Friday, November 18, 2005

The State Of Our Armed Forces

One of the reasons that Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa) has come out calling for a withdraw from Iraq is the damage the conflict is doing to the Armed Forces.

If is a very valid concern.

In today's NY Times there is a very enlightening story.

The military is falling far behind in its effort to recruit and re-enlist soldiers for some of the most vital combat positions in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a new government report.

The report, completed by the Government Accountability Office, shows that the Army, National Guard and Marines signed up as few as a third of the Special Forces soldiers, intelligence specialists and translators that they had aimed for over the last year.

Both the Army and the Marines, for instance, fell short of their goals for hiring roadside bomb defusers by about 20 percent in each of the last two years. The Army Reserve, meanwhile, failed to fill about a third of its more than 1,500 intelligence analysts jobs. And in the National Guard, there have been consistent shortages filling positions involving tanks, field artillery and intelligence.

Just more evidence that Bush's war of choice, the war in Iraq, is doing great harm to the basic infastructure of the armed forces. This damage runs deeper that a shortfall of manpower it is also effecting very roots of our reserve manpower infrastructure.

The IRR (involuntary Ready Reserve) was to be the talent pool of last resort. When we were facing a national emergency, and needed skilled warriors fast, these are the men who were obligated to respond. We have tried to tap into this pool for out adventure in Iraq, and the result was at best poor. As a result of this effort, and the backlash it has created, a new policy now exists;

The policy change affects an estimated 15,000 officers in the Individual Ready Reserve, a segment of the reserve that consists mainly of soldiers who left active duty but still have time remaining on their eight-year military obligation.

The 15,000 have completed their eight-year obligation but chose to stay in the Individual Ready Reserve. The IRR differs from other reserve categories such as the National Guard by not requiring regular training.

Under a new policy adopted Nov. 4, IRR officers can avoid being called to active duty, but only if they resign their commission.

Just a little more harm done to our nation by Bush and his cronies.


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