Tag Archives: Iraq-Afghanistan

Army Budget Grows Ever Larger

The budget for the United States Army which was sent to Congress on February 4 is 9% higher than current-year Army funding, but it does not include operational funds for the wars in iraq and Afghanistan and some procurement, recruiting and retention programs needed to maintain the readiness of combat forces. The Bush administration asks Congress to fund one budget, but that budget is really not THE budget. For example, the Army’s base budget for 2008 is $129 billion, but at least another $128 billion in war funding wll be added to that total for an overall expenditure in 2008 of $257 billion. The US Army request constitutes about 27% of the Defense Department request for $515 billion.

Currently th ere are 523,000 soldiers in the Regular Army, even though the Army’s base budget calls for 489,000. the additional soldiers, and the recruiting and retention incentives needed to maintain the large force have so far been funded from war supplement money. The Bush method of funding its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is never clear since additional money is usually hidden in budgets of other areas of the government like the State Department or in reseach funds. One result is an inability of the American people to actually know the true cost of fighting in far off lands.

Hopefully, a new administration will be more honest with the American people and present a true military budget that includes all cost.

Bush Legacy-New Generation Of Homeless Veterans

Peter Mohan fought bravely in Iraq and then returned home to his wife. He had the happy homecoming, people slapped him on his back and praised his efforts fighting for his country. Then, began the tale of self destruction. He waited until his wife left for work and then spent the day drinking or driving his motorcycle in an aimless manner. Finally, his wife told him to leave. Peter Mohan never found a steady job, he lost his wife, his home, his friends left him and now he has nothing at the age of 28. He is homeless. How can American society allow such tales to unfold without taking preventive action? The history of past wars has taught us a certain percent of returning veterans will suffer from post traumatic stress, so why are there not programs available to avoid such things happening to veterans?

The Defense Department has identified about 1,500 veter ans who now fit into the category of being homeless as a result of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. People who study this phenonmenon predict there is a time gap between returning home and the onset of conditions which might result in the individual becoming homeless. It may take a year or several years before it happens. Although Vietnam war veterans displayed such symptoms, it took years before it was clear they were suffering, today, there are signs the process is occurring much earlier for veterans. Acccoding to John Driscoll of the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, “Your trust in people is strained. You’ve been separated from loved ones and friends. The camaderie between troops is very intense and now you feel vulnerable.”

Most probably, these individals will disappear into the dustbin of history, forgotten and ignored as were veterans of previous wars. Society asks them to sacrifice, they do, and that is the end of the story.

Combat Vets Charged With Homicides After Tours

A comprehensive research study by The New York Times uncovered evidence that at least 121 servicemen who fought in Afghanistan or Iraq committed a killing or were charged with one in the United States subsequnet to their four of duty. The newspaper logged 349 homicides involving all active-duty military personnel and new veterans in the six years since military action began in the Middle East. The figures of homicides represents an 89% increase over the previous six year period. About three-fourths of the homicides involved Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. The Defense Department refused to comment on the study, but a military spokesperson, Lt. Col. Les Melnyk, questiond the report’s premise and reearch methods. An interesting aspect of the New York Times study reveals three fourths of the victims were girlfriends, or relatives. A quarter of the victims were military personnel.

We frankly need further research into the aftermath of war upon the psychological framework of those who participate in such actions. The Pentagon may challenge methodology, but it is up to them to initiate their own research into this important aspect of the Bush war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Blood Blunder Endangers British Soldiers

It is estimated about 18 British soldiers are anxiously a waiting reports as to whether or not they were infeced with a deadly disease. The men were wounded while fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan and received blood from US military sources. The American medical staff apparently did not follopw their own procedures to test donors prior to taking blood. British officials are furious and term this blunder “outrageous” and an “absolute disgrace” that men and women who riskedc their lives should have their own placed at risk due to bureaucratic blunders.

Each day and month the consequences of the invasion of Iraq raise new questions concerning preparation and organization. The World Health Organization recently noted that over 150,000 Iraqi civilians died due to the invasion. The count goes on.