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Wednesday, June 30, 2004

The hidden draft

So when is he going to defect and try to kill me?

Army to recall former military members
Tuesday, June 29, 2004 Posted: 12:43 PM EDT (1643 GMT)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Army is preparing to notify about 5,600 retired and discharged soldiers who are not members of the National Guard or Reserve that they will be involuntarily recalled to active duty for possible service in Iraq or Afghanistan, Army officials said Tuesday.

It marks the first time the Army has called on the Individual Ready Reserve, as this category of reservists is known, in substantial numbers since the 1991 Gulf War.

The move reflects the continued shortage of troops available to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to fight the ongoing war on terrorism as well as Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Lt. Gen. Frank Hagenbeck, the Army's deputy chief of staff for personnel, said earlier this month of the Army's troop strength, "We are stretched but we have what we need."

Pentagon officials have echoed that statement explaining that while the military is reaching deep into its resources, war planners have long had contingency plans such as this for when troops are really needed.

Several hundred members of the ready reserve have volunteered for active-duty service since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Those who are part of the involuntary call up are likely to be assigned to National Guard or Reserve units that have been mobilized for duty in Iraq or Afghanistan, according to Army officials. An announcement is planned for Wednesday.

This is a desperate move. The next step is looking to drop enlistment standards and hike pay. Then, comes the draft. Defense Watch has the following article

What We Owe Our Soldiers

By Paul Connors

My last two articles for DefenseWatch have focused on the plight of involuntarily activated members of the Army’s portion of the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR). The articles prompted numerous emails from both officers and enlisted members who have been recalled, as well as from friends and family members who want others to know what is going on. (See “Abuse of Army IRR Raises Ire Nationwide,” June 2, 2004, and “Army Shift in IRR Victimizes Soldiers,” May 27, 2004).

After reading the emails I received, I have grown progressively more pessimistic about the ability of the U.S. Army to redress the personnel shortfalls it faces. To restate a view I have expressed before, I have strong doubts that the Army even possesses the slightest scintilla of interest in correcting its personnel problems. The ongoing abuse of members of the USAR, the ARNG and the IRR offers solid evidence that force planners are clueless when it comes to solving the problems caused by the over-extension of both individual troops and the units to which they are assigned.

As DefenseWatch readers are aware, we have covered the gamut of active-duty personnel and equipment shortages, poor planning and execution of reserve and Guard unit call-ups, armament and vehicle inadequacies, ammunition shortages, abuse of prisoners, fraud, waste and abuse of taxpayer dollars in theater and in-transit, poor leadership and the perennial (and never ending) game of point the finger. While the rest of the mainstream news media must be foaming at the mouth as they wait for the next scandal to befall the coalition, they have also forgotten that more than 135,000 American GIs are in Iraq, confronted by a less than welcoming populace, but doing the jobs we have asked them to do.

I spent time this past weekend thinking of all the things I take for granted that the guys and gals in desert cammies can’t take advantage of while they try to get through their tours in Indian country. I like to think of them as the “freedoms” they have temporarily lost while preserving mine. Here’s my short list of what they can’t do while in Iraq:

  • * Can’t go down to the local watering hole for a beer.

    * Can’t go on dates with their girlfriends/boyfriends.

    * Can’t hold/hug/kiss their wives, sweethearts, children, parents and other relatives.

    * Can’t put on comfortable civilian clothes to take a walk outside or down the street.

    * Can’t jump in their car/truck/SUV to go to the mall/supermarket/movie.

    * Can’t have a pizza delivered.

    * Can’t go anywhere without having to wear a flak vest and kevlar helmet and carrying a weapon.

    * Can’t take a walk alone for fear of being sniped at, shot, stabbed, kidnapped or blown up by a bunch of psychopathic crazies who really believe it is their goal in life to destroy all that America stands for.

    * Can’t get a break from the likes of Dan Rather, Katie Couric, Leslie Stahl, Tom Brokaw and other left-leaning newcasters who believe that by denigrating the troops in the field that they can unmake an administration they disagree with.

    * Can’t get a fair deal from the government they faithfully support through their actions, courage, commitment, fidelity and trust.

    While I’ve spent a great deal of time writing about the sacrifices made by recalled members of the reserve components who leave behind civilian careers, families, college studies and other intangibles, I do not want anyone to walk away with the impression that I am not aware of the sacrifices made by members of the regular components of our armed forces as well. No one here at DefenseWatch forgets for a moment that the “regulars” are the now and forever defenders of our freedoms and sovereignty.

    When I speak of our “citizen soldiers,” I have grouped them all together in that wonderful polyglot of people who have always stepped forward when the United States has needed its “best and brightest.”

    As a “citizen-observer” of the events surrounding our involvement in Iraq, Afghanistan and wherever conflicts confront U.S. interests, what I find difficult to accept is the sheer indifference to the real needs of the troops at the cutting edge of the spear by many military leaders back at home who are responsible for providing that support.

    While some, including politicians, might think a withdrawal from Iraq would spare us the nightly reports of another five dead GIs, such an action will do little (if anything) to resolve the underlying and fundamental flaws in our current military structure. What is painfully obvious, but denied by those in power, is that U.S. armed forces are spread far too thin and are being asked to do far too much with too few real resources.

    Have we made mistakes in Iraq and Afghanistan? You bet! Are the mistakes irrevocable? No. Why not, you ask? Because we are Americans and because when we decide to solve a problem or set of problems, there is little short of a major natural disaster that will stop us. Yet, every once in a while, there are obstacles placed in the path of human progress that slow us down.

    This is deulsional. We cannot solve the world's problems, much less Iraq's. Americans can and will fail when in a hostile environment. Iraq is doomed because the people are more than willing to watch Americans die and protect the resistance, even at the cost of their own lives. It is time to leave Iraq before we make things worse. No amount of will can change that.

    Lately, those obstacles have come from two quarters: the first is the constant carping of a mainstream press that can find no good in the effort, time, talent and treasure that the United States has expended toppling Saddam Hussein and his homicidal regime. The second major obstacle is the civilian staff of the Department of Defense and its willful refusal to accede to requests for an increase in end-strength for the U.S. Army.

  • While he's right we do owe our soldiers a lot, if he thinks the media is left wing, he hasn't read one piece about US troops stealing from Iraqis, drinking on duty or allegations of non-prison sexual abuse and prostitution. You won't see that in the US media. Unless you go to the movies. He's denying the central fact, that this war is folly and cannot be won. There's no media bias against the troops, none. In fact, their war isn't seen at all on American TV. We have not been honest about why so many Iraqis hate us until it stared us in the face and many people wanted to deny it even then.

    There IS no good in Iraq. We have made their lives worse by a measurable degree. getting rid of Saddam eliminated state terror and replaced it with private, freelance terror. This, to most Iraqis, is nightmarish. The media isn't even showing what we've done there. Not in the slightest.

    Our Army is in trouble and that's not a problem created at CNN.

    posted by Steve @ 1:27:00 AM

    1:27:00 AM

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