If you really support them, replace them!
Our Army is once again considering extending the combat tours of our soldiers. Ostensibly it is to maintain the current force numbers if the president decides it is warranted through Spring 2008. This would further erode the guarantee that a solider spends at least as much time home as in combat.
The stress that is created when a combat solider is left in theatre too long and not given enough time home, creates problems for the unit and for the individual solder once he is home. Some suggest that even 12 month combat tours are too long and for a soldier's mental and physical health, in theatre tours need to be shortened. But realistically how can they when the Army cannot meet it’s already lowered recruiting target?
Our troops are exhausted and need rest. We can only imagine what the toll will be on families and society in general when these soldiers finally are allowed to stand down. Soldiers serving in Vietnam had something those serving in Iraq do not; adequate relief and rotation levels due to the draft.
Even so, PTSD has been a major long term issue for Vietnam veterans and it claimed enough of their marriages (mine was one) and family life. What is our lack of relief due to inadequate troop levels going to do to these selfless lives and families once the soldiers are home? How will long combat tours, shortened time home, inadequate troop relief and rotation levels affect those who give so much to this country?
I have bade farewell to many of my son’s best friends as they have headed for Iraq. I have tried to give them gifts to take with them to remind them of home, and support. My nephew joined the service and though my son would like to serve, an injury several years ago prevents him.
These are men doing their part, delaying their life, college, marriage, their future because their country needs them. They are doing their part because their fellow citizens who also wear the uniform need them so they can rest and repair. And not one of them supports the war in Iraq or this president, but they answered the call of their country.
Sitting behind a desk whether at work, or at college is not giving a soldier in theatre something he most needs and deserves, a replacement.
If these fine young men can enlist, YRs, if they can put service and country before their futures; selflessness before self; shouldn’t you do the same?
Be a man, enlist!