Friday, August 10, 2007

Because You Deserve to Know What Your Tax Dollars Aren't Paying For

The last time I posted first hand encounters regarding the way in which our troops were treated in Afghanistan, my sitemeter registered a fair few hits by U.S. Government officials — including the Department of Information (no idea why they don't even bother to cover up where they visit on the 'net).

Shortly thereafter, I saw that people at an undisclosed military facility in Colorado were viewing that particular entry after they were e-mailed the link.

(Scary how much these sitemeters tell you, isn't it?)

Hoping those visits were just a bizarre coincidence — but fearing I could get my "source" in some sort of trouble — I removed the post. Though, yes, I realized it may have been too late.

That was more than a year ago. Suffice it to say that in the meantime I've had a difficult time holding my tongue about similar concerns.

Like last night, learning the demographics of platoons we are "training" for deployment to Iraq.

One non-commissioned officer and a couple dozen boys, 18-19 years old, fresh out of boot camp.

That's it. One low-ranking sergeant leading a group of kids. One person who's there because he wants to be, and countless others because they needed the money offered by a sign-on bonus. I mean, let's be realistic: look at all the incentives the Army now offers kids who sign up; look at the number of soldiers with decent test records and passable grades (and compare that to past records — it's sickening how the Army has lowered its standards); and tell me it's safe to send a group of those boys and girls into the desert.

I hate to say it, folks, but if that's not treating soldiers like slabs of meat, I don't know what is.

Or as one co-worker put it: "It's like they're looking for bodies to stop the bullets while they build their embassy."

And so: yes, I think this is a bogus war. And save that initial invasion into Afghanistan (which we botched terribly), I've never supported this.

But, please, if you're going to send Americans into Iraq by the thousands... make sure our soldiers are qualified. Make sure they're there because they want to serve their country, and not because they needed the money. Make sure they have their diploma and please — whatever you do — stop waiving criminal records (rumor has it "soldiers" are stealing equipment from members of their squad). Make sure they're well-trained, and have all the supplies they need.

And while you're at it: change your strategy or get the heck out. Because increasing our head count isn't doing a damn thing.


Anonymous said...

The B in 11-B (light infantry) stands for "Bullet Catcher".

I have heard some really bad things about what is going on in basic training and AIT. You don't have to pass any of the tests to graduate. The attitude is "Their active duty units can fix it."

If I knew someone stole my stuff, he had best sleep with his eyes open and never go into combat with me. Buddy F***ers don't live long in a fire fight.

So, yes, the answer is they are basically treating soldiers as mobile sand bags. Sorry.

Michael K said...

When I was in the Navy during the first Gulf War, we had a lot of guys that were given the choice between military service and jail. There is a very large group of military personnel who specialize in doing next to nothing and working the system. We called them "oxygen thieves" and if we could just put them out on the front lines our military would be better served.

Seriously though, I worry about all of our troops. They are good kids for the most part and we are destroying their lives by sending them to Iraq for no good reason.

Beth said...

It's heartbreaking and frightening to realize how little this administration values a human life ... unless it hasn't been born.

disgruntled world citizen said...

i cry and wince a little every time i see some young kid who doesn't know the first name a razor walking around in our mall in his fatigues. i see alot of them when they are on leave or furlough from camp aterbury which is about 20 miles south of me. i just want to run up to them and say "please, keep your head down and be careful," but then they're 18-21 and they're indestructable, right? immortal... no. sadly, they aren't.

Michael K said...

Disgruntled: I watch the News Hour With Jim Lehrer every night and they wrap up the show with a roll call of the men who have died. They always list their ages. I see the number 20 a lot and it makes me think, "They're just kids." I cry every day.

Stacy said...

I had a shrapnel laden teenager-ish boy in my shop last week. He got it in Iraq. He was almost finished with his first tour when his Hummer ran over an IED. I asked if he was going back and he had to guess if I was one of them or one of the sane ones. I talked him into staying home with his wife and 1 year old. Then he started to talk. Ten thousand dollars for your life, think that will pay for a semester in college for your son? What a crock of sh-+.