Monday, December 11, 2006

The urgent need for more funds for the troops

Whatever the "course corrections" the Decider posits, let's fund the forces that are going into the country soon. The Wall Street Journal:
FORT STEWART, Ga. -- With just six weeks before they leave for Iraq, the 3,500 soldiers from the Third Infantry Division's First Brigade should be learning about Ramadi, the insurgent stronghold where they will spend a year.

Many of the troops don't even know the basic ethnic makeup of the largely Sunni city. "We haven't spent as much time as I would like on learning the local culture, language, and politics -- all the stuff that takes a while to really get good at," says Lt. Col. Clifford Wheeler, who commands one of the brigade's 800-soldier units.

Instead, the troops are learning to use equipment that commanders say they should ideally have been training with since the spring. Many soldiers only recently received their new M-4 rifles and rifle sights, which are in short supply because of an Army-wide cash crunch. Some still lack their machine guns or long-range surveillance systems, which are used to spot insurgents laying down roadside bombs. They've been told they'll pick up most of that when they get to Iraq.

The strains here at Fort Stewart -- one of the busiest posts in the U.S. military -- are apparent throughout the Army. They spotlight a historic predicament: The Iraq war has exposed more than a decade's worth of mistakes and miscalculations that are now seriously undermining the world's mightiest military force.
Expanding and re-equipping the military are priorities, no matter what course is pursued in Iraq. Lives are at stake.


Blogger Chuck said...

I live close to Ft. Stewart and frequently see the troops in town or on visits I make to thank them. They are a dedicated group and some have done multiple tours in Iraq.

If the Army is skimping on the training and equipment, that is inexcusable. Sending our troops into a war zone ill equiped and undertrained, if it is true, should result in some Generals heads rolling.

As I stated in a previous comment 80% of the generals, 60% of the civilians working for the military and 100% of the aides currently in the military should disappear. I won't even discuss the procurement fiasco.

6:28 PM  
Blogger copy editor said...

A friend of a friend is in the 3 ID, and based on his deployment schedule this is likely his brigade.

You would hope that they would be practicing the last few elements of the skillsets needed for deployment, especially as they are going to Ramadi and recent progress there has been as impressive as it is hard fought. This is most discouraging. You have to wonder if the Pentagon and the administration are really aware of what is necessary to win this war. Is anybody?

6:47 PM  

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