Friday, January 21, 2005

Regular Army and National Guard - No Elasticity

Here's a few snippets from a story in the weekly Philadelphia City Paper. If you're in the Collingswood, NJ area on Jan. 28, show your support for Pat Resta.

"I did what I had to do. I signed a contract to defend the Constitution and the people of this country. But, of course," he says in a voice tinged with anger, "that's not what we're doing over there."...

Resta, like many returning guardsmen and reservists, complains of inferior equipment, insufficient training and scant notice before being pressed into service. His first mission was Operation Noble Eagle, a security detail guarding Fort Jackson, S.C., the Army's largest training base. His unit was ordered to guard the gates against suspicious vehicles that may try to run roadblocks and detonate suicide bombs. They weren't given ammo for their weapons.

"This is South Carolina, son," said a commanding officer. "Nothing's going to happen here."

"It was a waste of time. Part of the homeland security dog-and-pony show," Resta now says...

The final straw for Resta came when his unit was ordered to put mileage on Bradley fighting vehicles they hadn't used in a year. The men were supposed to drive the jeeps through Fort Stewart, Ga., for two hours, but a commander had trouble reading a map. The men found themselves lost in the back roads of nearby small towns for nearly six hours.

"After that happened," Resta says, "I told myself: I'm not going to Iraq to get myself killed with this kind of leadership." ...

This is the same South Carolina National Guard which experienced a mini-revolt last year on the eve of their shipping out to Iraq. Leadership was called into question at that time, also.

But perhaps most disturbing in reading the article (besides the little girl that was shot up) was a quick look at the number of guardsmen in Iraq - right now, it's around 40%. By spring, it's anticipated to be around 55%. For the first time in the history of the country, we'll have more reservists fighting than actiive duty Army soldiers.

Bush and Rumsfeld are destroying the country's ability to defend itself. There is no more elasticity in the use of the military.

We are so screwed.