Sunday, August 12, 2007

Fatigue Cripples US Troops

Just reading about our troops in Iraq cripples me with fatigue...I can't imagine what it must be like to be over there.

"The anecdotal evidence on the ground confirms what others - prominent among them General Colin Powell, the former US Secretary of State - have been insisting for months now: that the US army is 'about broken'. Only a third of the regular army's brigades now qualify as combat-ready. Officers educated at the elite West Point academy are leaving at a rate not seen in 30 years, with the consequence that the US army has a shortfall of 3,000 commissioned officers - and the problem is expected to worsen."
The "quality" of the soldiers is not what it once was. The military has had to lower its standards because of retention and recruitment problems. The army is admitting men and women that, under normal circumstances, would not qualify to be a soldier and therefore much more likely to collapse from fatigue.

[...]
"The consequence is that we are seeing people who do not have the same coping skills when they get here, and this can be difficult.

'We are also seeing older soldiers coming in - up to 41 years old - and that is causing its own problems. They have difficulty dealing with the physical impact of the war and also interacting with the younger men.'

Valentine says: 'We are not only watering down the quality of the soldiers but the leadership too. The good leaders get out. I've seen it. And right now we are on the down slope.'"

One possible solution is a draft, not something most Americans want to hear.

"America's 'war tsar' has called for the nation's political leaders to consider bringing back the draft to help a military exhausted by wars in Iraq and Afghanistan."

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