Where was Bush's head? If we didn't have the manpower or the equipment to successfully maintain our soldiers in the field, you have to ask the question why? Bush has been adamant about proclaiming that his "Generals on the ground" would get what they needed. So why is the Chief of Staff on Capitol Hill raising hell about the Army's lack of strength and not being able to cope with the present rotations that units make? He mentions that we have to "grow" the Army by 7,000 each year in order to meet the goal of keeping the amount of troops in the field that we have right now. He also mentions that circumstances in the future might also put a demand on the Army that they might not be able to meet.
It seems to me that I have written about this since we invaded Iraq. I'm not the only one who wrote that this nation was not sufficiently poised to handle a large scale invasion of another country without boosting the size of the regular Army. You can't rely on the Guard and Reserve indefinitely. It's not fair to the Guardsmen and Reservists to find them deploying to Iraq every other year. They write in the Post:
"The burden on the Army's 507,000 active-duty soldiers -- who now spend more time at war than at home -- is simply too great, he said. "At this pace, without recurrent access to the reserve components, through remobilization, we will break the active component," he said, drawing murmurs around the hearing room."
The "remobilization" he talks about is changing the way that the Department of Defense currently interprets the authorization that Congress has given the President. The authorization states the reservists be mobilized involuntarily only once, and for no more than 24 months. The active duty component spends more time deployed than it does at home.
General Shoomaker is right. The Army will "be broken" unless we address his concerns and do it right now. This president had the responsibility to make sure that the Army could do the job, and now, after three years at war, they are screaming for more mobilizations of the Guard and Reserves. That's not the answer either. If we are going to use the military to shape the world to our liking as seems to be the goal of this present administration, the least he could do is re-start the draft. This should be prerequisite to starting a major war. Bush can't have it both ways. We can't be constantly maintaining combat operations in the Middle East without increasing the size of our Army. I can't believe that the Chief of Staff of the United States Army has to slam his hand on a table and tell members of Congress that The Army is "broken".
Let me put my two cents in. Don't just "grow" the Army by 7,000 troops a year. That's just not enough. The General knows that 7,000 more soldiers isn't enough, but he thinks that asking for more would get him a flat no from congress. If we are going to solve our diplomatic problems militarily, we should have at least a million men on active duty. If North Korea were to step over the border and attack South Korea, we are bound by treaty to help defend South Korea. How will we do that when the bulk of our combat forces are in Iraq? I've seen so much incompetence in the last six years that I just have to ask. I'm worried. I'm afraid that Bush is putting this nation in military jeopardy. I pray that the 110th Congress moves quickly to restore our military's readiness, or get us the hell out of Iraq. We can't keep going the way we are. If the administration doesn't have the moxie to ask for a draft, it should have never started a war.