Simmering

This really burns me:

“Boosting U.S. troop levels in Iraq by 21,500 would create major logistical hurdles for the Army and Marine Corps, which are short thousands of vehicles, armor kits and other equipment needed to supply the extra forces, U.S. officials said.

“The increase would also further degrade the readiness of U.S.-based ground forces, hampering their ability to respond quickly, fully trained and well equipped in the case of other military contingencies around the world and increasing the risk of U.S. casualties, according to Army and Marine Corps leaders.”

All over the nation there are SUVs and Lexus’s with “Support Our Troops” magnets stuck to them. Some are yellow, some are red, white and blue, but they all imply the driver of the vehicle is a troop supporter and dang it, you better be too.

Well, I don’t have a stupid magnet stuck to my car, but I do support the troops. They have my complete attention. I grieve every time I hear that more of them have died needlessly for the lie that is George W. Bush’s war of opportunity in Iraq. I note their ages: 20, 21, 32, 19, 43 … and I think about my 25-year-old daughter and her 28-year-old boyfriend, their friends of the same ages, of friends of my own that are hardly older than 43. I wonder how a war like this can be sustained without a draft – and my blood runs cold.

I think of my daughter’s friend from high school who joined the Marines in 2002, right after graduating, and went to fight in Iraq. He came home nine months later – alive, thank goodness, and uninjured physically — but so shattered mentally that even though he begged to be allowed to go back, the Marines refused to send him. He’s just 23 years old. He’s out of the military now, but who knows? They could tap him again.

And according to this story in the Washington Post I referred to above, if they do, he and others who’ll make up the soldiers that are forming this “surge” will go back just as badly supported by his country as they’ve been all along. Not enough “up-armored” vehicles. Not enough adequate body armor. Having to live in “bases” that aren’t adequately “hardened.”

“President Bush’s plan to send five additional U.S. combat brigades into Iraq has left the Army and Marines scrambling to ensure that the troops could be supported with the necessary armored vehicles, jamming devices, radios and other gear, as well as lodging and other logistics.”

This is shameful while the people who can afford to drive those freakin’ SUVs and Lexus’s around with their stupid “Support Our Troops” magnets, those yellow ribbons, get nice, comfortable tax cuts. It’s shameful that our government, prosecuting a war that never needed to be, can’t even supply the soldiers who are being sent to risk their lives and limbs with adequate equipment and materiel.

“Trucks are in particularly short supply. For example, the Army would need 1,500 specially outfitted — known as ‘up-armored’ — 2 1/2 -ton and five-ton trucks in Iraq for the incoming units, said Lt. Gen. Stephen Speakes, the Army’s deputy chief of staff for force development.

“‘We don’t have the [armor] kits, and we don’t have the trucks,’ Speakes said in an interview. He said it will take the Army months, probably until summer, to supply and outfit the additional trucks. As a result, he said, combat units flowing into Iraq would have to share the trucks assigned to units now there, leading to increased use and maintenance.”

I hope members of Congress read this story. I hope they lose sleep. And I hope they act, quickly and decisively, to stop this madness. Sending troops to war in their nation’s defense is expected and right. Sending adequately supplied and armored troops to a just and necessary war is right as well. But to send America’s sons and daughters to war so that a few of their greedy countrymen can get filthy rich – and then quadruple the insult by sending them without the equipment they need to protect themselves, even after the war has gone on for nearly four years – that’s just reprehensible. Evil.

Support our troops. Bring them home.

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