Friday, April 13, 2007

Opinion (Paul Rieckhoff): Breaking the Army

In yet another Band-Aid solution to our troop shortage, Defense Secretary Gates announced yesterday that soldiers will be serving 15-month tours in Iraq, instead of just one year. First and foremost, this policy will deal a tremendous blow to our active-duty soldiers and their families, who have already sacrificed so much in this war.

No matter how you cut it, 15 months is an excruciatingly long time to be away from one's spouse and children. It means you miss some occasions - like your child's birthday, or Christmas -- for two years in a row.

These extensions are also a terrible choice for our military readiness. Secretary Gates, in his briefing yesterday, lauded the troops and their families for their commitment and sacrifice. But courage and commitment aren't a replacement for training and rest.

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