On-line Opinion Magazine…OK, it's a blog
Random header image... Refresh for more!

The Military Is Broken

The Shrubbery has hinted that more troops will be going to Iraq after the elections. We don’t have any more troops, and 4,000 of the people in Iraq today are on extended tours, so the message is that people are not going to be rotated out when their replacements arrive.

They have been calling up every warm body they could locate in the Reserve and just about used up all of the deployment time available for the National Guard without changing a number of laws, so the regular forces are going to be extended, and they know it.

The people who are near to the ends of their enlistments know they are going to be retained by “stop-loss” orders because many of the new enlistees can’t be trusted with a broom, much less a weapon.

The Reptilicons brought this on themselves by drawing active duty military personnel into partisan political activities. They have broken down a very high and long-standing wall between the military and anything political, and now they are reaping what they sowed.

The Guardian, among many others, is reporting on the activities of active duty US military members who have established the Appeal for Redress web site.

“Appeal for redress” is taken from the First Amendment right to “to petition the government for a redress of grievances”, which is what these people are doing, appealing directly to Congress to change the US policy regarding Iraq. Things have gotten so bad that these people feel they have no other choice.

There has been unprecedented criticism of this administration by newly retired general officers. There were a lot of general officers who didn’t like Bill Clinton, but they didn’t give interviews to the media about it.

This isn’t just the war; the military trains you to deal with war. This is about the politics that has entered the military, where your political and religious beliefs are more important in decisions on promotion than your competence. Lt. Commander Charles Swift USN JAG is just the best-known example of a superior, competent officer not being promoted, while less talented people are. Most people don’t know that officers’ promotions have to be approved by the Senate, and the Senate can hold up the entire list if there are names on it they don’t like.

The final facet in the discontent deals with “working conditions.” Rumsfeld has been “transforming the military,” a process that is looking a great deal like corporate downsizing. He has been systematically working to eliminate many of the benefits that made military family life possible, while transferring more of the costs to the individual members.

As noted on many blogs, the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America has rated the Congress based on the votes of members on 324 issues over the last five years.

Over at Kos they have the ratings for Senators and for the Congressional leaders. The Republicans are in charge and they are voting against the military and veterans. They spend money on new hardware in a second, but the troops can pound sand. That $5 magnetic ribbon from China on their cars is all the troops get from Republicans in Congress.

If you go to the IAVA site you can find you own Congresscritters and see how they rank, and you can see how the Disabled American Veterans ranked them for this year.

The military needs intensive care, sooner rather than later. It will take a long time to rebuild it and sweep the manure out of the stables known as the Pentagon.


1 andante { 10.26.06 at 8:04 pm }

The senators who claim to represent me and thousands of troops at Ft. Bragg, Camp Lejeune, Seymour Johnson AFB, Cherry Point, and Pope AFB received a D- (Dole) and an F (Burr).

Maybe the Bushies are thinking of hiring the Irish army; they didn’t do such a bad job in Braveheart and Saving Private Ryan.

2 Bryan { 10.26.06 at 9:14 pm }

Governors and the Guard are not going to volunteer, and without a change in the law they can’t be required to go.

It’s a sad thing to see happen again. You would have thought that no one would be stupid enough to do it after Vietnam, but here we are again, and it will be a long time before people view the military as a good career.

Bill Nelson (D) got an A- and Martinez (R) got a D.

3 Steve Bates { 10.26.06 at 11:40 pm }

Do you really want to know? Kay Bailey Hutchison gets a D+, while John Cornyn gets a D-. I know IAVA did it by the numbers, but that’s too kind, if you ask me.

This is folly. Bryan, few people have entered the military, as you did, primarily for principled reasons; there have to be other motivations. Since the start of the all-volunteer military, life opportunities (benefits, college tuition, medical care, etc.) have driven many economically disadvantaged people to pursue a military career. One can argue whether that’s fair, but it appears to be true. Where will the career military people come from, if those benefits are taken away? Here comes the draft again, and we all know how wonderful unwilling, under-trained soldiers are…

4 Bryan { 10.27.06 at 12:10 am }

The military used to be a good option for people who weren’t sure what they wanted to do with their lives. They could leave home, get in shape, earn some money, try some new things, and test the waters of higher education through on-base college courses.

They learned to live on their own and had some structure in their lives.

There were good and solid reasons for recommending people join the military.

No more. All they want is cannon fodder. Rumsfeld views people like paper plates – use them and discard them when they can no longer serve his purpose. He has no regard for the experience, training, intelligence, or options of uniformed personnel. He literally wants robots, not people.

The draft requires experienced people to train the new recruits, and the people who can do the job are leaving in droves. The E-5 & E-6 non-commissioned officers, and the O-3 & O-4 officers are bailing out after 8 years, the total Reserve commitment.

It’s a disaster. We would need a volunteer militia to defend the country if we were to be attacked.