Guard Faces Phase-Out of Combat RoleNow, maybe it's just me, but here you have a force of men and women who signed onto the Guard for reasons that had nothing to do with defending the country as front-line soldiers in a war with real bullets.
By Julian E. Barnes
Times Staff Writer
May 8, 2006
WASHINGTON — National Guard troops in Iraq, which once constituted half the Army's fighting force, have been dramatically reduced and could be largely phased out of major combat responsibilities next year as military officials debate their performance and what role they should play in future conflicts.
Iraq was an important test of whether the Army could use the Guard more aggressively — and not just as a last resort. During the Cold War, the Guard was recast as the "strategic reserve" that would be used in the big fight against the Soviet Union that never came.
[....]But the experience also has exposed weaknesses. Some active-duty soldiers argue the Guard was less prepared for the complexities of Iraq, while guardsmen complain they were subjected to longer separations from their families than active duty counterparts and had to train on out-of-date equipment.
If you asked any teen or twentysomething who signed on in 2000 or even 2001 what they thought their primary responsibility would be, I'd wager that they'd tell you either civil defense (i.e. guarding against domestic threats like riots) or disaster relief. Even after September 11, I imagine most would tell you civil defense, followed distantly by disaster relief.
Why? Any time prior to Operation Iraq Liberation (O.I.L.), regular Army troops were sent in to fight on foreign soil first. Yes, some Guard units were mobilized, but usually in support roles.
And if these kids knew they were going to fight overseas, they would have damned well volunteered for the regular Army, where the benefits are better anyways!
No, Wimp and Blimp decided that they would cheat the system (again!) and call up the reserves and Guard as a way to fight this war on a dime rather than a dollar. Penny wise, pound foolish. It will cost us over a trillion dollars to engage in this war, even if we started pulling troops out right now, and that's not even taking into account the simple equation that Americans + Iraq = Terror Attacks Worldwide Against American Interests.
I never supported this war (just as I never supported Gulf War I) for this simple truth: when you're stung by a wasp, the last thing you do is go kick over the wasp's nest. Either you get away from the wasp, or you liquidate the one that attacked you. If you have to find the nest, then find the nest that's on your property. You don't go into a neighbor's yard on the off chance that he might have wasps as well (Wasps of MisDirection?).
The invasion of Afghanistan, coupled with the alliance of Pakistan, should have been sufficient to bring bin Laden to justice and to see an end to terror on the scale that we experienced here in the States, and no one would have said boo about our imperialist aggression.
And now the price must be paid. Now we have troops that have spent years in a country worrying about whether that tin can on the side of the road is an IED. Spent years away from their families, and lives, coming back to jobs that don't exist anymore except in a ledger somewhere, to households that have had to struggle to get by, to wives and husbands and children who expect the same solider that walked out the door in 2002 to walk back in in 2006.
Man, the worst is yet to come from this abomination!
snarkasm, snarcasm, snarky