Look it up. I was the very first to make a public stink about what appears to be the greatest (known) crime of the Bush Administration -- it's relentless campaign to bully, intimidate, suborn and break the one force in American life that stands between we citizens and a very cold wind...
...the skilled professionals of the Civil Service, law enforcement agencies, the intelligence community and - above all - the United States Officer Corps.
(In fact, find anyone who made earlier use of that term, in this context. I'll wait here.)
In tandem, I also remain appalled by the Democrats' inability to recognize a simple fact. That the issue at hand is not the War in Iraq.
That war has merely been the means to an end.
The real issue is the destruction of our nation's resilience, our readiness, our ability to rely upon our professionals to protect us and our citizens' ability to rely upon themselves.
Take, for example, the fact that it has been many years since more than two or three of the US Army's active combat brigades has been able to train for war. For actual war. Even the National Training Center, at Fort Irwin California, has switched from force-combat preparation and large unit maneuver warfare entirely to small unit counter-insurgency operations training.
One result? Despite some technological advances - and sincere, desperate efforts by our officers and noncoms to prevent a slide - Bill Clinton's US Army could beat our present Army with one hand tied behind its back.
Tell THAT to imbeciles who think that flag-waving is patriotism and that "support our troops" means to abandon them in hell.
Tell it to the Democrats, who are too dumb-blind to see genuine patriotism as an issue... as THE issue... right in front of them. One that has nothing to do with "left" or "right". Only love of country and decency and sanity. And the safety of our children.
But enough of my blather-ranting, let's hear from somebody who actually knows what he is talking about. A high ranking member of several of those professional services I mentioned earlier.
This month, Gen. William Odom (former director of the NSA) wrote a on “supporting our troops”. Here are some excerpts:
'Supporting the troops' means withdrawing them
COMMENTARY | July 05, 2007 By William E. Odom
Every step the Democrats in Congress have taken to force the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq has failed. Time and again, President Bush beats them into submission with charges of failing to "support the troops."
Why do the Democrats allow this to happen? Because they let the president define what "supporting the troops" means. His definition is brutally misleading. Consider what his policies are doing to the troops.
No U.S. forces have ever been compelled to stay in sustained combat conditions for as long as the Army units have in Iraq. In World War II, soldiers were considered combat-exhausted after about 180 days in the line. They were withdrawn for rest periods. Moreover, for weeks at a time, large sectors of the front were quiet, giving them time for both physical and psychological rehabilitation. During some periods of the Korean War, units had to fight steadily for fairly long periods but not for a year at a time. In Vietnam, tours were one year in length, and combat was intermittent with significant break periods.
In Iraq, combat units take over an area of operations and patrol it daily, making soldiers face the prospect of death from an IED or small arms fire or mortar fire several hours each day. Day in and day out for a full year, with only a single two-week break, they confront the prospect of death, losing limbs or eyes, or suffering other serious wounds. Although total losses in Iraq have been relatively small compared to most previous conflicts, the individual soldier is risking death or serious injury day after day for a year. The impact on the psyche accumulates, eventually producing what is now called "post-traumatic stress disorders." In other words, they are combat-exhausted to the point of losing effectiveness. The occasional willful killing of civilians in a few cases is probably indicative of such loss of effectiveness. These incidents don't seem to occur during the first half of a unit's deployment in Iraq.
After the first year, following a few months back home, these same soldiers are sent back for a second year, then a third year, and now, many are facing a fourth deployment! Little wonder more and more soldiers and veterans are psychologically disabled.
And the damage is not just to enlisted soldiers. Many officers are suffering serious post-traumatic stress disorders but are hesitant to report it – with good reason. An officer who needs psychiatric care and lets it appear on his medical records has most probably ended his career. He will be considered not sufficiently stable to lead troops. Thus officers are strongly inclined to avoid treatment and to hide their problems.
… [Bush’s] recent "surge" tactic has compelled the secretary of defense to extend Army tours to 15 months! (The Marines have been allowed to retain their six-month deployment policy and, not surprisingly, have fewer cases of post-traumatic stress syndrome.) …
If the Democrats truly want to succeed in forcing President Bush to begin withdrawing from Iraq, the first step is to redefine "supporting the troops" as withdrawing them, citing the mass of accumulating evidence of the psychological as well as the physical damage that the president is forcing them to endure because he did not raise adequate forces. Both Democrats and Republicans in Congress could confirm this evidence and lay the blame for "not supporting the troops" where it really belongs – on the president. And they could rightly claim to the public that they are supporting the troops by cutting off the funds that he uses to keep U.S. forces in Iraq. …
The president is strongly motivated to string out the war until he leaves office, in order to avoid taking responsibility for the defeat he has caused and persisted in making greater each year for more than three years.
To force him to begin a withdrawal before then, the first step should be to rally the public by providing an honest and candid definition of what "supporting the troops" really means and pointing out who is and who is not supporting our troops at war.
Cogent and passionately on-target. And yet, again, I must reiterate that the issue is not so much Iraq as the dire condition of ALL of our professional services... and the state of our reserves. Take the following:
Senator Webb (D-VA)(who served as Secretary of the Navy under Reagan) has been leading an effort in Congress to limit the duration of deployments of US troops in Iraq. Webb proposed an to the Defense authorization bill (co-sponsored by Chuck Hagel (R-NE)) that would require that active-duty troops and units deployed to Iraq have at least equal time at home as the length of their previous tour overseas. It also includes a “sense of the Congress” that units and members of Reserve components should not be mobilized continuously for more than one year.
Yesterday, Senate Republicans successfully filibustered the Webb amendment.
Russ Daggatt adds this. For the first time, a poll has found that more people (70%) now consider the Iraq War a mistake than ever thought the same of the Vietnam War during that war. According to Gallup, the number who viewed Vietnam as a mistake peaked at 61% in May of 1971 (the percentage of those who thought Vietnam a mistake climbed even higher after the war ended).
But again, all focus is on Iraq. That isn’t the issue! There are dozens of plans that could have us stay there, providing certain types of non-urban security, that would help legitimate groups there fight their own monsters, while dropping our costs and casualties almost to nil.
The issue is the neocon War Against Professionalism...
...and its accompanying War Against The Citizen Amateur.
Talk about semantic irony.