Because of our endless quagmire in Iraq, the U.S. Army Reserve is degenerating into a “broken force,” according to the Army Reserve chief. The Army Reserve consists of 200,000 part-time soldiers who can be mobilized in times of national need.
Currently 40% of American forces in Iraq have come from the reserve ranks. That number is expected to grow to 50%.
While Bush and Rumsfeld keep underestimating the Iraqis’ strength and continue to see light at the end of the tunnel, the army is anticipating the need for “significant troop levels” in Iraq for the next four or five years. These mixed signals are leaving reservists caught in the middle. Their terms in Iraq are continually being extended, they’re given inferior equipment and they’re often sent over there with three to five days notice.
Because of being so depleted in Iraq, the Army Reserve is in danger of being unable to meet potential emergencies in the U.S. Also, National Guard and Army Reserve recruiters have had a terrible time attracting new recruits during the last few months. (Hmmm...I wonder why.)
More than any other current issue, the war in Iraq has shown the Bush administration to be all hat and no cattle; all rhetoric and no substance. Bush/Cheney/Rove were geniuses at the Orwellian tactic of repeatedly mentioning Saddam Hussein, 9/11, al Qaeda, Iraq and terrorism together in sentence after sentence, speech after speech. And it worked on millions of gullible voters and their spineless senators and representatives.
Shouting out slogans and drumming up anti-Iraq hysteria was the easy part of Bush’s job. For his success in persuading/bullying Congress (and his “Coalition of the Willing”) to get us mired in the Middle East, he gets an A. For the follow-up, nuts-and-bolts part of his job – planning ahead, thinking things through, making sure there are sufficient troops and equipment – he gets an F.