Tuesday, May 24, 2005

"I went to Iraq, and all I got was this lousy re-deployment"

We often hear about how the Army is struggling to meet enlisted recruitment levels. Well, it seems that another, worse crisis for the Army could be looming: experienced, battle-tested junior and mid-level officers opting out of the service and toward a civilian career. This LA Times article has more. An enlightening excerpt:

"I still don't know if we can make it," said a senior Army officer at the Pentagon. "You tell me what Iraq is going to look like next year."

Meanwhile, the Army is dispatching combat units to Iraq and Afghanistan after soldiers have had just one year at home, a pace that is taking a toll around the country.

Timothy Muchmore, a civilian Army official at the Pentagon and a retired tank officer, said he was worried about an exodus of young officers. He summed up the problem this way:

"You take a junior officer, you send them overseas for a year. They win a lot of medals, and they're a hero. But when you send them back a second time, the odds go up that they won't make it home alive and it becomes even harder on their family. Are they any more of a hero for having served a second time? No.

"The guys returning from Iraq and Afghanistan believe they have done at least the minimum for the security of their country, and they are proud of their service," he said. "But the world is now their oyster."

These are the young men and women that have the most experience dealing with this new style of warfare, and they are being driven out of the force by the pace of the conflict. I wonder how long until the chickenhawks accuse these officers of being unAmerican. Jonah Goldberg, your number is being called! Rush Limbaugh, your name is next! Free Republic, time to put action to words!
< Blogarama