Has Iraq Broken the US Army?

With fewer enlistments, lowered standards and no relief in sight, the notion of escalating the US Army's occupation force in Iraq is at best unwise - at worst it is sending our young men and women on a suicide mission.

From the Slate article linked above:
Of all the signs of breakage, perhaps the most acute is the decision to redeploy Army brigades to Iraq sooner and for longer tours in combat. The entire active-duty force is either deployed, set to deploy soon, or within one year of coming home from Iraq or Afghanistan.

Short of conscripting millions of Americans to rapidly build a larger military, contracting out for a larger force, or mobilizing the entire reserves at once, military leaders say they have no other choice—to surge in Iraq, they must reduce the time soldiers spend at home between deployments and lengthen their combat tours from 12 to 16 or 18 months. But sending troops to Iraq after such a short time to reorganize, refit, and retrain is a recipe for disaster.
About half of Bush's occupation escalation force is in place, but because of the security crackdown inside Baghdad, areas outside the city are becoming more violent. Who will secure these outlying areas once they become unmanagable?

In reality the best answer seems to be for Congress to force Bush's hand by cutting off war funding, but the punk Democrats won't even stand behind their own timetables for withdrawl. As distasteful as retreat seems to be, the suicidal deployment of 30,000 exhausted or undertrained men and women will be much harder to stomach for the American people. Admitting that this invasion was ill-conceived, ill-managed and illegal is the best bet.

Tough guy war hero John McCain can't even walk through an Iraqi market without an armed brigade to protect him. I have family and friends in the military, and I have no desire to see them put in harm's way for an imperial excursion that is only getting worse by the day.

Stop the madness NOW!!!


Paul Hue said...

Some of my disappointments regarding Bush's leadership:

1. His "Let's Roll!" speech at the WTC rubble was a disgrace, and set a very poor tone. Taking a nation to war, even when justified and against heartless tyrants, deserves the most somber possible regard. It means that many soldiers fighting for the righteous cause are going to die and get maimed, as will many people living in the grip of tyranny during the liberation process. As for those tyrants: fighting, killing, and defeating them is also somber business, as it is sad that people should become tyrants in the first place. Lincoln set the standard here, and Bush provides us an example of the worst.

2. The "Mission Accomplished!" speech was equally disgraceful. That was a time not for Bush to realize everybody's dream of flying a fighter jet onto an aircraft carrier, but rather for more somber reflection, about the costs of the victory, and about the even harder and less certain struggle ahead. Again, Lincoln sets the best possible example, and Bush the worst.

3. Sanctioning torture by US forces. Among many obvious problems, this policy also fails to account for the very clear and obvious fact that some sizable fraction of captured persons are innocent, or at the very least susceptible to useful conversion. War time is no time to insist upon perfect, universal justice; even the wicked in times of war must be given the chance to repent and change. The alternate is eternal war, with every tyrant holding on for dear life as the only option for survival. Imagine if all these captured persons got treated so well that members of tyrant organizations would stumble over each other trying to get captured.

4. Not using all-Iraqis in the initial interim govt, if even just the ex-pats like Chilabi.

Nadir said...

You have no problem with:

5. An escalation of violence when all conventional wisdom and military experts warn against it?

6. The use of mercenary forces to make up for low numbers provided by US and "coalition of willing" governments?

7. "Sexing up" the intell that took us to war in the first place?

8. Condemning Saddam Hussein in a show trial that most international observers declared was unfair by most legal standards?

9. Disbanding the Iraqi military and "de-Bathifying" the Iraqi government?

10. Establishing an interim government that looked the other way as millions of dollars in US cash (YOUR MONEY!! MY MONEY!!) just disappeared?

Give me some time. I'll think of some more.