Saturday, December 16, 2006

Bush's war straining Guard, Reserve

Even as the Pentagon asks for greater access to National Guard and military reserve personnel, there is evidence that those institutions are nearing the breaking point as sources of manpower for the occupation of Iraq.

Lt. Gen. David Poythress, the state adjutant general for the Georgia National Guard, said he agreed with Schoomaker that there need to be changes in the Army's structure since it's configured to fight high-intensity, short-duration wars, not the grinding guerrilla conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. But he expressed concern that the National Guard may be carrying too much of the load.

"You need readily available manpower on both the active and the reserve side," Poythress said. "There is a danger of breaking the Army, but there is an equivalent danger of breaking the Guard. Guardsmen don't sign up to be full-time soldiers. If that's what they wanted, they'd join the active Army."

Reserve advocates are noticing indications that some 30-something junior officers and non-commissioned officers are thinking about pulling the plug on their reserve status in order keep from falling behind on the civilian career ladder.
This country needs to have an open, honest debate about how many more lives and how much more treasure the occupation of Iraq is worth. The United States is going to leave Iraq. It is not a question of winning or losing. You can win a war. You cannot win an occupation. The reason is that your adversary, the occupied, live there. They are not going to go away, and you cannot kill enough of them to result in a victory.

Sooner or later, we are going to leave Iraq. The only question is how much more time, how much more money and now many more lives we are going to waste before accepting the inevitable.


Rob Anderson said...

I couldn't agree more. Very concise description of the problem. Well done.