Breaking promises is a way of life for the soldier. Over the years, they have endured, RIFs (reductions in force), downsizing (fired), and SERBs, (selective early retirement boards). Most young soldiers don't think in these terms but any of us old soldiers know that promises made at one point are hollow at another one. It is the nature of the beast. Even as we speak, benefits are being eroded for retirees and some VA hospitals are struggling to provide basic services for returning wounded from Iraq. And, these are just two issues among many. Frances Quarles in the 1500s penned this very appropriate poem which applies so aptly to today's soldier,
"Our God and soldier we alike adore.
When at the break of ruin, not before.
After deliverance both alike requieted.
Our God forgotten, and our soldier's slighted."
CAN WE AFFORD THE VOLUNTEER ARMY? moneywise or emotionally?
Based on the costs in Alfganistan and Iraq, we may quickly be closing in on what I call the Iraqnam quagmire. Congress wants to add more troops, by some estimates, at least 40,000. We can't recruit for the 500, 000 authorized even. How are we going to get these? And, how can we afford them. John Kerry says for instance, that to add 40 thousand to the regular military would cost 4.5 billion to attract and retain troops. And, where are we going to get these troops short of a draft? What would be the incentive to join up?