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Thread: Why Our Army Is At The Breaking Point

  1. #1
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Oct 2005
    DeRidder LA

    Default Why Our Army Is At The Breaking Point

    Why Our Army Is At The Breaking Point

    Exhausted troops. Worn out equipment. Reduced training. The lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan -- and how to undo the damage

    By Mark Thompson

    For most Americans, the Iraq war is both distant and never ending. For Private Matthew Zeimer, it was neither. Shortly after midnight on Feb. 2, Zeimer had his first taste of combat as he scrambled to the roof of the 3rd Infantry Division's Combat Outpost Grant in central Ramadi. Under cover of darkness, Sunni insurgents were attacking his new post from nearby buildings. Amid the smoke, noise and confusion, a blast suddenly ripped through the 3-ft. concrete wall shielding Zeimer and a fellow soldier, killing them both. Zeimer had been in Iraq for a week. He had been at his first combat post for two hours.

    If Zeimer's combat career was brief, so was his training. He enlisted last June at age 17, three weeks after graduating from Dawson County High School in eastern Montana. After finishing nine weeks of basic training and additional preparation in infantry tactics in Oklahoma, he arrived at Fort Stewart, Ga., in early December. But Zeimer had missed the intense four-week pre-Iraq training—a taste of what troops will face in combat—that his 1st Brigade comrades got at their home post in October. Instead, Zeimer and about 140 other members of the 4,000-strong brigade got a cut-rate, 10-day course on weapon use, first aid and Iraqi culture. That's the same length as the course that teaches soldiers assigned to generals' household staffs the finer points of table service.

    The Army and the White House insist the abbreviated training was adequate. "They can get desert training elsewhere," spokesman Tony Snow said Feb. 28, "like in Iraq." But outside military experts and Zeimer's mother disagree. The Army's rush to carry out President George W. Bush's order to send thousands of additional troops more quickly to Iraq is forcing two of the five new brigades bound for the war to skip standard training at Fort Irwin, Calif. These soldiers aren't getting the benefit of participating in war games on the wide Mojave Desert, where gun-jamming sand and faux insurgents closely resemble conditions in Iraq. "Given the new policy of having troops among the Iraqis," says Lawrence Korb, a former Pentagon personnel chief, "they should be giving our young soldiers more training, not less." Zeimer's mother was unaware of the gap in her son's training until TIME told her about it on April 2. Two days later the Army disclosed that Zeimer may have been killed by friendly fire. "They're shipping more and more young kids over there who don't know what they're getting into," Janet Seymour said quietly after learning what her son had missed. "They've never seen war other than on the TV."
    more of course at the link

    But more to the point:

    McCaffrey, the retired general, says the Joint Chiefs are responsible for the state of today's Army. They rubber-stamped Rumsfeld's plan to build a smaller, more agile force while fighting two wars. McCaffrey, a Vietnam veteran, recalls the scolding lesson of Dereliction of Duty. That 1997 book explained how the Vietnam-era Joint Chiefs' timidity in challenging Defense Secretary Robert McNamara allowed the U.S. to slide into that war. Written by H.R. McMaster, an Army colonel now in Iraq, the book has been required reading for many military officers. "Should there be a Dereliction of Duty II?" McCaffrey wonders aloud. "The answer is, Yes, of course."

    Last edited by Tom Odom; 04-06-2007 at 01:59 PM.

  2. #2
    Council Member SSG Rock's Avatar
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    May 2006
    Fort Leavenworth, KS

    Default Yes.....

    Absolutely, yes.
    Don't taze me bro!

  3. #3
    Council Member sullygoarmy's Avatar
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    Feb 2007
    Fort Stewart


    Great article and very appropriate as we now deal with the mandatory extension of active duty army members. It seems that the military (especially the Army) is being called upon more and more to try and make up for failed policies, lack of planning and an inability to make fundamental decision at the highest levels.

    Rest in peace young soldier.

  4. #4
    Registered User retiredbuckeye's Avatar
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    Aug 2006
    Lansing, KS

    Default McCaffery Congressional Testimony - 17 April

    A possible answer
    Attached Files Attached Files

  5. #5
    Council Member
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    Oct 2005


    Quote Originally Posted by retiredbuckeye View Post
    A possible answer
    Here is the entirety of the 17 April testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee, regarding whether the Army and Marine Corps are properly sized, organized, and equipped to respond to the most likely missions over the next two decades while retaining adequate capability to respond to all contingencies along the spectrum of combat:

    Dr. Andrew F. Krepinevich, Jr., Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments

    General Barry R. McCaffrey, USA(R) (pdf version)

    Dr. Lawrence J. Korb, Center for American Progress

    Major General Robert H. Scales, Jr., USA (R)

  6. #6
    Council Member
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    Mar 2007
    Norfolk VA


    [QUOTE=Jedburgh;14031] regarding whether the Army and Marine Corps are properly sized, organized, and equipped to respond to the most likely missions over the next two decades while retaining adequate capability to respond to all contingencies along the spectrum of combat:

    Wow. That's a pretty hefty expectation. It will be interesting to see how the force designed and configured to fight in Iraq does against, lets say, north Korea (humping in armor-plates along the hills), or we have to go back into the jungle somewhere.
    We can't be prepared for everything. I believe that the old quote was to not be "too wrong" about the next fight.


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