Thursday, June 03, 2004

How Can This Be Fair?

This is from an op-ed piece in yesterday's New York Times by Andrew Exum, a former Army captain:

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld continues to claim that the military, as now structured, can meet the needs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is simply wrong, as the Pentagon's actions make clear. In addition to stop-loss, the military is now activating significant portions of the Individual Ready Reserve as part of what it is calling an "involuntary mobilization."

The individual reserve consists of troops who are no longer expected to participate even in regular training; the idea is that they are to be called up only in a catastrophic national emergency. Most are veterans recently released from active duty; others are college students on scholarship and cadets at the service academies.

So several of my former soldiers now in the individual reserve — who have left the Army, begun new careers and have not even been serving in reserve or National Guard units — have now been told to expect orders to return to active duty in the near future.
We are a nation of 280 million. We are the most affluent society that has ever existed. How can we justify resting the entire, crushing burden of this war on 130,000 troops and their families?

It is, of course, unconscionable. But the war effort depends on the continued support of all of us freeriders, and the administration understands that public support for this travesty will collapse the moment we realize that our own loved ones may soon be captured in the sights of RPG launchers, or burned alive in an armored personnel carrier that has happened upon an IED.

And so the hypocrisy grows every day.


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