Thursday, July 24, 2008
VOLUNTEER ARMY-Boon or Bust
This is the anniversary of the Volunteer Army: 35 years. I would not have known it had not the Chief of staff of the Army, General George Casey, called our attention to it. Instead of touting the success of the Volunteer Army, he should have been apologizing for leading us down the primrose path.
What the military is charged with at the higher levels is making sure that we are prepared for any military contingency. The generals have failed miserably. During the cold war, they went for a smaller Army and were literally seduced by high tech. They said we were prepared by producing a gaggle of slogans even as Casey has: sustain, prepare, reset, transform--what the hell does that mean? Some civilians have spent days coming up with it. Every new Chief needs some gimmick. How about this, admitting that a Volunteer Military, even though good, cannot sustain us when we are in a prolonged war.
What we now know is that Casey and other generals have been willing to claim success of the Volunteer Army and by doing so have put us in an incredibly precarious situation. They accepted plans for a war in Iraq with an inadequate force, creating untenable choices for our soldiers.
Multiple tours of duty have become the rule rather than the exception. Problems abound, i. e., suicide, divorce, PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) in varying forms. If our Army isn't broken, it is close. Policies like Stop Loss and forcing Guard and Reserve troops to perform missions for which they are not trained or ill equipped is tantamount to unforgiven--think Abu Grabib. Almost every single difficulty we face with our military today can be placed at the feet of the top Generals , plain and simple.
Although I understand the generals retiring from The Forces and writing books telling their true view: what went wrong, adinfinitum--any way served up, however, comes out somewhat disingenuous. For once, I'd like to see just one general say with clarity and no military speak the real truth is: the Volunteer Army simple is not working, in our present war footing nor will it likely work in the future.