Friday, April 13, 2007

Your reward for a job well done........

Is more punishment. That's the message Secretary of Defense Gates sent to serving Soldiers in the Army on Wednesday.

WASHINGTON - Beginning immediately, all active-duty Army soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan will serve 15-month tours — three months longer than the usual standard, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Wednesday.

It was the latest move by the Pentagon to cope with the strains of fighting two wars simultaneously and maintaining a higher troop level in Iraq as part of President Bush’s revised strategy for stabilizing Baghdad.

Officials on Monday said some 13,000 National Guard troops were receiving orders alerting them to prepare for possible deployment to Iraq — meaning a second tour for several thousand of them.

When asked about it, the powers that be will point to the fact that retention is high. So hey, what's getting screwed over yet again? People are staying right?

Well maybe, but there are troubling indicators if one looks beneath the surface.

As has been pointed out in the news, West Point graduates are leaving when their active duty commitment is up-in much greater numbers. I can't blame them. These guys face a choice, stay and keep going back to Iraq and Afghanistan or leave and have a normal life without that threat hanging over their heads.

Navy times reported that Sailors are staying, but they are not re-enlisting-just extending their current enlistments. The powers that be attribute that to Sailors extended so they can ship over in a Tax Free zone.


Of course it could be that they don't want to cede control. With the Navy increasingly betraying its Sailors by sending them to do the Army's work, Sailors know that if they ship over they have lost any bargaining chip against that. Extending allows them to play the "I quit" card.

Again, I don't blame them. Why have this hanging over your head for the next 10 years?

Personally, I believe that if troop levels do not start coming down in Iraq in 2008, you will see retention figures fall dramatically. The folks in uniform have been strung along again and again. There is a limit to how many times the folks can be lied to.

I'm reminded of the old saying, "Enjoy your freedom? Thank a Soldier.". Today though the saying is, "Screwed over and extended yet again? Thank a Rumsfeld.".

This is just the beginning of the train wreck..............

Got to run.


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