Wednesday, June 20, 2007

File this under WTF?????

By ANNE FLAHERTY, Associated Press Writer/Red comments my own.

WASHINGTON - The Army is considering whether it will have to extend the combat tours of troops in Iraq if the President opts to maintain the recent buildup of forces through spring 2008.

Acting Army Secretary Pete Geren testified Tuesday that the service is reviewing other options, including relying more heavily on Army reservists or Navy and Air Force personnel, so as not to put more pressure on a stretched active-duty force.

Most soldiers spend 15 months in combat with a guaranteed 12 months home (ah, a guarantee??? yeah riiiiight!), a rotation plan that has infuriated Democrats because it exceeds the service's goal of giving troops equal time home as in combat. In coming weeks, the Senate will vote on a proposal by Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., that would restrict deployments.

"It's too early to look into the next year, but for the Army we have to begin to plan," Geren told the Senate Armed Services . "We have to look into our options."

Army spokesman Paul Boyce said, "If the future were to require such an option, it would be the last option on the list."(The fact that it's on the list is scary!!!)

Gen. David Petraeus, Iraq war commander, suggested Sunday that conditions on the ground might not be stable enough by September to justify a drop in force levels, and he predicted stabilizing Iraq could take a decade (duh!!! I don't need to be a four star general to figure that one out Sparky!). Earlier this year, Bush ordered the deployment of some 30,000 additional troops as part of a massive U.S.-led security push around Baghdad and the western Anbar province. (hence Thomas leaving 4 months early!)

There are about 156,000 U.S. troops in Iraq. When asked by Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., whether maintaining the force buildup would affect soldiers' 15-month combat schedules, Geren said he was unsure and cited "numerous options" available, including a "different utilization of the Guard and Reserve" and relying on the other services for help. (NO OTHER service deploys longer than 6 months at a time, but it's "normal" for the Army to routinely pull 15-18 months at a time, with less than 12 months between deployments!!)

"We're committed to filling the requirements that the combatant commander asks," Geren said. "We have been able to do so up until now, and we will continue to do so."

The Army assessment comes as Democrats say they are already dissatisfied with the existing policy. "Who was talking for the well being and the health of the soldiers when this requirement was put down?" asked Webb, referring to the 15-month combat tours. After four years of combat, the strategy in Iraq cannot "justify doing this to the soldiers in the Army and the families back here," he said. (Good Lord, I'm agreeing with a Democrat - these are SCARY TIMES indeed!!)

Geren also said it "would certainly be valuable" if other departments helped more in rebuilding Iraq. (Again, NO SHIT!!)

Sen. Joseph Lieberman said he was surprised during a recent trip to Iraq to see how many soldiers were tasked with "nation-building." "I wish every American could see what the U.S. Army and others are doing to rebuild the government, the health care system, the education system, to secure the neighborhoods," said Lieberman, I-Conn. "But some of that, in the best of all worlds, should frankly be done by people from other departments of our government."

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Tuesday that Secretary of State
Condoleezza had accepted a request by Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador in Baghdad, to "beef up the economic and political sections" of the embassy with more Arabic-language speakers and mid- to senior-level foreign service officers to supplement the existing work force.
"He says he needs these things, we're going to get them for him," McCormack told reporters. "We're going to get him what he needs."

There are currently only 10 U.S. diplomats in Baghdad, including Crocker, who are fluent in both written and spoken Arabic, the State Department says.

Geren said the decision made earlier this year to extend tours from 12 to 15 months was intended to ensure soldiers were guaranteed one year at home. (guarantee - such a silly word to tell military folks - we freaking know better than to believe this latest pack of lies!) Previously, soldiers deployed for 12-month cycles but were unsure when they would be sent back.

"I felt it was the best of the two tough choices to make. ... That decision I believe was the right one," Geren said. (And if it's the "wrong" one, then you're just on an "Iraqi learning curve", huh??)


OK, I know about how the military works (been there, done that myself thanks), and I know that once you sign on the dotted line, your life is not your own until your enlistment is up (or until the Government needs you longer and screws with the rules to get their needs met). BUT.....this constant dicking around with deployment lengths is just going to bite this country in the ass - HARD!!!! People are leaving in droves, and while we are in the process of building up all four branches of the military, we're at the same time attempting to put our collective fingers in all the holes that keep appearing. Ever try filling up a tub with the drain open??? It's a good analogy here.

Now there are "die hards" like my husband that would never consider leaving until someone way high up at the Pentagon says, "KUPSH! You're outta here!". And then he'll probably appeal it, lol! But those kinds of people are getting fewer and farther between. It's pretty tough to keep a marriage intact, be a part of a family, raise your children, when frankly you just aren't home much. And home means HOME - not deployed, not in training, not TDY - HOME! So this garbage about 12 months between deployments - guaranteed no less, (LMFAO!!), is a joke because that is barely enough time to regroup, retrain, and reoutfit a unit to go right back into battle. In English? It means alot of exercises, early mornings, late nights and not much "home time" - and forget taking ANY earned leave time! So they are either gone, or getting ready to go - those are the only two states of our active duty Army today. Period!

Am I complaining? No. It wouldn't do any good. I'm married to a soldier, so in essence, I DID sign up for this. I didn't have a clue, but oh well, my bad. My point is that we have the very best military in the world. The best trained, best motivated, best equipped. THE BEST!! And we're treating them like dirt!!!! This country cannot afford to degrade this untenable position. Whether people agree with why we're in Iraq or not, it's a totally mute point. The fact is that we're there now. And the fact is that we HAVE to remain there for the forseeable future. And that's a longggggggggg ass future. The democrats might be "popular" with the notion of removing our troops today, but just step back and think about that for a moment.

Soooo...... every US troop leaves Iraq......I give the country MAYBE a half hour before all hell breaks loose; total civil war. Everything that we have accomplished in over 4 years will have been for nothing. Every road, bridge, school, hospital, etc we have built will be destroyed. Local militias will continue to fight amongst themselves for power, with nothing and no one to stand in their way. Murders, kidnappings will escalate to the point of utter chaos. And when things are truly good and fucked, Iran will be right there with a huge army, just waiting to take over. Yeah Iran, with near nuclear capabilities and a hatred of all things/people of the West. That is why we cannot leave without stability restored.

A daunting task indeed. Those Iraqis that approved of us being there in the beginning are losing faith in us. Here in the US if we lose our power for more than a couple of hours, we're outraged!! How about not having steady power for over four years?? How about unemployment being about 80%?? How about what little employment available is through "cooperation" with the Iraqi government, sanctioned and paid for by the US? Can you say a significantly reduced life expectancy???? I don't blame the Iraqi people for being disgusted and frustrated. And yet at the same time, our hands are tied because of "global diplomacy" and trying to stand back and let the Iraqi government stand and lead on its own. A government so far that has proven its lack of determination and ability to do much of anything. So basically, right now we're just trying to not let things get worse. We're using all our manpower to keep things from deteriorating to utter chaos..........but it isn't far away.

It's real easy for arm-chair "warriors" to sit back now and say we shoulda-coulda-woulda done this, that or the other. Leave that for the historians people! Right here, right now, we have over 150,000 troops on the ground doing the nearly impossible, with shortages, with screwed-up pay, away from their families (for longer and longer amounts of time), in daily imminent mortal danger, that are counting on us, the American people, to stand behind them in 100% support! No, they don't really want to be there, but they KNOW that they are needed there and that they are the last line of defense against hell on earth for these people. They know that the future safety for ALL countries in the world, relies on a stable Middle East. They see first hand the things these terrorists are willingly capable of doing to "win" this fight. We fight there, so we won't have to fight this fight here on US soil. Don't think that can happen?? Just let Iran get a stronger foothold into Iraq and we'll just see about that. Because they are already involved in training and supplying terrorists.

So we're there, and we're staying there. That said, we have to develop a better strategy. This whole "staying the course" is getting ridiculously sad and lame. When shit isn't working, you need to re-work it. That's just plain ole common sense. Throwing more troops into the mix isn't working either. Keeping them there longer isn't working. I don't have the answers, although I wish I did. I only wish that the people in charge of this shin-dig would get it together, and do right by the American people, American troops, and the world at large. You don't win wars by pussy-footing around. We need a real hard-ass General, like a modern day Patton, to go in and kick some ass!!! Spending money on training and arming Iraqi police and soldiers, only to have them either turn on us or get killed by terrorists isn't working! Not forcing Iraqi government officials to enforce their own laws isn't working! Allowing local militias to reek havoc all over the country isn't working. And if total tyranny is the only thing that these people can recognize and accept, then perhaps we should become the "oppressors" we've been labeled from the beginning.

Oh yeah, this was about deployment lengths. Hey AIR FORCE, NAVY, MARINES!!!!!! The Army has been busting ass fighting a war over here. Wanna give us a hand for longer than 2-6 months at a time??? Gee guys, thanks! Hey Pentagon!!!!!!!! Shit ain't working! Better let's focus on fixing this mess you created, than having a bunch of dinners and Senate meetings where you discuss why what you did didn't work, and FIX THE PROBLEMS!!!! You answer to US, THE AMERICAN PUBLIC, not to the Senate. And we're getting seriously pissed off with your "efforts"!!

Where's the tylenol?????

1 comment:

coleen said...

You know, the Dems are the loudest most vocal and irritating about this war. But yet, they are so worried about their bleeding hearts that they won't let this war be fought the way it needs to be. War isn't pretty! War isn't sweet! War isn't fought by throwing daisies at the enemies. I mean hell, I'm surprised they don't have our soldiers knock and ask permission to enter before before busting the terrorists hideouts. I agree with you about Patton. He is probably spinning in his grave right now. I say we get a bunch of WWII vets together and run this thing. God Bless Thomas! God Bless your family. Thank you for all you do Thomas! I'm sending you hugs from the SAV. I can't wait to meet you! I don't know what y'all are going through as a family dealing with the separation. J got out before the whole Iraq thing blew up. But I do know Jeannie misses you so much it hurts. My family and I pray for a safe return for you and all you girls and boys over there fighting the good fight!