2 comments April 2nd, 2008at 07:28am Posted by Eli
…Or, y’know, allowing the Army to collapse:
In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee yesterday, Army Vice Chief of Staff General Richard Cody sternly rebuked all those who’ve been blowing sunshine and spreading baseless happy talk for five years with regard to the war in Iraq. And he was blunt–blunter than I’ve ever heard him before–about the crisis facing the Army. He even went so far as to hint at the “D-word” in his prepared remarks:
Today’s Army is out of balance. The current demand for our forces in Iraq and Afghanistan exceeds the sustainable supply and limits our ability to provide ready forces for other contingencies . . . Current operational requirements for forces and insufficient time between deployments require a focus on counterinsurgency training and equipping to the detriment of preparedness for the full range of military missions.Given the current theater demand for Army forces, we are unable to provide a sustainable tempo of deployments for our Soldiers and Families. Soldiers, Families, support systems, and equipment are stretched and stressed by the demands of lengthy and repeated deployments, with insufficient recovery time. Equipment used repeatedly in harsh environments is wearing out more rapidly than programmed. Army support systems, designed for the pre-9/11 peacetime Army, are straining under the accumulation of stress from six years at war. Overall, our readiness is being consumed as fast as we build it.
And then he added the kicker:
If unaddressed, this lack of balance poses a significant risk to the All-Volunteer Force and degrades the Army’s ability to make a timely response to other contingencies.
When Cody says “this lack of balance poses a significant risk to the All-Volunteer Force,” he’s really saying we have three options:
1. We can change course now and save everyone a lot of trouble.
2. We can maintain our current course in Iraq and watch the Army disintegrate as it did during and after Vietnam.
3. We can institute the Draft.
The adjective “All-Volunteer” is the key part of the statement. He’s implying that if the force were not all-volunteer, then there would be no “significant risk.” As no sane officer would accept the disintegration of the Army, Cody is saying that if we want to keep up this thing in Iraq, we’re going to have to move toward instituting a draft. It’s that simple.
These comments, however, were neither made in a vacuum, nor are they random. In fact, they follow closely on the heels of comments made by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen last week, when he met with President Bush:
If the current round of fighting subsides and the U.S. withdrawals from Iraq go ahead as planned, Mullen says, he’s exploring the idea of shifting troops to Afghanistan – an effort that he says is vastly under resourced.“So, should we be in a position where more troops are removed from Iraq, the possibility of sending additional troops there – where we need them, clearly – certainly it’s a possibility. But it’s really going to be based on the availability of troops. We don’t have troops. . .sitting on the shelf, ready to go.”
In less than a week now, the Army Vice Chief of Staff and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have both expressed to Congress and the President that there are simply no more troops available to keep up the current pace of operations. And they’ve both implied that the “All-Volunteer Force” has reached the limits of its capability. I’d call that a pattern. And I’d also call it the first step toward giving the civilian leadership the ultimatum it apparently needs hear.
And Dubya has always made such a big deal out of how he listens to what his generals tell him they need. Of course, that only applies to what he tells them to tell him they need…