Do You Remember The Soldiers?
by James Glaser
October 28, 2008
It is easy to remember that we have a couple of wars going on, but it is harder to remember that we have about 160,000 Soldiers, Airmen, Marines, and Sailors fighting those wars. With the presidential election going on, we seldom even hear about the troops being killed, and when a chopper gets shot down like the one that did yesterday in Afghanistan, it doesn't even make the nightly news.
How about this. Do you remember something called "Stop Loss?" That is the Pentagon's program that keeps our troops fighting even if their enlistment is up. Yes, I know the Pentagon will tell you that we have an all volunteer military, and earlier this year that same Pentagon said they were going to do away with involuntary enlistment extensions, but they lied. Imagine that!
This isn't some small program. In September the Army extended 12,204 Soldiers, and forced them to stay in the service after their enlistment was up. USA Today reports that Lt. Col. Mike Moose said that "the same number likely will be affected each month through 2009." So much for an "all volunteer" Army.
Can you imagine the stress that is put on a family who is planning their after-enlistment future? How do you think they feel when they are told that not only is that future put on hold, but the service member of that family is going to have to go back to the combat zone? Some Soldiers and Marines are on their forth or even fifth tour in a war zone.
It is getting harder and harder to think of the plight of our fighting men and women, because the media has decided that their story is an old story, and who wants to hear that same story over and over again?
So, the troops will continue to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan with forays into Pakistan and now Syria. Families will continue to split up because of years of separation. More troops will come home in flag draped coffins that no one will see because it is against the law to photograph them. Thousands of more troops will come home to a life-time of dealing with PTSD, traumatic brain injuries, lost limbs, horrible burns, loss of sight, and loss of hearing. You just know some new disease will affect these troops like the many ailments caused by Agent Orange from the Vietnam War and Gulf War illnesses that affected the troops from the first Gulf War.
Americans will remember the players in the World Series and this year's Super Bowl, but it will be hard for then to remember the troops. We could really show we remember them. If we decided to bring them all home.
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