April 10, 2007

Supporting the Troops?

‘Supporting the Troops’ should not be a political issue. If you are a person of the left or right, we should agree that the American military should continue to be the best trained, fully-equipped fighting force in the world. We can disagree over the policy of the used of American force across the world, but our disagreements should not be used as rhetoric to tarnish our political opponents as weak on terrorism or unpatriotic. President Bush and this Republican Party controlled Congress for the most part of the past seven years and under their leadership we have seen failed policies that are leading to the start of the destruction of the American military. ‘Supporting the Troops’ has now become a political issue. President Bush and his allies in Congress want to escalate the Iraq war while wrecking the American military.

The Pentagon is sending troops back to Iraq to support the escalation without giving the troops their fully well deserved rest time to spend with family and friends back in the states.
For just the second time since the war began, the Army is sending large units back to Iraq without giving them at least a year at home, defense officials said Monday. The move signaled how stretched the U.S. fighting force has become.

A combat brigade from New York and a Texas headquarters unit will return to Iraq this summer in order to maintain through August the military buildup President Bush announced earlier this year. [..]

The Army will try not to shorten the troops' U.S. time, "but in this case we had to," said a senior Army official, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. "Obviously right now the Army is stretched," the official said. [..]

The only other major unit to spend less than one year at home was the Georgia-based 3rd Brigade of the 3rd Infantry Division, which returned to Iraq 48 days short of a year and is there now, according to the Army.

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman acknowledged that the Texas unit's 81 day shortfall in rest time, "is not insignificant."
Wow. How out of touch is Bryan Whitman? Sending troops for the second or third tours of duties in Iraq without giving them proper resting time is significant. This is straining the Army personal and their families. The Army troops already in Iraq are seeing their tours of duties extended. President Bush is demanding Army troops to spend less time at home with their families and more time in Iraq in the war zone to support the escalate. It gets worst; the Pentagon is shipped injured troops back into the battle. President Bush continues to send our men and women to the war zone without the proper armored equipment.

President Bush and this allies in Congress failed policies are leading to an increase of desertion and other unauthorized absences.
From 2002 through 2006, the average annual rate of Army prosecutions of desertion tripled compared with the five-year period from 1997 to 2001, to roughly 6 percent of deserters, from 2 percent, Army data shows. [..]

In total, the Army since 2002 has court-martialed twice as many soldiers for desertion and other unauthorized absences as it did on average each year between 1997 and 2001. Deserters are soldiers who leave a post or fail to show up for an assignment with the intent to stay away. Soldiers considered absent without leave, or AWOL, which presumes they plan to return, are classified as deserters and dropped from a unit’s rolls after 30 days.

Most soldiers who return from unauthorized absences are punished and discharged. Few return to regular duty.
I won’t point out the hypocrisy of the military cracking down on desertion while the Commander in Chief has questionable military record.


It’s a time for a change of policy before President Bush completely rips apart the military.


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