It would be interesting if Congresswoman Bachmann ran into Alex from AoD while she was on her Middle East swing.
I'm sure Congresswoman Bachmann will be full of great soundbites like...
"The Surge has been highly successful."
"The mainstream liberal media is not telling the complete story about Iraq."
Back to AoD!
Alex is spot on about Army life. I read his posts and recall my time on active duty. "That was me!" I chant! He writes extensively today about the recruiting and retention efforts in Iraq.
Ask anyone besides Donald Rumsfeld about the progress of the war and they’ll tell you: it’s going badly. Every month the bombs in the road get bigger, every month the enemy gets wise to our tactics and exploit them, to the chagrin of colonels with slipping track records. People with sixteen, seventeen years in the Army are getting out a few years short of retirement. They’d rather not risk another deployment that is now fifteen months long, because you can’t enjoy retirement benefits when kids are stomping on what used to be your intestines after a five hundred pound bomb disintegrated the Humvee you were in because, oh beans, the Army thought it was too expensive to put armor underneath it. That money was better spent putting Velcro pockets on our new uniforms.
OCONUS sounds a lot like stateside recruitment.
We roll our eyes every time we hear the term ‘re-enlistment brief.’ Ugh. Since before we deployed, we’ve been collectively forced to attend a meeting every few months where some dude lays out the news: stay in the Army, and you’ll be handsomely rewarded. $15,000, college time, Airborne school, the works. Serve your country for a few more years, come on. They have a big sheet with everyone’s name, kind of like a grocery list. They check yes, no or maybe next to your name. When you tell them no, it was always the same chilly reply: you’ll fail on the outside. You’re just a vet with no skills, who would hire you? Before we left we must have had the lowest re-enlistment rate in the division. The only people convinced to re-enlist were those with families, who couldn’t risk getting out and suddenly not having a monthly check and health insurance.
My Division Commander and Sergeant Major told me the same thing many years ago. "You'll be begging to come back here..."
Alex's insight on married soldiers staying is sad but true.
Four years of war and this Army is a skeleton of its former self. Equipment is broken or obsolete, thousands are dead and wounded and many of us can’t wait to get off the Hindenburg.
President Bush and his lack of any sort of plan for Iraq have simply destroyed our military. How many billions will we have to spent to simply refit the Army. The military industrial complex will be making a killing.
Perpetual war to fill the coffers of groups like Honeywell, DynaCorps, Vinnell, United Defense, etc.
Seems the recruiters are getting more and more desperate.
Before we left Baghdad, the re-enlistment briefs got a little more disturbing. Instead of letting you know what a bum you’ll become if you leave the Army after your enlistment, they put it in simple terms: if you don’t re-enlist, you’ll be thrown in 5th Brigade, the Stryker unit on Ft. Lewis that was being stood up, and yes, they were deploying as soon as they could. So you might as well stay where your friends are and come back to Iraq with them. Otherwise, you’ll be taking your chances by getting your ass stop-lossed and sent to Iraq in as little as six months to a year after you returned. Better off with the sure thing.
Wow. Deja vu here. Major Deja vu.
I got a call from a recruiter in St Cloud about 4 years ago now. I was told that I could enlist with a National Guard unit in the local area, and deploy to Iraq with locals I would probably know...
Risk being called up through the Inactive Ready Reserves and deploy to Iraq with a bunch of people I don't know...people who had been out longer than me.
The recruiter was a tool, and I abused him on the phone that day. Having served 11 years, I have no obligation to the Inactive Ready Reserves. He hung up on me when I informed him of this. I called him back to chew his ass and he hung up again. So, I reported his scheme.
Alex has a powerful post that speaks to the corruption within the recruiting ranks and the exploitation of our soldiers, to further an unjust war. I encourage those reading this blog to read Alex's post in its entirety.
I cannot do this great post justice, other than to link to it and let you read it.
Great work Alex, I'm buying you a drink once you get back from Iraq.