Seven long years ago, American military forces went into combat in Afghanistan and five years ago, they entered Iraq in a war that supposedly would be over in a few weeks. Year after year, troops have been under fire, been blown up by roadside bombs, and never have known a moment’s peace. Admiral Mike Muller, head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made clear his concern about stress. “we see extraordinary stress and pressure,” but insisted “we’re not about to break.” He does not see any possibility tours of duty will be reduced from 12 months.
Former general barry McCaffrey, who recently retired, visited troops in combat and discovered there simply were not enough troops in Afghanistan to maintain high levels of operational efficiency. At some point, the question must be raised, when is enough, not enough? Are American troops to be asked to continue fighting another seven years?