Tuesday, June 19, 2007

No rest for the weary

By Libby

The recruiters promised them everything to get them to sign on the dotted line but what our troops got was a permanent assignment to kill, kill, kill. In case you were wondering why so many Iraq vets are coming home with severe cases of PTSD, well, there is this.

WASHINGTON — U.S. commanders in Iraq are rejecting a recommendation by Army mental health experts that troops receive a one-month break for every three months in a combat zone, despite unprecedented levels of continuous fighting and worsening risks of mental stress.

Instead, commanders are trying to give troops two to three days inside heavily fortified bases after about eight days in the field, said Brig. Gen. Joseph Anderson, chief aide to the ground forces commander in Iraq, Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno.

"We would never get the job done of securing (of Baghdad) if we went out for three months and came back" for one, Anderson said.

Under this administration, our troops get less time away from active combat than in any other war. This on top of extended tours and stop-loss programs that prevent them from leaving the service when their tours are completed, forcing them to return to the front repeatedly. Small wonder they come home damaged from the stress and go beserk killing civilians while they're there.

Easy for the brass to say the soldiers simply have to tough it out. They're sitting in air conditioned offices on fortified bases moving the men around like pawns on a chessboard in a game they're never going to win and they know it. They're not the ones who are patrolling the mean streets day after endless day, forced to wonder who, in a sea of faces speaking a language they don't know, will be the one that tries to take them out.

I would bet that if they still fought wars like they did in the old days, with the generals leading the troops onto the battlefields, they would be exhibiting a little more empathy for their men and a little more practicality in their planning.

[Thanks to the Xsociate for the links.]

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gulf War soldiers were deployed for 6 mths only as a direct result of studies done years before during and after Viet Nam that showed 1 year deployments took too large a physical and mental toll. As usual, this administration continues to behave irratically and illogically, flying in the face of extensive research and common sense. Will it end before it's too late? That is my biggest worry.

12:21:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

That's every sane person's biggest worry Rocky. It's clear it won't end as long as Bush is in office.

1:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The purpose for recycling the same troops over and over again is to keep the number of people affected by the failure of Iraq down. That's the reason, it's purely political and the only way the troops can end it is their own responsibility. They would likely have to resort to fragging the officer corp. That's part of the reason we left Vietnam.

6:08:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Yikes Bogi. I hope it doesn't come down to that. Fragging is so ugly and it wouldn't work anyway. Nothing will end the occupation short of impeaching Bush and Cheney.

11:31:00 AM  

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