Friday, September 24, 2004

BushCo. Hints at Draft?

Somewhere this morning I read that the National Guard, for the first time since 1994, will miss its recruiting goals by around 5,000. At the same time we see the following in the WSJ:

Pentagon plans call for a temporary increase in U.S. troop levels in Iraq early next year that would coincide with elections there in January and could be used to bolster the newly elected Iraqi government.

The personnel surge, part of a long-planned force rotation, will occur from January to April as new units rotate into the country and those finishing their tours prepare to return home. An Army official said as many as three additional Army brigades -- about 15,000 troops -- could be in Iraq around the time of the elections and thereafter. Plans call for the U.S. to return to the current level of 138,000 troops by the end of April.
Three brigades basically comprise the majority of a Division and the Army just doesn't have Divisions it can toss around like a spare chess piece. And you can't just add 15,000 troops to a combat area and expect the current logistical and personnel system to keep working - they need more of those folks, too.

So, while having all these soldiers in Iraq at the same time will be "relatively easy," because they just hold up part of a rotation of troops home, what happens to those soldiers when they rejoin their units in the States or in Europe? Will they come right back to Iraq when their units come back in a year or so? What about their time with family? What about their time to train and re-equip to be ready to go back into the meat grinder? What about resting?

No, there's only one way to keep troop levels high enough to keep up this OPTEMPO (Operational Tempo), and it's spelled D R A F T.

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