America's All Volunteer Military Is a Thing of The Past
by James Glaser
With tens of thousands of dollars in signing bonuses for signing up for another hitch, our "all volunteer" military could be called a mercenary army.
Not only are we paying the bonuses, we are also lowering the standards of who the Pentagon will take. Drug conviction? That's OK, we can still use you. Never finished high school? We'll let that pass, too.
Without telling the American public, the Bush administration has been sending thousands of extra new troops to both Afghanistan and Iraq. With the poll numbers down, Republicans need a breakthrough in either war before the election in November. Finding Osama would put the icing on the cake, but even stopping a full scale civil war from breaking out in Iraq could help.
Adding new troops to the combat zone puts a strain on everything, so thousands of Soldiers and Marines who thought their active duty time was over are getting the notice that they are going back into the grinder.
USA Today reports, "The U.S. Marine Corps is preparing to order thousands of its troops to active duty in the first involuntary recall since the early days of the war." It is reported that both the Army and Marines will be calling up 10,000 troops each. "The call-up will affect Marines in the Individual Ready Reserves, a segment of the reserves that consists mainly of those who have left active duty but still have time remaining on their eight year military obligation."
Can you imagine what it is like for a Soldier or Marine who has done a tour or two in Iraq or Afghanistan? They are home trying to get their lives back to normal in the "real world," and that letter arrives telling them to report for another tour of combat.
This tells us just how strapped our military is. Young officers and senior enlisted people are getting out. Some to make the big money with civilian contractors or mercenary units, and some because they know too many tours and your number is going to come up. I would bet you that many are now seeing what a crime these wars have become, and they no longer want to take the responsibility for what they are ordered to do.
Bush's wars will put a strain on our military for years to come. Thousands of fine young trained service men and women have been killed or maimed so badly that they will never see active duty again. With the number of troops we are losing so high, and the number of Americans willing to volunteer so low, it will take our military years to get back to the strength we were at before George Bush took command.
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