Over One Million Served And Over Half Now Prefer Home Cooking
December 11, 2004 12:04 PM   Subscribe

1 million U.S. troops have gone to war The data also show that one out of every three of those service members has gone more than once. The Pentagon says more than 5,500 servicemen have deserted since the war started in Iraq. Few experts are surprised to hear that a recent army survey discovered that half the soldiers were not planning to re-enlist. Experts are divided over how stretched America’s military really is. But they agree that another conflict would put the military in overdrive. Another war would require a shift to a “no-kidding wartime posture in which everybody who could shoot was given a rifle and sent to the front,” according to John Pike, of GlobalSecurity.org. - US Army plagued by desertion and plunging morale.
posted by y2karl (52 comments total)

 
Desertion may be a bit of an overstatement. Knock-off G.I.s are forever "deserting," meaning they stay gone more than thirty days past the end of their leave. It's not like they're dropping their rifles and heading for the border. Except maybe that Arabic-speaking Marine, but I think that's an unusual case.
posted by atchafalaya at 12:18 PM on December 11, 2004


AP: "WASHINGTON - Soldiers always gripe. But confronting the defense secretary, filing a lawsuit over extended tours and refusing to go on a mission because it’s too dangerous elevate complaining to a new level.
It also could mean a deeper problem for the Pentagon: a lessening of faith in the Iraq mission and in a volunteer army that soldiers can’t leave."
posted by CunningLinguist at 12:32 PM on December 11, 2004


But confronting the defense secretary...

Is that in reference to the recent press-staged incident?
posted by Krrrlson at 12:51 PM on December 11, 2004


The people at the top set the example.
posted by euphorb at 12:56 PM on December 11, 2004


Is that in reference to the recent press-staged incident?

See, kids? Propaganda works!
posted by majcher at 1:06 PM on December 11, 2004


Is that in reference to the recent press-staged incident?

It wasn't the first time this issue came up:
... Commanders began requesting armor in June 2003.

posted by amberglow at 1:07 PM on December 11, 2004


Is that in reference to the recent press-staged incident?
posted by Krrrlson at 12:51 PM PST on December 11


Is there any other kind?
Do you mean to cast aspersions towards an entirely legitmate question?
Does it upset you each and every time some person questions your Dear Leader?
"The role of the press is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable"
"It is not the writer's task to answer questions but to question answers. To be impertinent, insolent, and, if necessary, subversive."
Edward Abbey

Get a clue.
posted by nofundy at 1:07 PM on December 11, 2004


... This is not the first time armor issues have caught the Pentagon flatfooted. Last year, military families began buying advanced body armor for deploying troops that was superior to that which was provided by the military. The Pentagon has since boosted its orders for the ceramic SAPI Plates, and Congress included money in an appropriations bill to pay back military families the $2,000 cost.
Similarly, the military was criticized last year for its lack of armored vehicles, a situation it temporarily remedied by boosting production. However, the requirements for up-armored Humvees has outpaced their orders.
...
posted by amberglow at 1:14 PM on December 11, 2004


Another good piece on deserters appears in Mother Jones.
posted by mountainmambo at 1:16 PM on December 11, 2004


Bob Steele, an ethicist with the Poynter Institute, said, "Lee Pitts used some enterprise in how he went about getting that question on the table. From an ethical standpoint, he certainly needed to be honest with the soldiers about what he was doing -- that he wanted them to ask his question. My impression is that is what he did. I don't see any form of deceit in what he did."

Chattanooga editor's note about reporter Pitts
posted by y2karl at 1:18 PM on December 11, 2004


Yes, Krrrison. As you might've heard, the liberal press got Donald Rumsfeld to go to Kuwait to meet the soldiers fighting in Iraq and do that whole morale-boosting thing.

Why would he go to Kuwait instead of Baghdad? Well, you know....
posted by c13 at 1:19 PM on December 11, 2004


Also still pertinent:

Moving one tank company costs a fortune and requires hundreds of people. Now imagine you want to move an entire unit like the 3rd Infantry Division, with hundreds of tanks and thousands of other vehicles. The size and complexity of the task is staggering. It may cost as much as $1 billion to send a division to Iraq. And it can't be done quickly. Major bases in the United States have a finite "throughput" capacity, meaning that they can only squeeze so many pieces of equipment out the door on any given day.

Ordinarily, the military would short-circuit this logistical nightmare by flying troops overseas to meet up with equipment and weapons it has stashed around the world in "pre-positioned" stocks ("pre-po" for short). However, senior Army officials told the House Armed Services Committee last month that the pre-po stocks were tapped for the Iraq war. Nearly all the equipment in Southwest Asia and on the island of Diego Garcia has been issued, as well as pre-po equipment stashed in Europe—a total of 10,000 tanks, personnel carriers, trucks, and other vehicles. Only the Army's equipment stock in Korea and the Marines' stock in Guam remain untouched. There are no pre-po stocks near Iraq for the 3rd Infantry Division (or any other unit) to borrow from. All the equipment will have to be brought from the United States, vastly increasing the cost and difficulty of the operation...


At first glance, sending National Guard units to Iraq might seem like a good way to relieve pressure on the regular Army, especially given the fact that soldiers in the 3rd Infantry Division and 101st Airborne Division have already seen combat in Iraq. Unfortunately, America's military reserves have suffered from decades of neglect, and today they remain unable to deploy anywhere quickly. Even the National Guard's "enhanced readiness" brigades require 90-120 days to prepare for an overseas deployment where they'll see combat. In peacetime, these reserve units simply aren't given the training days or dollars to keep themselves in fighting trim.

A December 2003 study by the Army War College concluded that the war in Iraq had stretched the force to near its "breaking point." The cumulative effect of logistical problems, spare parts shortages, and unprepared reserves is that the Army will be significantly less ready to fight for the next several years. Should another threat appear on the horizon, these issues will make it exceedingly difficult for the Army to respond with anything close to the force it mustered to invade Iraq last year.

There is some irony in this. Heading into the 2000 election, then-candidate George W. Bush blasted the Clinton administration's 1990s deployments to places like Bosnia and Kosovo, saying they depleted our military's readiness. "Our military is low on parts, pay and morale. If called on by the commander in chief today, two entire divisions of the Army would have to report, 'Not ready for duty, sir,' " said then-Gov. Bush, referring to the readiness of the 10th Mountain and 3rd Infantry divisions after their respective deployments to the Balkans. Today, the same criticism is being leveled at the Bush administration, except that Iraq is having a much worse effect on military readiness than the Balkans deployments ever did.


Hollow Force - Has Iraq stretched the U.S. military to its breaking point?

In other words, so much for neocon dreams regarding regime change in Damascus or Tehran.
posted by y2karl at 1:30 PM on December 11, 2004


In other words, so much for neocon dreams regarding regime change in Damascus or Tehran.

You'd think this, wouldn't you? Unfortunately, it seems more likely that they'll deploy anywhere they want to deploy, even if it means the batallion consists of a kid with a slingshot.

This may be the wrong place to ask for such fundamental information, but can someone with more military knowledge tell me if the National Guard is really supposed to be sent overseas in the first place? I've always been under the (possibly mistaken?) impression that the Guard was the force whose specific role was to stay here, for situations in which military action might be required in the US.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:36 PM on December 11, 2004


Plunging morale? Soldiers at Ft. Drum had fine training like getting to stand in a 10 x 12 room with 15 other soldiers five days a week from 9:30 -11:30, go to lunch, then go back and stand in the room from 1:00 - 4:30.

Gee, no wonder why folks don't want more training like that.

Ooops, did somebody say "war"? Oh no!
posted by buzzman at 1:40 PM on December 11, 2004


Not to worry! The Plan: outsource most jobs. Kill off the unions. Use technology instead of people. Get rid of programs such as workers comp; social security; unemployment etc--Next: how do you eat, get fed, have shelter? In the military. The EU will have the ecomomics but we will remain the world's biggest military force with a voluteer army of those in need of jobs, and food and health programs and a place to sleep. A full military for a nation in need: no potential soldier left behind!!
posted by Postroad at 1:41 PM on December 11, 2004


the military as a horrible inversion of the WPA? ugh

Faint, i had thought so too, but apparently they've been used since WW2 overseas when needed. We're using them more now bec. the current military is smaller and there's no draft (yet).
posted by amberglow at 1:46 PM on December 11, 2004


5 500/1 000 000

That's a problem? There are plenty of things wrong in Iraq. Desertion really isn't one of them from the looks of it.
posted by srboisvert at 1:54 PM on December 11, 2004


Is that in reference to the recent press-staged incident?

Just a dumb soldier doing what he was told?
posted by prak at 1:59 PM on December 11, 2004


nofundy, of all the people who frequent this site you are the last person to be telling anyone else to "get a clue."
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 2:02 PM on December 11, 2004


Is that in reference to the recent press-staged incident?

Not to mention, of course, the "press-staged" en masse applause that followed it.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:14 PM on December 11, 2004


Surprised that no-one mentioned this (from the first article):

Military experts said the new data show the American military is being stretched to its limits -- or beyond. "It shows that we are short of troops. I don't think there is any question about that," retired Marine Corps three-star general Bernard E. Trainor told UPI. "Nobody, or almost nobody, anticipated specifically how this thing was going to turn out."

Um, what? All I was reading before the invasion was military experts saying that the US didn't have enough troops available to maintain order in Iraq after defeating the Iraqi army. Sort of like exactly what happened.
posted by Infinite Jest at 3:04 PM on December 11, 2004


Infinite, it's just like Condi at the 9/11 commission about having no idea about the attacks. They're lying--and the military fired the general(s?) that asked for more troops beforehand.
posted by amberglow at 3:10 PM on December 11, 2004


Good for them.
posted by rushmc at 4:27 PM on December 11, 2004


Only the Army's equipment stock in Korea and the Marines' stock in Guam remain untouched.

This is not true. I spoke directly with some US Army guys in a bar here in one of the deepwater ports in Korea a month or two ago, and they were moving equipment to Kuwait.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:15 PM on December 11, 2004


nofundy, of all the people who frequent this site you are the last person to be telling anyone else to "get a clue."

"O, Pot! Thou art black!" cried the Kettle.
posted by SPrintF at 6:23 PM on December 11, 2004


A basic question, something I haven't understood since the war started.

According to Shinseki, we'd need several hundred thousand troops to stabilize Iraq. Part of what Rumsfeld is pilloried for is going to war on the cheap, which I take it in part means that he didn't go with enough troops. (Certainly that's what it sounded like in the presidential debates. Of course, "on the cheap" also means "without enough body armor", but here I'm asking about the troop count.)

If we're stretched to the breaking point now, though, how could he have gone in with more troops? The obvious answer being, "by not making every possible effort to piss off our allies," but that doesn't seem to be the only thing the people who complain about us going in with too few troops are saying.

Or is it? Can someone enlighten me?
posted by Aknaton at 6:24 PM on December 11, 2004


If we're stretched to the breaking point now, though, how could he have gone in with more troops?

The main problem is that, despite what people like Steve_at_Linwood will tell you, we never had to go to Iraq at all. Containment was working after the first Gulf War, and Hussein wasn't a threat to the US or its allies. The US military just isn't equipped for conquest, and it shouldn't be, but Rumsfeld apparently failed to be aware of this.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:50 PM on December 11, 2004


This is not in the least surprising. Most of the soldiers I know aren't reenlisting, and one which returned recently said "If I have to go back, I'll shoot myself." Another has gotten a lot of crap recently for being overweight -- after many months deployed, they are suddenly cracking down on physical training -- and has basically decided not to do anything about it, eating until he becomes physically unfit for service, thereby getting an honorable discharge.

There was a recent article over at Hackworth's site about how most of the new enlistment stats are far short of their goals, and that is after you account for some serious high pressure tactics by the military to get people to reenlist. If you return from an Iraq deployment, for example, it is common to get asked to re-up... if you don't, you're reassigned to a different unit, "as needed", and often will find yourself on your way back to Iraq shortly, at which point they can keep you in the service for many, many months after your time was supposed to be up. In many cases, requests by officers to resign are being refused, even if their term-of-duty is already up.

In other words, it's quickly becoming a non-volunteer volunteer army.

And, of course, there is what the soldiers face over there. A soldier recently sent me pictures of the unseen enemy in this country -- young Iraqi teens. There's no way that you can put soldiers in the position of having to kill kids without it getting to them... and it's more common than you'd think.
posted by insomnia_lj at 7:06 PM on December 11, 2004


There's no way that you can put soldiers in the position of having to kill kids without it getting to them... and it's more common than you'd think.

And in this we are not alone.

If these were ordinary times, the chief of staff would be out of a job. For one thing, because both at home and abroad the IDF is losing its time-honored reputation of being an ethical army, an army that regards human life as sacred. From a series of recent incidents, a bleak picture arises of barbaric conduct toward the enemy and a serious decline in morale as highly motivated young soldiers find themselves operating in the heart of a civilian population. Bereaved families no longer feel that they have sacrificed their sons for some lofty patriotic goal. And the more soldiers feel that their comrades have been killed in vain, the greater the incidence of barbaric behavior toward the Palestinians.

Quick, the house is on fire
posted by y2karl at 7:33 PM on December 11, 2004


Only the Army's equipment stock in Korea and the Marines' stock in Guam remain untouched.

This is not true...


That was written awhile ago:

Hollow Force - Has Iraq stretched the U.S. military to its breaking point? By Phillip Carter
Posted Friday, April 23, 2004, at 2:41 PM PT


Which makes your report most definitely not good news.

Also, from that article:

Army leaders told Congress that it would take years to restore the pre-po stocks. The Army and GAO agree that it will cost $1.7 billion to reconstitute the Army's pre-po sets being used in Iraq, but only $700 million of that has been found so far. This expense was never built into any of the White House's regular or supplemental funding requests for Iraq. Rebuilding these stocks, which are critical to the Army's ability to deploy overseas in a hurry, will have to wait in line with billions of dollars in other unfunded requirements, which, according to the Washington Post, include $132 million for bolt-on vehicle armor; $879 million for combat helmets, silk-weight underwear, boots, and other clothing; $21.5 million for M249 squad automatic weapons; and $27 million for ammunition magazines, night sights, and ammo packs. Also unfunded: $956 million for repairing desert-damaged equipment and $102 million to replace equipment lost in combat.
posted by y2karl at 7:43 PM on December 11, 2004


unfunded...unfunded....unfunded

Why are not the "Democratic Opposition" calling for ALL of this to be paid for, and be paid for on a 'cost now, pay now' basis?
posted by rough ashlar at 8:43 PM on December 11, 2004


Yeah, but just look at the wonders that war does for the economy! What an illness.
posted by buzzman at 9:32 PM on December 11, 2004


> This may be the wrong place to ask for such fundamental information, but can someone with more military knowledge tell me if the National Guard is really supposed to be sent overseas in the first place? I've always been under the (possibly mistaken?) impression that the Guard was the force whose specific role was to stay here, for situations in which military action might be required in the US.

Legally, the National Guard is the modern descendant of state militias raised prior to the union and reserved for their use in peacetime (Art. 1, Sec. 8); the same clause permits the National Guard to be "federalized", i.e. transferred to active duty armed forces, for the duration of needs as defined by Congress (this is one of the niceties that is glossed over in the replacement of a good old-fashioned Declaration of War with a "use of force authorization", although constitutionally they are equivalent). The National Guard has been used in the past as a stopgap measure while an army was raised. For example, many of the troops sent to bolster our forces in the Philippines were National Guard, some from my hometown; those forces were mowed down in the defense of Corregidor and later, after the largest mass surrender in the history of the US military, died on the Bataan Death March. Similarly when Ike, JFK and LBJ federalized National Guard units for the purpose of enforcing federal civil rights law, they were removed from the authority of the state executive by writ -- which is why it was particularly galling to the Lester Maddoxes to have "their" militia used against them. National Guard troops were also sent to Vietnam early on, in order to avoid drawing down Iron Curtain frontline troops, but their training proved inadequate and the Pentagon decided to emphasize drafted regular army troops instead. Since then training of National Guard and Reserve troops has been re-emphasized, particularly following the Cold War, and they are serving a role which is legally authorized but perhaps not envisioned quite as such, that is, wholesale replacement for fully-trained active-duty troops in lieu of a draft.
posted by dhartung at 10:09 PM on December 11, 2004


Simply put, there are no more front lines. In slow recognition, the Army purchased light armored vehicles in the late 1990's for its military police to conduct peacekeeping, and more recently spent billions of dollars to outfit several brigades with Stryker medium-weight armored vehicles, which are impervious to most small arms and rocket-propelled grenades and can be deployed anywhere in the world by airplane.

But the fact that there is no longer a front line also means there aren't any more "rear" areas where support units can operate safely. Support units must now be prepared to face the same enemy as the infantry, but are having to do so in trucks with canvas doors and fiberglass hoods because Pentagon procurement planners never expected they'd have to fight. Remember that Pfc. Jessica Lynch, the Iraq invasion's most celebrated prisoner of war, was a supply clerk with a maintenance company.

Americans who have never served in the military may not realize the scale of the problem. Napoleon's army may have marched on its stomach, but ours requires a juggernaut of mechanics, medics, logisticians and truck drivers carrying everything from ammunition to underwear to keep moving. As a general rule, these support troops outnumber combat soldiers by about seven to one.

As Americans found out this week, the more enterprising of these soldiers find ways to improvise armor, diving into Kuwaiti scrap heaps or cannibalizing damaged American vehicles. Some, like the soldiers of the 343rd Quartermaster Company, refuse their missions entirely, risking court-martial instead of facing combat with broken or unarmored trucks. Others simply drive on, with blind (and some would say foolish) faith in their equipment...


How the Front Lines Came to the Rear
posted by y2karl at 10:49 PM on December 11, 2004


...signifying nothing.

This war was lost before it even started.
posted by bardic at 10:52 PM on December 11, 2004


Thanks, dhartung; that was just what I wanted to know. Hardly seems right, though.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:29 PM on December 11, 2004


Do you mean to cast aspersions towards an entirely legitmate question?

The question itself is legitimate. But treating this instance of it as evidence of rampant soldier discontent is absurd if it originated from the press.

Get a brain, morans. amberglow's pretty much the only one who provided a valid rebuttal to this.
posted by Krrrlson at 11:37 PM on December 11, 2004


So what does all of this information tell us, kiddies, if nothing else? It tells us that the Bush Administration has these options:

1. reinstituted the draft and raise however many troops the Pentagon thinks are needed to suppress Iraq. First, this would break the back of public support the Bush people have for Iraq, even in the red states. You'd see a lot more parents than you'd expect volunteering to drive their sons and daughters to Canada. Plus there's the question of whether these troops would be experienced enough and trained well enough before they went into combat, similar to what concerns have been with the Guard and reserves. Plus, there's also the question of whether Democrats (and fiscal hawk Republicans) would be willing to foot the bill, which would be several times higher than it is now.

2. Fund a massive increase in the regular Army manpower to meet Pentagon needs. Will there be enough people interested in volunteering for the military to fill the new slots, even with the slow economy? Plus, we're still going to have to deal with the costs of the buildup on top of the other hidden costs (VA physical rehab costs, mental health costs) we're going to have to pay.

3. Do nothing. You're seeing the results of that right now.

4. Immediately pull out of Iraq and admit we were wrong to go for regime change. Oh, wait, for Bush that's not an option, at least from a pride standpoint.

The problem with America has always been that we've been willing to undertake colonial/imperial style missions (ex., the 1890's takeover of the Philippines and Hawaii, Latin American adventures, Vietnam, etc.) but have never been able to admit to our citizens that we're doing it only to increase our power and influence. We've always filed these efforts under the heading of "promoting democracy" no matter if that's what our primary goal is or not. The British managed to promote democracy in its old colonies because they dedicated decades and small fortunes to building those colonies. Anyone in America interested in spending the next 20 years in Iraq, or anywhere else in the Mideast?
Half-assing being an global power doesn't work. It never has. We have to decide whether America is going to be an empire or a multilateral nation and be honest about what that means for our country. Those are the only choices.
posted by Leege at 1:44 AM on December 12, 2004


Get a brain, morans. amberglow's pretty much the only one who provided a valid rebuttal to this.

Actually, I think the most valid rebuttal is the fact that, after all us America-hating libruls noted the soldier's discontent about improper protection, the army is suddenly expediting the order of armored humvees.

Damn us hate-America liberals, the way we likely just saved some soldiers' lives and all by highlighting this. Morons, we are, for doing that. But please, continue with your accusations against that dastardly liberal media. That's what'll get our troops killed.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:10 AM on December 12, 2004


Well put, Leege. We don't want to do the hard work for or have the bad reputation of being an empire. We use economic levers instead to get what we want -- all the while calling it, as you say,"promoting democracy."

NATO's destruction of only 14 Yugoslav army tanks compares with its bombing of 372 centers of industry, including the Zastava car factory, leaving hundreds of thousands jobless. "Not one foreign or privately owned factory was bombed."
posted by faux ami at 5:42 AM on December 12, 2004


But please, continue with your accusations against that dastardly liberal media. That's what'll get our troops killed.

I'm pleasantly surprised find a pertinent link in your first paragraph, and then there's this gem. Oh well. Baby steps... baby steps.
posted by Krrrlson at 7:29 AM on December 12, 2004


Well said y2carl. Few realize how small the number of actual "fighting" soldiers there are.

So many of the soldiers and civilian personel seem to be driving about in convoys to and fro, as if "the war" were a carnival game for indigenous peoples to take potshots at or blow up.
posted by buzzman at 8:30 AM on December 12, 2004


I'm with Krrrlson. The other 2,300 troops who gave Wilson a HUA and applause after he asked this were all staged.

WTF? Is the only good soldier a dead soldier?

Maybe the never-do-rights should explain HOW to support our troops, instead of just asking why we don't support them...

because I'm just not getting it.
And Rumsfeld needs to work on his pep talk. The whole "hey, what's all this bitching about armor? you can still get blown to shit, even in a fully-armored vehicle" isn't exactly heartening.
posted by Busithoth at 8:30 AM on December 12, 2004


We're either going to have to get soldiers from our allies or institute a draft.

Of course, we can't get help from our allies, because Bush is seen around the world for what he is - a fascist bigoted stupid bible-thumping torturing medieval crusader. At every stage of his life, from torturing animals as a kid to ingoring the abuses at Abu Ghraib.

A lot of people will die, because that fathead is president. If he had had any honor at all he wouldn't have run.
posted by xammerboy at 8:31 AM on December 12, 2004


My opinion is based on the Pentagon's.
posted by xammerboy at 8:53 AM on December 12, 2004


nofundy, of all the people who frequent this site you are the last person to be telling anyone else to "get a clue."
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 2:02 PM PST on December 11


How can I ever repay you O' Great Wise One for dispensing your words of guidance upon my unworthy self?

Supporting the troops has absolutely nothing to do with proper planning and equipment, it means putting a tacky magnetic yellow ribbon your SUV to go with the bumpersticker that says "I support President Bush and our troops" as such support for one is totally inseparable from the other.
posted by nofundy at 8:55 AM on December 12, 2004


Improvised explosive devices accounted for 219 fatalities — or 18.3 % of the total. [Note: there is reason to think these percentages have changed as a result of the fight for Fallujah.] Many of these casualties, judging by the DOD casualty announcements I read every day, were for soldiers driving in vehicles that were either ambushed or hit by an IED. It stands to reason that some of these fatalities could have been avoided — or at least, converted into wounded in action statistics — had there been better vehicle armor, better armament for these convoys, and better training.

Intel Dump


Members of a California Army National Guard battalion preparing for deployment to Iraq said this week that they were under strict lockdown and being treated like prisoners rather than soldiers by Army commanders at the remote desert camp where they are training.

More troubling, a number of the soldiers said, is that the training they have received is so poor and equipment shortages so prevalent that they fear their casualty rate will be needlessly high when they arrive in Iraq early next year. "We are going to pay for this in blood," one soldier said. They said they believed their treatment and training reflected an institutional bias against National Guard troops by commanders in the active-duty Army, an allegation that Army commanders denied.

The 680 soldiers of the 1st Battalion of the 184th Infantry Regiment were activated in August and are preparing for deployment at Doña Ana, a former World War II prisoner-of-war camp 20 miles west of its large parent base, Ft. Bliss, Texas.

Members of the battalion, headquartered in Modesto, said in two dozen interviews that they were allowed no visitors or travel passes, had scant contact with their families and that morale was terrible. "I feel like an inmate with a weapon," said Cpl. Jajuane Smith, 31, a six-year Guard veteran from Fresno who works for an armored transport company when not on active duty.


Guardsmen Say They're Facing Iraq Ill-Trained


Nearly a third of the 1 million US military personnel called to duty in Afghanistan and Iraq have served two or more extended tours in combat zones, according to figures compiled by the Defense Department.

The breakdown indicates that of the 955,609 members in the armed forces, including active-duty and reserve personnel, who have been deployed for operations in Afghanistan or the Persian Gulf region since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, 303,987 have been sent overseas more than once. The data, as of Sept. 30, demonstrate the extent to which the Afghanistan operation and larger Iraq mission have placed enormous strains on soldiers and their families and how the frequent deployments are threatening the Pentagon's ability to retain veteran soldiers in the future, according to military officials and specialists.

''Our research indicates that deployment is a big influence on people's commitments to military service," said Harold Weiss, a psychology professor and codirector of the Military Family Research Institute, a government-funded center at Purdue University that is conducting a study on how military deployments affect families. ''Both spouses and members are part of the decision-making process when a family decides to stay in the military," he added. ''It's a family decision because the military is not a job; it is a life. Multiple deployments will make it harder to stay in the military."


Repeat tours of combat-zone duty put strains on families, Pentagon
posted by y2karl at 10:35 AM on December 12, 2004


I'm pleasantly surprised find a pertinent link in your first paragraph, and then there's this gem. Oh well. Baby steps... baby steps.

In short- you're right, but fuck you. I'm honored.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:41 AM on December 12, 2004


If that's what you want to think, be my guest.
posted by Krrrlson at 1:03 PM on December 12, 2004


You know, folks, us newbies may be known for kicking out the inappropriate and unwelcome FPPs (I'm saving mine for a rainy day, myself), but at least we don't spend our time attacking each other instead of each other's ideas:

"get a brain, morans"
"...moron"
"...get a clue"
"...but fuck you"

Between that and all of the sarcasm being thrown as a smokescreen for the real issue being discussed, I feel compelled to remind you all that these discussions are not about you.

Honestly, you kids today...
posted by davejay at 11:34 AM on December 13, 2004


10. A Wounded Military

Around 800,000 U.S. military troops have served in either Iraq or Afghanistan since Sept. 11, 2001. On top of being overstretched, the general health of the military may be deteriorating. More than 9,300 servicemen and women have been wounded, and there have been more than 14,400 Army medical evacuations in Iraq. At 7 to 1, the ratio of wounded to dead is the highest of any conflict in recent memory; in Vietnam, it was around 3 to 1. Wounded soldiers today have a much better chance of surviving than in the past—improved medical technology and body armor enable soldiers to endure injuries that would have killed them in previous wars. Priceless lives are saved, but the human cost of debilitating injuries and the financial cost of treatment and rehabilitation may loom large in years to come. Steve Robinson, executive director of the National Gulf War Resource Center, calculates that if a 24-year-old married male soldier with one child were to develop post-traumatic stress disorder—a condition that, together with depression and anxiety, afflicts about 1 in 6 soldiers returning from Iraq, according to the New England Journal of Medicine—he or she could receive compensation payments of more than $2,400 per month for the rest of his or her life.


The Top Ten Stories You Missed in 2004 [bugmenot/bugmenot]
posted by y2karl at 12:26 PM on December 16, 2004


Oh, hey, Krrrlson, just, you know , FYI.
posted by majcher at 9:06 PM on December 20, 2004


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