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  • Out of troops for Iraq surge

    Out of troops for Iraq surge
    Extending buildup may be difficult for stretched Army

    By Lolita C. Baldor
    Associated Press Writer

    WASHINGTON — Sapped by nearly six years of war, the Army has nearly exhausted its fighting force and its options if the Bush administration decides to extend the Iraq buildup beyond next spring.

    The Army’s 38 available combat units are deployed, just returning home or already tapped to go to Iraq, Afghanistan or elsewhere, leaving no fresh troops to replace five extra brigades that President Bush sent to Baghdad this year, according to interviews and military documents reviewed by The Associated Press.

    That presents the Pentagon with several painful choices if the U.S. wants to maintain higher troop levels beyond the spring of 2008:

    Breaking the military’s pledge to keep soldiers in Iraq for no longer than 15 months.
    n Breaching a commitment to give soldiers a full year at home before sending them back to war.

    For a war-fatigued nation and a Congress bent on bringing troops home, none of those are desirable.

    In Iraq, there are 18 Army brigades, each with about 3,500 soldiers.

    At least 13 more brigades are scheduled to rotate in. Two others are in Afghanistan and two additional ones are set to rotate in there.

    Also, several other brigades either are set for a future deployment or are scattered around the globe.

    The few units that are not at war, in transformation or in their 12-months home time already are penciled in for deployments later in 2008 or into 2009. Shifting them would create problems in the long-term schedule.

    Most Army brigades have completed two or three tours in Iraq or Afghanistan; some assignments have lasted as long as 15 months. The 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, has done four tours.

    Two Marine regiments — each roughly the same size as an Army brigade — also in Iraq — bringing the total number of brigades in the country to 20.

    When asked what units will fill the void in the coming spring if any need to be replaced, officials give a grim shake of the head, shrug of the shoulders or a palms-up, empty-handed gesture.

    “The demand for our forces exceeds the sustainable supply,” the Army chief of staff, Gen. George Casey, said last week. “Right now we have in place deployment and mobilization policies that allow us to meet the current demands. If the demands don’t go down over time, it will become increasingly difficult for us to provide the trained and ready forces” for other missions.

    Casey said he would not be comfortable extending troops beyond their 15-month deployments.

    But other military officials acknowledge privately that option is on the table.

    Pentagon leaders hope there is enough progress in Iraq to allow them to scale back at least part of the nearly 30,000-strong buildup when soldiers begin leaving Iraq around March and April.

    There are 162,000 U.S. troops in Iraq now, the highest level since the war began in 2003. That figure is expected to hit 171,000 this fall as fresh troops rotate in.

    Gen. David Petraeus, the top commander in Iraq who will deliver a much anticipated progress report to Congress in September, said Wednesday he is considering possible troop cuts and believes the U.S. will have fewer forces in Iraq by next summer.

    Other commanders have said the security situation is improving, which would allow U.S. troops to be shifted from combat and lead to an eventual force reduction.

    Still, Petraeus and other military leaders have warned against drawing down too quickly. In fact, an upbeat progress report in September may solidify arguments that additional troops should stay longer to ensure that positive changes stick.

    “The longer that you keep American forces there, the longer you give this process to solidify and to make sure that it’s not going to slide back,” said Frederick Kaman, an American Enterprise Institute analyst who recently returned from an eight-day visit to Iraq. “The sooner you take them out, the more you run the risk that enemies will come in and try to disrupt.”

    Kaman, a leading supporter of the current buildup strategy, said any decision to maintain force levels would have to take into account the effects on the Army.

    That would include, he said, the strains of sending Guard units back to Iraq more rapidly than Pentagon policy allows or keeping active duty units there longer than 15 months.

    “You have the same tradeoff at every moment in this process, which is the institutional well -being of the Army versus what is felt is necessary to win the war,” Kaman said.

    According to military officials, some soldiers in Iraq are hearing that it may not be wise to pack their bags to come home when their 15-month tour is up. But to date, Pentagon officials, including Defense Secretary Robert Gates, have said they have no plans to extend those tours.

    National Guard officials are bracing for a new round of Guard deployments and a move to decrease their time at home between tours — despite announced plans to give the citizen soldiers five years off for every one year served.

    One Guard official said this past week that the Army is pushing to give Guard units four years or less at home in order to get access to those combat brigades sooner.

    Last April the Pentagon notified National Guard brigades in four states that they should be prepared to deploy to Iraq later this year. But documents obtained by the AP show that Guard units in five states — Indiana, Arkansas, Ohio, Oklahoma and Minnesota — are scheduled to deploy to Iraq before the end of the year. A New York Guard unit is set to go to Afghanistan.

    The shortage of combat units will be remedied over time. The Pentagon slowly is increasing the size of the active-duty Army by 65,000 members to 547,000 by 2012. The 38 combat brigades currently available for war will expand to 48 by 2013.

    The Iraqis hold the key to any U.S. withdrawals. The government in Baghdad has made little progress on political changes the Pentagon says are critical to restoring stability to the country, thus allowing U.S. troops to begin leaving.

    If progress is not made and the violence does not abate, the Pentagon will turn again to the Army.

    “The Army will do what’s necessary and will pay a very high price if necessary,” said Kaman, “but I’m hopeful that it won’t come to that and I honestly don’t think that it will.”
    "Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen." - Albert Einstein

  • #2
    Iraq War Brings Drop in Black Enlistees


    By SARAH ABRUZZESE
    Published: August 22, 2007

    WASHINGTON, Aug. 21 — Joining the Reserve Officer Training Corps was once an attractive choice for people with few options growing up in impoverished, predominantly black East Baltimore. That has all changed, largely because of the war in Iraq.

    In the Bronx, Adeyefa Finch says he simply walks past the recruiters who, seeking out minority members along Fordham Road, make the case that the military can help with college financing and job placement after they serve. “I’m not really into going overseas with guns and fighting other people’s wars,” said Mr. Finch, 18, headed to college this fall to study accounting.

    That kind of rejection of military service as an option of young blacks throughout the country has resulted in a sharp drop in black recruitment figures since the war began. Defense Department reports show that the share of blacks among active-duty recruits declined to 13 percent in 2006 from 20 percent in 2001, the last year before the invasion of Iraq began to seem inevitable.

    And while blacks continue to account for a larger share of the existing troop level than their share of the general population, as has been the case throughout the 34 years of the all-volunteer force, that margin is shrinking.

    The sharpest decline in black recruitment has been experienced by the Army, which has the most troops deployed in Iraq; black recruits dropped to 13 percent of the Army’s total in 2006 from 23 percent in 2001. In the Marines, with the second-largest force in Iraq, the share of black recruits decreased to 8 percent from 12 percent in the same period. There were also declines in the Navy and the Air Force, though not as great as those in the two other services.

    The commander of the Army’s recruitment efforts, Maj. Gen. Thomas P. Bostick, himself a black graduate of West Point, said there were several reasons for the change, including a healthy job market competing for youths but also African-Americans’ disapproval of the war. General Bostick said parents and educators who had recommended the military in the past might be less inclined to do so today.

    In a recent CBS News telephone poll, 83 percent of the blacks surveyed said the United States should have stayed out of Iraq; only 14 percent said it had done the right thing in taking military action. Whites, by contrast, were closely divided: 48 percent said military action had been right, and 46 percent said the United States should have stayed out. The poll was conducted Aug. 8-12 with 1,214 adults nationwide and had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.

    The poll numbers show up in the daily hardships of recruiters trained by Sgt. First Class Abdul-Malik Muhammad, based in Birmingham, Ala. “With blacks, there is not really a great support for the war,” Sergeant Muhammad said, recalling one prospective recruit who was told by his parents that they would sever all ties with him if he enlisted.

    There were few such warnings half a century ago, when, as a trailblazer in equal opportunity employment, the military offered a chance for education and training. “You could go right off the street and into the military and make something of yourself,” said Ronald Walters, director of the African American Leadership Institute at the University of Maryland.

    One vocal opponent of the war, the Rev. Raphael G. Warnock, senior pastor of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, said, “I still think that in many ways the armed forces is unfortunately one of the few viable options for young people growing up in inner cities who may lack resources for college and have few other opportunities for upward mobility.”

    But for others, times have changed. Joining up is not even part of the discussion for high school students who attend Bethel A.M.E. Church in Baltimore, said the Rev. Dana Ashton, who works with young people. Students within her congregation go to college.

    And Latoya Rawls of Clinton, Md., has decided against the military despite flirting with the idea for some time. Ms. Rawls, a college student who works at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, cites both the danger of serving in Iraq — a peril evident in the wounded soldiers she sees at the hospital — and what she deems the unjust nature of the war.

    The severity of the decline has caused the Army to take a close look at how it recruits blacks, General Bostick said, resulting in new marketing campaigns and the use of soldiers who are returned to their home areas to recruit.

    In addition, the military has started offering higher enlistment bonuses. The Army met its recruitment goal in July after failing to do so the previous two months, and part of the success has been attributed to a new “quick ship” bonus of $20,000 for those recruits who can report to basic training by Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year.
    "Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen." - Albert Einstein

    Comment


    • #3
      WJ...

      Your post is of interest and especially so in regard of my own about the current UK withdrawal from Iraq. How might the themes in your quoted pieces be affected if the southern third of Iraq suddenly required US intervention or occupation?

      Gaz

      Comment


      • #4
        None of the additional troops needed will be named Romney.

        Mitt Romney has five strapping sons, and not one of them has ever served in the military. When asked about this in Bettendorf, Iowa, the Republican presidential hopeful said that "one of the ways my sons are showing support for our nation is helping to get me elected." He noted that his boy Josh had driven a Winnebago to all of Iowa's 99 counties — all 99 of them!

        Let's pin down the real problem. We know that the armed forces are all-volunteer ("the good news," Mitt said) and that few children of the rich have much to do with it. If military service were a prerequisite for becoming president, most of the current contenders would be out of the running. The only candidates making the cut would be Arizona Sen. John McCain, California Rep. Duncan Hunter and Texan Rep. Ron Paul on the Republican side, and Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd and former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel on the Democratic.

        The official Romney Web site even features a "Five Brothers" blog — a youthful jaunt across a cloudless America that seems solar systems away from the Sunni triangle. Son Craig talks about how he and brothers Josh and Matt participated in the Annual Great Bicycle Ride across Iowa. (Two of them had trained on a hotel's stationary bikes, we are told.) Photos show the clan boating in New Hampshire, bonding after a volleyball match and enjoying a game at Boston's Fenway Park.

        And the boys' day jobs? Ben attends medical school in Boston, Craig works for an ad agency in New York, Josh develops real estate in Salt Lake City, and Matt manages commercial properties in San Diego.

        Tagg helps run his father's campaign and gets a bit political on his blog. He writes that New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate, wants to "raise taxes, grow government, take over health care and run away from Iraq."

        So while the "chicken-hawk" label could stick to most of the candidates, there's something especially jarring about the Romney family portrait: six hunky males, all untouched by military service. (During the Vietnam War, Mitt obtained a draft deferment to do missionary work in France.)
        "Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen." - Albert Einstein

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by allsirgarnet View Post
          WJ...

          Your post is of interest and especially so in regard of my own about the current UK withdrawal from Iraq. How might the themes in your quoted pieces be affected if the southern third of Iraq suddenly required US intervention or occupation?

          Gaz
          Securing the 4 southern provinces, (actually you'd need to secure only two plus the border area with Iran) would take about 2 plus'd up BCT's.... plus investment in support troops.....
          “The time has come,” the Walrus said,
          “To talk of many things:
          Of shoes—and ships—and sealing-wax—
          Of cabbages—and kings—
          And why the sea is boiling hot—
          And whether pigs have wings.”
          ― Lewis Carroll

          Comment


          • #6
            We know that...few children of the rich have much to do with it.
            We do, do we? How do YOU "know" that? The demographic makeup of the armed forces is very close to being a mirror of America's demographics. The differences I noted when I actually researched this topic:

            * blacks and asians are under-represented
            * whites (like Romney and his sons) and hispanics are over-represented
            * new england and the northeast are under-represented (shocka!)
            * southern states are over-represented
            * urban areas are under-represented
            * rural areas are over-represented

            Much of the analysis in this paper...uses five-digit Census ZIP code tabulation areas (ZCTAs) as the unit of analysis. The Census Bureau uses ZCTAs to approximate U.S. Postal Service ZIP codes. In most cases, ZCTAs correspond to postal ZIP codes.

            According to the 2000 Census, the national median income per household in 1999 was $41,994 in 1999 dollars. By assigning each recruit the median 1999 household income for his hometown ZIP code, we calculated that the mean 1999 income for 1999 recruits before entering the military was $41,141 (in 1999 dollars). The mean 1999 income for 2003 recruits was $42,822 (in 1999 dollars). In other words, on average, recruits in 2003 were from wealthier neighborhoods than were recruits in 1999.

            In 1999 and 2003, the recruits generally mirror the percent distribution among the population, but the pattern shows clearly that there were fewer recruits from the poorest quintile of neighborhoods[4] (18.0 percent) and fewer from the richest quintile (18.6 percent) in 1999. In 2003, however, only 14.6 percent of military recruits came from the poorest quintile, whereas the wealthiest quintile provided 22.0 percent. Enlistments from wealthier areas surged, resulting in a 3.4 percentage point upturn. The middle-class quintiles (the third and fourth wealthiest areas) consistently provided disproportionately high numbers of soldiers in both year groups

            The plain fact is that the income distribution of recruits is nearly identical to the income distribution of the general population ages 18-24.
            You are full of sh*t, and engaging in nothing more than lying political hackery.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by OmegaStrike View Post
              You are full of sh*t, and engaging in nothing more than lying political hackery.
              Well if that isnt abuse I dont know what is. How is anyone supposed to engage you in any meaningful debate when you respond with posts like that????? The guy is entitled to his opinion and here you go trashing him with profanities such as the above.
              "The Eastern front is like a house of cards. If the front is broken through at one point all the rest will collapse."- General Heinz Guderian


              "Oakland Raiders: Committed to Excellence"

              Comment


              • #8
                Post deleted due to proscribed personal attack.

                ACG Staff
                Last edited by Admiral; 22 Aug 07, 15:47. Reason: This member has been forewarned.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by OmegaStrike View Post
                  We do, do we? How do YOU "know" that? The demographic makeup of the armed forces is very close to being a mirror of America's demographics. The differences I noted when I actually researched this topic:

                  * blacks and asians are under-represented
                  * whites (like Romney and his sons) and hispanics are over-represented
                  * new england and the northeast are under-represented (shocka!)
                  * southern states are over-represented
                  * urban areas are under-represented
                  * rural areas are over-represented



                  You are full of sh*t, and engaging in nothing more than lying political hackery.
                  Your own data (I assume that you are using the Heritage Foundation Study, since as usual you don't post links or any other credit to the person or group that conducted the study ) supports his argument. When you get to the finer granularity portions of the study you see that the "Rich" are under represented in the recruit make up. Since the highest income group they use is $100,000 (hardly rich) I would bet had Romeny's income level it's even more under represented, my guess here from personal experience only.

                  http://www.heritage.org/Research/Nat...art2_large.gif

                  In the graph anything below the zero line is under represented.
                  “The time has come,” the Walrus said,
                  “To talk of many things:
                  Of shoes—and ships—and sealing-wax—
                  Of cabbages—and kings—
                  And why the sea is boiling hot—
                  And whether pigs have wings.”
                  ― Lewis Carroll

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Combatengineer View Post
                    In the graph anything below the zero line is under represented.


                    Compare the degree of under-representation on the left hand side of the graph and the right hand side. The right hand side is so minutely under-represented as to be statistically irrelevant, not so for the left hand side. So why, I wonder, is w john spurrell not ragging on how few of the children of the poor are serving in iraq? Because the rich are representin'! The poor are in line waiting for their handouts. Did you miss the part where the rate of rich recruits rose by 3.4% between 1999 and 2003?

                    Since the highest income group they use is $100,000 (hardly rich)
                    Heh...we'll see if you're singing the same tune next time we're discussing (raising) income taxes.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Deleted post because of my non-reading abilities. Sorry if anyone has started to quote it. It was a "shoot from the hip" before reading entire graph. Disregard if anyone saw it.
                      Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by revans View Post
                        Deleted post because of my non-reading abilities. Sorry if anyone has started to quote it. It was a "shoot from the hip" before reading entire graph. Disregard if anyone saw it.
                        Do you have a cheap shoe store close to you??

                        HP
                        "Ask not what your country can do for you"

                        Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

                        you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          [QUOTE=OmegaStrike;750128][IMG] Did you miss the part where the rate of rich recruits rose by 3.4% between 1999 and 2003?

                          How about after 2003?

                          The shortfall in recruiting began AFTER the war had begun. Did you miss the part where the war started in March 2003? The shortfall in recruits happened after "Mission Accomplished" in May of that year.
                          "Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen." - Albert Einstein

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by OmegaStrike View Post
                            * blacks and asians are under-represented
                            * whites (like Romney and his sons) and hispanics are over-represented
                            * new england and the northeast are under-represented (shocka!)
                            * southern states are over-represented
                            * urban areas are under-represented
                            * rural areas are over-represented
                            I would like to add one minority ethenticity. The American Indian continues today, as they did throughout the 20th century, to enlist in the military at a greater percentage rate than any other.

                            http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0820/p...mi.html?page=1
                            "If you are right, then you are right even if everyone says you are wrong. If you are wrong then you are wrong even if everyone says you are right." William Penn.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              This is a case where the statistics can give you a false impression. Follow the logic, if you would.

                              1) The general claim (see graph) is that the "poor" are under represented in the armed services. The graph show this quite clearly. However, the graph shows a result, not a cause.

                              One kind soul offered the suggestion that the "poor" were too busy collecting their welfare checks to enlist. Now, that may very well be a part of it, but I suspect a very small part.

                              I offer an alternate hypothesis. The military has over the last number of years raised the standards of recuits that they take. They don't take High School drop outs any more. (That was common back during Viet Nam.) High School drop out rates have been increasing at alarming rates for a number of years. (Hardly a month goes by where I don't read some reference to the HS drop outs.) Further examination of the "drop out" figures, on a school to school basis, gives very strong indication that the greater drop out rates are found in schools where the student population is from predominately "poor" families.

                              I'm not going to attempt to discuss why that is so, you would have to discuss that with my Wife, the Sociologist. Nonetheless, it is fact. (You can test the theory in figures from your own County Schools.)

                              If the greater number of inelligible military wannabes are from "poor" families it comes to follow that the number of recruits from that segment of the general population will be lesser, to one extent or another.

                              It also follows that if one is attempting to fill "X" number of billits in the service and one of the segments of your population is unable to provide their "fair share" of the recruits, those slots MUST be filled from other segments of the general population. In our case, from comparatively "richer" families.

                              Now you not only have a graph depicting the result, you also have a probable cause for that result. I do not claim that the above represents the end all and be all of that graph. There are probably many factors going into the resultant graphic depiction. My hypothesis is but one factor, but probably a good one, and, I suspect, a major one.

                              GG
                              "The will of a section rooted in self interest, should not outweigh the vital interests of a whole people." -Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain-

                              "Fanatics of any sort are dangerous." -GG-

                              Comment

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