Monday, April 16, 2007

Opinion (Paul McLeary): Military meltdown

Is the US Army, under the disastrous leadership of George Bush, becoming a "hollow Army"? The phrase, borrowed from the famous assessment in 1980 by then-Army Chief of Staff Edward Meyer (who was reacting to the mess the post-Vietnam military had become), recently showed up in an article in the National Journal by James Kitfield, the guy who literally wrote the book on how the Army recovered from its post-Vietnam meltdown.

And with the announcement yesterday that the Pentagon is extending the tour of all active duty personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan from 12 to 15 months, whatever momentum the American military may have had may well sag under the weight of exhaustion.

Kitfield's piece joins a growing list of recent articles that have detailed how the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are stretching America's military to the breaking point - from equipment shortages that have wrecked the Army's ability to adequately train troops about to head overseas, to the crisis at the Walter Reed medical center, to lowered recruitment standards, to redeploying troops back into combat without the proper rest and retraining period - and there is no help in sight.

Read the rest at the Guardian