his interview what are the “other conflicts” he anticipates will emerge that require sending American forces.
Posted in Don Rumsfeld, George Bush, Iraq, Iraq War, Military, Republicans, United States, US Foreign Policy, War, World News
Tagged deployment, Iraq, McCain, Military, Rumsfeld