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Monday, May 09, 2005

Dems Misunderstand Impact of Military Recuitment Woes

News that the US military branches are having trouble recruiting new volunteers has Democrats atwitter, but for the wrong reasons. They claim that the recruiting woes might make America "weaker", or, as Jay Bookman of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution put it today, could mean trouble for "the Army's long-term ability to perform its duties worldwide."

Bookman quotes poll numbers that show only 41 percent of Americans think the war is worthwhile, with 57 percent saying it is not. "And if Americans do not believe the war worthwhile, they're not likely to sign up to fight in it," Bookman writes.

Dems are always looking for an opening in Bush's armor, but this is not a Dem vs. GOP issue. The problem with the Iraq invasion is not that it is bogging down our military or hurting military recruitment goals – the problem is that the invasion was based on a campaign of deception to mask its true goal of ensuring corporate profits and power worldwide.

Imperialism is not, unfortunately, the sole domain of Bush and Co. Remember it is the Carter Doctrine that cemented our national interests in Middle East oil, and that President Clinton presided over the sanctions and bombings in Iraq that killed as many or more than has Bush's invasion.

And recall that Sen. John Kerry, during the presidential debates, promised only to fight the so-called "war on terror" harder than Bush and to stay in Iraq until the job was finished, without outlining what that meant.

If the media would focus harder on the real reasons for the invasion – say, at least with the same vigor and scrutiny it used covering the Terri Schiavo case – then popular support for the Iraq invasion would be even less.

More important, if the government would be less concerned with using the military to support US corporate interests across the globe, then we wouldn't need so many new volunteers. Currently the US spends as much on its military as does every other nation on the planet combined. It is not because we're more threatened or face invasions or attacks. Our forces are stationed all over the world, not defending America at home.

If anything, fewer military recruits might force the US to delay its invasion of Iran. Better still, it might force the government to institute a draft, at which point Americans will ask (loudly I hope), "why?" It's one thing when volunteers get sent to die for a lie, but it's quite another thing when your kids are being forced to do it. If it gets to that point, maybe people will start re-examiinng what Bookman called America's "duties worldwide."


Anonymous Chandler Otis said...

The Bush administration will be faced with some hard choices soon. In order to continue this war, they will have to make one of the following choices:
1)Pull out of Iraq
2) Institute the draft
3) Hire mercenary soldiers, either foreign or domestic
4) Offer large sign-up bonuses or other major financial incentives to atract volunteers

Our armed forces, especially the reserves and the National Guard, are starting to feel the stress of having their tours of duty and their enlistments extended involuntarily.

Bush's advisors have a naive notion that all they have to do is extend the enlistments of the current troops, rather than draft or recruit new soldiers. A number of studdies during the Twentieth century indicate that combat soldiers can endure about 300-350 days of combat stress before they become psychological casualties, the proverbial "combat fatigue" now termed Post Traumatic Stress syndrome (PTSD).

Well managed armies regularly rotate combat forces from the front lines into quiet areas, and units that have had major combat time are often put in permanent reserve.

Since the begining of the war, The Pentagon has been quietly reminding the civilian administration officials about this. During the begining of the war, some military commanders complained privately tht the Bush Administration was trying to "fight this war on the cheap," by not having enough soldiers or equipment to handle the occupation.

I think the Bush administration is in for a major suprise when members of the military, especially the families of National Guard and the Reserves, start to complain. By the time of the 2006 elections, i would expect there to be major opposition to Bush Administration from the ranks of common soldiers.

P.S. I am delighted to see Colin Whitworths comments on current events, especially local issues. I will look forward to reading his insights, most especially on Gainesville and county politics.

8:41 AM


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