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March 12, 2007

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The Questionable Authority has written a bit more on the nuances of this, with what seems to me to be more grounded reality than most people.

If we need more soldiers, we should either dramatically increase their pay or institute a draft.

The first suggestion is probably the right thing to do anyway; the second would be involuntary servitude and should not be an option absent a serious, immediate, existential threat to the nation, in my view.

"If we need more soldiers, we should either dramatically increase their pay or institute a draft."

That wouldn't work for at least a year or two, though, maximum speed, of course.

Just because people don't tend to read older long open threads with recent comments, let me re-note that at least the armed forces are on top of morality.

Gary: yes, I know. Obviously, we should have prepared for troop shortages years ago. But equally obviously, sending people to Iraq who shouldn't be there isn't the answer.

"...the second would be involuntary servitude and should not be an option absent a serious, immediate, existential threat to the nation, in my view."

But, gosh, if we're not in Iraq because of one of those, why are we there?

interesting to see a newspaper story (series) having this kind of impact.

For those of us who were already adults when Watergate came down, this is exactly how we expect things to work: if government screws up, then the free and independent press ferrets out the details, makes the wrong-doers infamous and loathed, and heads roll. The Washington Post once gave the White House indigestion on a daily basis, and that is by god how it should be.

Then something happened--Reagan, or Woodward, or Newt in '94 or Fox News, or I don't know what. And suddenly the national press was a toothless lap-dog that couldn't possibly contradict anything sent down from RNC HQ.

Here, I think a reporter with the right instincts (Priest) has been able to buck the right-wing deception-storm by using the soldiers as a sort of human shield. They are politically unassailable, and the right-wingers can't shoot at her without hitting them. So she has managed to resurrect some of the power that the press once had, at least in regard to this one story.

It would be nice if newspapers learned how to be independent once again. Not likely, but nice.

I can't find my copy of Armor by John Steakley; some other science fiction reader (if perchance such a person might exist here) could quote the passage where the officers and doctors decide that the hideously injured soldier couldn't really have served in that many battles or had that many major surgeries, so they edit the records to tell a more reasonable story, and then they outfit him with a special garment so he can more easily squeeze his mangled self back into his combat gear.

I mean, if we wanted to see how things happen in an outlandish science fiction story.

Hilzoy- You ask: "Someone needs to explain to me again why we are not in the process of breaking the army."

Thats because we have already broken the Army. Its just that not everyone has realized that the Army is irretrievably fracked.

Hilzoy: and now we're shipping people who are too badly hurt to serve off to Iraq.

.....

(This is me being speechless.)

What on earth are these people thinking? A military doctor who is supposed to be assessing if someone is fit to serve, who decides that someone who can't wear Kevlar ought to be sent back to a war zone, is a doctor who shouldn't just be fired from their position, they should be struck off the rolls and not allowed to practice medicine.

(This is me not being speechless.)

"If we need more soldiers, we should either dramatically increase their pay or institute a draft."

Argh. If we need more soldiers (and we do) we should have dramatically increased their pay and the service alottments 2 or 3 or 4 years ago!

ARGH!

I left my copy of the scorecard in my other pair of pants. Is it still loser-defeatist to insist that troops should either be fit for duty or not sent?

Speechless. And very angry.

Add this to soldiers being asked to do a 5th deployment to the reasons I can no longer support a surge.

On the other hand, given their reduced capabilities, their chances of surviving another deployment are reduced. That means that the Army won’t have to look so bad denying them medical disability.

If we need more soldiers (and we do) we should have dramatically increased their pay and the service alottments 2 or 3 or 4 years ago!

raise your hand if you think we'll be out of Iraq in two years? four years?

i'm not raising my hand.

put me down for five years, minimum.

in other words, it's still not too late to get a draft up and running.

On the other hand, given their reduced capabilities, their chances of surviving another deployment are reduced. That means that the Army won’t have to look so bad denying them medical disability.

OCSteve wins the cynical comment of the day award (if only he mentioned all the money this would save, it would be cynical comment of the week!).

@kid bitzer: Not to take away from your overall point, which I agree with, but the story of the conflicting accounts of medical evaluations at Ft. Benning is by Mark Benjamin, not Dana Priest.

However, that actually reinforces your point about the impact of the Wash. Post series, because Benjamin's been writing about wounded veterans of the two current wars for years, and is getting much greater attention now that the series has raised the interest level.

Ugh, you beat me to it. OCSteve is sounding more and more like a regular at Kos.

Sorry Steve, but that comment is exactly what one would find there.

BTW, gwangung's link is interesting. Without taking sides in the debate, and in fact encouraging an investigation, it lays out some of the questions as to the accuracy of this report.

However, what is interesting in both this story and the Walter Reed story, is that the source of info comes from the troops themselves who are on the receiving end. It used to be very rare for active duty troops to talk about things being wrong in the military except for food and ldoging.

OT, any comments from anyone on Halliburton's big move to Dubai?

any comments from anyone on Halliburton's big move to Dubai?

tee hee

Ugh,

I’m sure money comes into it, but I’m really afraid that it is more about politics. Troop shortages also play a part. The fury making component of this is that they seem to be doing it so they can make surge numbers.

These doctors are obviously getting pressure to do this. If our very shores were being invaded you just don’t send people with some of these described injuries back to the front line. (Although in that scenario I’m sure you couldn’t keep many of them off the front line.)

“He takes a cornucopia of potent pain pills.”

Yeah, there is someone I want leading me in a combat zone. Some of these people will be in leadership positions – they won’t be just a danger to themselves, they will be a danger to the troops they lead. Even as just a squad member they will increase the danger to their entire squad.

This is simply outrageous and I’m so pissed I can’t even type.

john miller:BTW, gwangung's link is interesting. Without taking sides in the debate, and in fact encouraging an investigation, it lays out some of the questions as to the accuracy of this report.

That is an important point and I would encourage everyone to read it. It didn’t convince me that there is nothing going on here, but it did make me think about it a little more rather than jumping straight to the conclusion that Salon leads you too.

A certain Narn Regime ambassador also has something to say on the topic.

cleek: in other words, it's still not too late to get a draft up and running.

But I imagine that neither Bush nor Cheney actually care what happens after January 2009, and it is certainly too late for a draft to have any effect on the military before then.

Not that I'm convinced a draft would help, anyway: to my mind it would merely ensure that American casualties in Iraq reach the scale they did in Vietnam. Iraqi deaths bid fair to reach the same scale as Vietnamese casualties, with corresponding disasters happening in neighboring countries. The one thing neither the US nor Iraq needs now is more US soldiers in Iraq: the time when that might have been useful is long, long gone.

"to my mind it would merely ensure that American casualties in Iraq reach the scale they did in Vietnam."

Actually, I don't think they're too far off even now. The difference is just that a lot of people who died in Vietnam would have lived with contemporary technology.

Unfortunately, contemporary technology is better at keeping people alive than at restoring their capacity to live a good life. Some of these poor bastards are horribly beat up, and they and their families have a life-time of sorrow ahead of them.

Vietnam killed some 50,000 Americans. Iraq is going to leave us with numbers of that order on permanent disability. Lives ruined. Google "Renee Kline and Ty Ziegel".


"Every citizen should be a soldier. This was the case with the Greeks and Romans, and must be that of every free state."
Thomas Jefferson

Count: Actually, I don't think they're too far off even now. The difference is just that a lot of people who died in Vietnam would have lived with contemporary technology

Ah. Fair point. :-(

The rest of my argument stands.

Jes: "...after January 2009, and it is certainly too late for a draft to have any effect on the military before then."

You keep saying this, but there's no reason to think it's true.

Repetition isn't a substitute for citing relevant facts.

(Note again: I remain completely opposed to a draft, just as I'm opposed to making up fact-free opinions that are stated as fact.)

"Every citizen should be a soldier. This was the case with the Greeks and Romans, and must be that of every free state."
Thomas Jefferson

And the continuing validity of this statement is in no way undermined by the fact that the Greeks, the Romans, and Thomas Jefferson all owned slaves...

Or that Rome got its empire by only fighting "defensive wars" or that Alexander liberated the Persians from an oppressive regime[/snark]

Jefferson might have been right concerning the past when raw manpower counted for something. Today war is (or should be) something for dedicated specialists.
For today I'd say every citizen should be basically informed about what war means (and I don't mean just watching movies), not necessarily being a trooper oneself.

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