Saturday, May 05, 2007

Stating the Obvious

CheneyBush didn't mention this part of the equation when he invaded Iraq:
The authors of the Army document argued that the strains placed on troops in Iraq are in some ways more severe than those borne by the combat forces of World War II. "A considerable number of Soldiers and Marines are conducting combat operations everyday of the week, 10-12 hours per day seven days a week for months on end," wrote Col. Carl Castro and Maj. Dennis McGurk, both psychologists. "At no time in our military history have Soldiers or Marines been required to serve on the front line in any war for a period of 6-7 months."

No fucking shit! Combat is nasty, evil business that changes a person forever. Why is anyone surprised at this? All you need do is think about what a Soldier or Marine is asked to do, multiply that day after day, deployment after deployment and it should be blindingly clear that the Iraq occupation will destroy our military. Along the way it will destroy the men and women who have volunteered to serve the nation. It's a bad deal all around.

Multiple deployment must be a living hell. A single tour is bad enough. Knowing that you may/will return to combat means you never really leave that environment. You cannot afford to lose your edge. This makes Iraq far more damaging to the individual than Vietnam where it was over for most of us once we were out of country. I guess the fact that our forces are volunteers takes some of the weight from the burden--they joined to serve their nation--but I wonder how many think it's been a fair bargain or would do volunteer again.

The Army document referenced in the quote is a survey of Army and Marine Corps forces in Iraq. The report also has this no-brainer:
The study also found that the more often soldiers are deployed, the longer they are deployed each time; and the less time they spend at home, the more likely they are to suffer mental health problems such as combat trauma, anxiety and depression. That result is particularly notable given that the Pentagon has sent soldiers and Marines to Iraq multiple times and recently extended the tours of thousands of soldiers to 15 months from 12 months.

Think back now to those stirring days of yesteryear, back in 2002 and 2003. Was any of this considered or discussed that you can recall? Of course not. It was WMD's, liberators, rose petal greetings and home before Thanksgiving, just like in Daddy's war. No biggie. That was back in the days when CheneyBush claimed to create reality that everyone else must follow. He was right. He created a reality in Iraq that America, Iraq and the world must deal with. But CheneyBush doesn't recognize the reality he created, prefering to look toward some future reality that will be better, if we only follow his newest plan. What CheneyBush did not anticipate was reality beyond his control, a reality that would destroy him and America's credibility as well. Meanwhile, the men and women of the armed forces rotate through hell. The ones returning, return to families forever changed by the separation.

The survey also showed that most Soldiers and Marines would not report a fellow combatant for abusing or harassing civilians.

...[A]bout two-thirds of Marines and half the Army troops surveyed said they would not report a team member for mistreating a civilian or for destroying civilian property unnecessarily. "Less than half of Soldiers and Marines believed that non-combatants should be treated with dignity and respect,"

Not surprising. Loyalty to your buddies, animosity toward an enemy and fear will keep many otherwise honorable people silent.

For what it's worth, the good news here is that the Army is examining and documenting these issues. The less good news is that none of this is really news. Even worse news is that this mission, all with that sacrifice, does the US no real good. What a fucking waste.

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Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

i served multiple combat tours. almost three full in viet nam. near the end of my first tour we were just starting to really bring the hammer down after murderous setbacks of tet (of course, back to even was as far as we ever got), and i shipped over to stay and get some. by the end of the second tour, the boonies were the only place i felt at home, so i stayed. during my third, i was nobody's picture of mental health. but i firmly believed that the guys around me had a better chance of living through their tours with my presence, than without it. i had developed "jungle nerves" that jangled loudly long before anyone else sensed danger. i also had hardwired a "bullshit detector" into the base of my skull and was completely unafraid to call it on the plans or missions that were all about "farkeling about smartly" to draw fire and fix positions for artillery and air power. i was one walking raw nerve, carrying an automatic rifle on hairtrigger. it got ugly.

9:17 AM  
Blogger Evil Spock said...

Its always easier when you fight a war like you play a game of Risk.

Cheney and Bush have no clue the sacrifice soldiers and their families have suffered due to the administrations wargames.

2:24 PM  

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