Let’s destroy a myth. In this case that sending more American troops to Iraq will “break the army.” In reality, it works like this.
Read the whole thing.
UPDATE: James Ruhland did, and emails:
Very good overall, but one caveat because it keeps coming up, about the military wanting to arrange things so that troops spend one year on deployment and two years at home.
So far, it hasn’t worked that way in reality: At least for the units I’m familiar with. 4th ID, which I am in, was back for a year. 1st Cav, also out of Fort Hood, relieved us. Then we went over, a bit over a year after 4th ID had come back. We got relieved by 1st Cav. – so they had only been back for slightly over a year.
In the meantime, in betweentime, 3rd ID was in the mix both times. From my rough calculations, they were also deployed for a year and home for ~1.5- years.
I know they want to give people more time home, but for a variety of reasons it doesn’t generally work out the way it does “on paper”, with a 1:2 deployed:home ratio.
A lot of people don’t mind that – indeed, at the moment I’m trying to get sent back over right now, having just been back for a couple months. But, then, I’m single. For others it’s a much greater sacrifice.
In that sense, those who call for “more sacrifice” have a point. But not the one they mean to make. I don’t *think* they mean we should expand the ground forces (Army & Marines) up to the size they were in the ’80s by cutting other Federal spending programs (including subsidies of various kinds) that perhaps aren’t a priority in time of war. That kind of sacrifice, which would affect their wants and needs, isn’t what they mean (they mean that *others* should sacrifice: surprisingly, the same people they target whether there’s a war on or not!)
We have a 90s “peace dividend” military fighting what is supposedly the biggest struggle of our time, and not enough people see the disconnect. Indeed, too often they paint a Panglossian picture of things simply because there are so many (so few, but proud) people willing to shoulder the burden the country puts on them, somewhat cavalierly. And those are the better people (the worst people devote all their energy fighting fiercely against their domestic political opponents, rather than our country’s foreign enemies, and see the war not as an American problem but “Bush’s” or “the Republicans”).
For “sacrifice,” I think that incumbent politicians should term limit themselves to a single additional term. Also, there should be a ban on private non-commercial jet travel, and limousine service in large metro areas, for the duration of the war. And a 100% excise tax on movie tickets and DVDs . . .
What? That’s not what they mean?