Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Extended Tours Of Duty

Preznut Bush said last week in his Rose Garden mini-press conference that the Democratic Congress' failure to get him an emergency funding bill for the war was going to cause some troops to have stay over in Iraq longer than they should and some to have to go earlier than they should.

This was a lie, of course.

Never mind that the 57 days Congress had failed to act on his request was less than 119 days the Republican-controlled Congress took to act on a similar request back in 2005. On the face of it, for Bush to claim it was Dems who were extending the tours of duty for soldiers and marines was just a bald-faced lie, as today's news from CNN shows:

Tours of duty for 15,000 U.S. Army troops extended.

CNN’s Barbara Starr reports, “The Pentagon today, as we speak, is reviewing a request from commanders in Iraq for the extension of the tour of duty for up to 15,000 Army troops. four combat ground brigades. One combat aviation brigade. their tours might be extended up to 120 days. Why? Because the Pentagon has to find a way to keep that so-called troop surge going.”

In addition, the Pentagon has called up 13,000 National Guard troops from Oklahoma, Indiana, Arkansas and an as-yet unspecified state for an unprecedented second deployment to Iraq early next year. Governors from Oklahoma, Arkansas and North Carolina have all been critical of the move:

As the body count increases in Iraq, some governors have begun to voice concerns about the military’s heavy use of National Guard troops.

Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry said the Pentagon is, in effect, reinstating the draft on the backs of National Guard units. Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe said redeploying National Guardsmen from his state would be “stretching our citizen soldiers thin.” North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley said he’s worried about morale and readiness.

The Bush administration is extending tours of duty for troops already deployed in Iraq and sending National Guard troops back to Iraq for an unprecedented second time because they don't have enough troops to handle Bush's surge policy.

That's the reality.

The next time Preznut Bush blames Dems for extending the tours of duty of soldiers, I hope the news media will call him on his bullshit rather than uncritically reporting what he says as fact.

But I guess given the track record of most news media members, I shouldn't hold my breath.

...they don't have enough troops to handle Bush's surge policy.

No question. And it's incredibly unfair to the troops who are extended or sent back.

A responsible administration would have called for a reinstatement of the draft to get the manpower they needed to do the job (both in Iraq and Afghanistan).

Maybe that's the approach the Dems should have taken to end the war in Iraq - reinstating the draft. The vast majority of Americans aren't the least bit affected by this war. Putting their loved ones in jeopardy over a bullshit war would cause a tremendous uproar. Even the most partisan Repubs would feel it.
Charlie Rangel tried to bring up legislation calling for a draft so he could point out how much the current members of the armed forces are carrying in this war on terror that so many on the right love to talk about fighting without ever actually getting into uniform to fight.

Of course the legislation went nowhere.
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