Thursday, February 15, 2007

The "Surge" hits home

Some time ago I had a young man working for me. He was the proper age and inclination to get caught up in the patriotic fervor that surrounded our entry into the war in Iraq. But I thought he was safe. He had been in the army previously, and had received a medical discharge for injuries he incurred while in boot camp. A very short stint in the military, but since his discharge was medical I did not believe he could rejoin the military even if he wanted to.

He and I had talked about the war before it started. He was a fence sitter. He agreed with much of what I said against the war, but he believed if Iraq was a threat it was our duty to confront it. I tried to convince him that Iraq was not a threat and the whole story was BS. Colin Powell had more sway than I did however. He watched Powell's performance at the UN and told me the following morning that we had to deal with Iraq now.

A couple years later he called me to tell me that he had enlisted in the Navy Reserves. He knew I would not approve, but wanted me to know anyway. He told me that the Army recruiters had contacted him and insinuated that he could either "voluntarily" enlist or the Army was going to re-activate him and send him to Iraq. By this time things were not going well in Iraq and he choose to "volunteer" for the Navy reserves rather than risk being enlisted in the Army. I thought he should check with some independent people to see if the Army could re-activate his term after they had previously forced him out if the Army. It didn't matter he had already signed up, it was too late to back out now.

Now a year later comes Bush's "Surge." He called to tell me that they are sending him to Iraq for a 1-1/2 year tour of duty, which may be extended to 2-1/2 years. The Navy has declared that he enlisted into the US military not just the Navy. As such they can deploy him as they see fit. He is leaving soon to receive 30 days of combat training and then off to Iraq. He said that normally tours are between 6 and 9 months but his order were clear 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 years. Not on a boat, or a port, but with combat units wherever they want to send him. He also said that Secretary of Defense Mr. Gates has changed the rules of deployment so that when his tour is over he can now be redeployed after only a one week break. As a reservist his enlistment was 6 years, he still has around 5 years left. I really fear he will not survive if most of that 5 years is spent in Iraq.

I am sure that his situation is not unique. Thousands of young men and women are being sent into the meat grinder under similar circumstances. For what? So, that commander codpiece can strut around and pretend his sorry ass is a leader. To admit that there is no military solution, and seriously begin looking for a political solution, is not manly enough for this former awol guardsmen. This war and this presidency must end, the sooner the better.

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