"Army Strong" has been replaced by "Army Tired":
Exhaustion and combat stress are besieging US troops in Iraq as they battle with a new type of warfare. Some even rely on Red Bull to get through the day. As desertions and absences increase, the military is struggling to cope with the crisis
You wonder why they're floating the draft trial balloon?
Where once the war in Iraq was defined in conversations with these men by untenable ideas - bringing democracy or defeating al-Qaeda - these days the war in Iraq is defined by different ways of expressing the idea of being weary. It is a theme that is endlessly reiterated as you travel around Iraq. 'The army is worn out. We are just keeping people in theatre who are exhausted,' says a soldier working for the US army public affairs office who is supposed to be telling me how well things have been going since the 'surge' in Baghdad began.
They are not supposed to talk like this. We are driving and another of the public affairs team adds bitterly: 'We should just be allowed to tell the media what is happening here. Let them know that people are worn out. So that their families know back home. But it's like we've become no more than numbers now.'
Contrary to what the wingnuts, and a lot of folks on our side, believe, our troops are people, not programmed killing machines. The troops are beginning to realize they've been used and exploited.
The anecdotal evidence on the ground confirms what others - prominent among them General Colin Powell, the former US Secretary of State - have been insisting for months now: that the US army is 'about broken'. Only a third of the regular army's brigades now qualify as combat-ready. Officers educated at the elite West Point academy are leaving at a rate not seen in 30 years, with the consequence that the US army has a shortfall of 3,000 commissioned officers - and the problem is expected to worsen.
And it is not only the soldiers that are worn out. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have led to the destruction, or wearing out, of 40 per cent of the US army's equipment, totalling at a recent count $212bn (£105bn).
Brigades don't have equipment and the officers and senior enlisted are leaving as soon as they are able. It won't be long before our Army is nothing but a gang of unruly, drug addicted street fighters.
If we're gonna stay in Iraq for "9 - 10 years", where in Hell are we gonna get the troops from? Is public opinion gonna suddenly change and people begin to push their kids to enlist? Will the recruiting crisis suddenly go away?
I know the Chimp and Cheney think they can hold on for another 18 months, longer if the 'terrorist attack' they've been warming us up for takes place and they manage to declare martial law (you know the Dems will roll over again), but I don't think our guys can hold out that long. I think the Chimp (or at least the folks who run the show) know that and that's why the 'slip of the tongue' by General Lute (regarding the draft) was anything but.
Sometime in the near future, you just might see the U.S. Army defeated by a buncha 'raghead camel drivers'. The once 'greatest army in the world' may just have their asses handed to 'em before this is over.
Great thanks to Dr. Attaturk.
This whole mess reminds me of a joke going around in Germany toward the end of WW2 my grandfather used to tell:
Klaus: "Manfred, what sits in the grass and shakes?"
Manfred: "The Volkssturm."
We are almost as desperate now.
... Typically, members of the Volkssturm received only the most basic of military training. This included brief indoctrination training, and then training on the use of basic weapons such as the Karabiner 98k rifle and Panzerfaust. There was no standardization of any kind and units were issued only what equipment was available. And while some Karabiner 98ks were on hand, members were also issued Gewehr 98s and Gewehr 71s in addition to a plethora of Belgian, French, British, Italian and other weapons that had been captured by Germany in her five years of war. Also the Germans had developed primitive cheap weapons to supply the volkssturm, like MP 3008 machine pistols and the Volkssturmgewehr 1-5 submachine rifle. These factors only compounded the ineffectiveness of the Volkssturm. Finally, members took a customary oath to Hitler and were then dispatched toward the enemy ...