Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Bush plan to increase burden on Guard, reserves

Bush's escalation of the Iraq war will force members of the reserves and the National Guard to spend even more time in harm's way and away from their families and jobs.

Under Pentagon policy, Guard and Reserve units have been limited to 24 months of mobilization for the Iraq war. That means most Reserve units that already have been sent to Iraq are ineligible to return. But the Joint Chiefs of Staff have concluded that a significant troop buildup would require the Pentagon to send Guard and Reserve units for additional yearlong tours.

Such an order probably would be controversial among the nation's governors — who share authority over the Guard — and could heighten concerns in Congress over the war and Bush's plans for a troop increase. In addition, National Guard leaders were skeptical of calls for additional combat tours, which they fear could hurt recruiting and retention.

"If you have to sustain a surge long-term, you have to use the Guard and Reserve," said a Defense Department official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the president had not unveiled his strategy shift.
The Guard and reserves were not designed for this.

Over the Christmas holiday, I was talking with a retired Army officer who is now the Chief Operating Officer of a growing technology firm. He is going to have to fire one of his most talented employees for the simple reason that the military cannot tell him when this young man is going to re-deployed stateside. He wants to keep his job open, but it is affecting business. He is responsible for other people, and he has a hard decision to make. So, thanks to this unnecessary war, this young man will not have a job to come home to. If he comes home.

There tens of thousands of these stories all over the country - lost careers, ruined marriages, to say nothing of the lost lives and unspeakable injuries of people who did not sign up for this.

All this so George W. Bush can say he didn't lose the Iraq war, which there was no reason to start in the first place.