Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Right-wing brainiacs Bill Kristol and Rich Lowry recently advised that the solution to Iraq is to send more troops. Apart from the problem of simply throwing the lives of more American soldiers on to the Iraq bonfire, there's that tiny inconvenient thing of not having the capacity to send more troops.

This story came out a few days ago:
Strained, Army Looks to Guard for More Relief

WASHINGTON, Sept. 21 — Strains on the Army from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have become so severe that Army officials say they may be forced to make greater use of the National Guard to provide enough troops for overseas deployments.

Senior Army officers have discussed that analysis — and described the possible need to use more members of the National Guard — with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld’s senior adviser on personnel, David S. C. Chu, according to Pentagon officials.

While no decision has been made to mobilize more Guard forces, and may not need to be before midterm elections, the prospect presents the Bush administration with a politically vexing problem: how, without expanding the Army, to balance the pressing need for troops in the field against promises to limit overseas deployments for the Guard.
An internal Army document that was provided to The New York Times notes that the demand for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan has greatly exceeded past projections that predicted earlier troop reductions. According to the document, the Army needs $66.1 billion to make up for all of its equipment shortfalls. Referring to the units that are to deploy next to Iraq and Afghanistan, or are in training, the document shows a large question mark to indicate their limited readiness.

The Army had to offer generous new enlistment bonuses of up to $40,000 to attract recruits into such dangerous jobs as operating convoys in Iraq. It was able to meet its active-duty enlistment goals this year with the addition of 1,000 new recruiters.
The head of the National Guard recently said that his military branch was "in an even more dire situation than the active Army."

It's difficult to judge which is more at the breaking point, the Army or the National Guard.

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