The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Snow: Military Preparedness "Unprecedented"

I know, I know, you've already guessed the punchline from the title because of the 21st century maxim 'whatever the GOP tells you, believe the opposite.'

Strike One: [R]etired Vice Adm. John McConnell, the director of national intelligence, and Army Lt. Gen. Michael Maples, the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told the Senate Armed Services Committee in a separate hearing that the Iraqi army sent to Baghdad only two of the three additional brigades that were to have been in place by Feb. 15. . . .

Maples, the military's top intelligence official, said that the strength of the Iraqi battalions that comprise the two brigades range from 43 percent to 82 percent.

But hey, Snow must have meant the US military, right? Not that whole 'we'll stand down when they stand up' stuff.

Strike Two: America's security, and the National Guard's ability to defend the home front, depends on changing course to a tough and smart strategy that will force Iraqis to take control of their own country, redeploy our troops, and refocus our efforts on battling the very real and growing threat of terrorism.

"We expect our Guard to be there for the unexpected, and they have always done so exceptionally well," Senator [Mark] Pryor [of Arkansas] said. "However, we can't expect for them to be in two places at once, or continually away from their families as they are called up for duty in Iraq and responding to natural disasters. . . .

"With extended deployments overseas, governors' emergency plans are compromised, in terms of troops and equipment," Governor [of Kansas Kathleen] Sebelius said. "As Commanders-in-Chief of our National Guard, we rely on these dedicated citizen soldiers to respond to natural disasters and other threats to public safety."

Well, you can't have it all, right? Duh. We can't have National Guardsmen serving here when they've been shipped to the Middle East. At least we know that back home, returning troops will be treated to the best available care.

Strike Three:

Soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center’s Medical Hold Unit say they have been told they will wake up at 6 a.m. every morning and have their rooms ready for inspection at 7 a.m., and that they must not speak to the media.

“Some soldiers believe this is a form of punishment for the trouble soldiers caused by talking to the media,” one Medical Hold Unit soldier said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

It is unusual for soldiers to have daily inspections after Basic Training. . . .

The soldiers said they were also told their first sergeant has been relieved of duty, and that all of their platoon sergeants have been moved to other positions at Walter Reed. And 120 permanent-duty soldiers are expected to arrive by mid-March to take control of the Medical Hold Unit, the soldiers said.

On the other hand, I shouldn't even be promoting better care for wounded veterans-- all that does is embolden the enemy.