Sunday, November 16, 2008

Attention Democrats: Be A Man! Enlist!

'Great editorial from the New York Times, "A Military for a Dangerous World," published November 16, 2008:
As president, Barack Obama will face the most daunting and complicated national security challenges in more than a generation — and he will inherit a military that is critically ill-equipped for the task.

Troops and equipment are so overtaxed by President Bush’s disastrous Iraq war that the Pentagon does not have enough of either for the fight in Afghanistan, the war on terror’s front line, let alone to confront the next threats.

[ . . . ] To build an effective military the next president must make some fundamental changes.

More ground forces: We believe the military needs the 65,000 additional Army troops and the 27,000 additional marines that Congress finally pushed President Bush into seeking. That buildup is projected to take at least two years; by the end the United States will have 759,000 active-duty ground troops.

That sounds like a lot, especially with the prospect of significant withdrawals from Iraq. But it would still be about 200,000 fewer ground forces than the United States had 20 years ago, during the final stages of the cold war. Less than a third of that expanded ground force would be available for deployment at any given moment.

Military experts agree that for every year active-duty troops spend in the field, they need two years at home recovering, retraining and reconnecting with their families, especially in an all-volunteer force. (The older, part-time soldiers of the National Guard and the Reserves need even more).

The Army has been so badly stretched, mainly by the Iraq war, that it has been unable to honor this one-year-out-of-three rule. Brigades have been rotated back in for second and even third combat tours with barely one year’s rest in between. Even then, the Pentagon has still had to rely far too heavily on National Guard and Reserve units to supplement the force. The long-term cost in morale, recruit quality and readiness will persist for years. Nearly one-fifth of the troops — some 300,000 men and women — have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan reporting post-traumatic stress disorders.

The most responsible prescription for overcoming these problems is a significantly larger ground force. If the country is lucky enough to need fewer troops in the field over the next few years, improving rotation ratios will still help create a higher quality military force. [ . . . ]
OYE Comment:

OK, Democratic Party supporters, thanks in part to the Yellow Elephants, the American people chose your nominee, Senator Barack Obama [IL] as our 44th President.

Now it's time for you to show your support for his leadership and, indeed, our nation. If you really care about America, you'll seriously think about serving our country, to include military service. And, if you qualify*, you'll contact a military recruiter, Officer Selection Officer, ROTC instructor, to start the process.

And Republicans? Well, if you really care about your party's credibility, as well as your own, you'll do the same thing. There's enough time for a hitch in uniform before resuming your political career.

After all, it worked for Nick Miccarelli in Pennsylvania, whom Operation Yellow Elephant congratulates on his election as State Representative. We wish him all the best as he continues his career in public service.

*Healthy heterosexuals 41 or under.

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At 16 November, 2008 21:14, Blogger The Sniper said...

You do realize the vast majority of military members, especially the career types, are Republicans don't you?

At 16 November, 2008 22:17, Blogger Wek said...

Sniper- the focus for OYE has never been on those in The Military. We encourage those that support war (as long as someone else is doing the fighting) to Be A Man! Enlist!

At 18 November, 2008 02:26, Blogger Grung_e_Gene said...

The "vast majority of military members" are not Republicans. I'm not sure why this idea gets pushed so vigorously. Like any diverse group the "vast majority" holds diverse political opinions.

At 18 November, 2008 18:18, Blogger The Sniper said...

Perhaps the sheer numbers push it so vigorously?. Yeah, everyone in the military has diverse opinions, but the majority of them are conservatives and vote Republican. If you had to say are there more of one than the other in the armed services, the answer would be yes and the majority would be Republican.

It's like saying "are there Republicans in Hollywood?" Sure there are... but they are certainly not the majority.

At 18 November, 2008 18:25, Blogger The Sniper said...

And OYE, by that same logic, should every Democrat join the Peace Corps? I'm not trying to be argumentative for the sake of argument, but the logic just sounds specious. "if you think we should be fighting a war, you should go fight the war" only works if everyone is mentally and physically able to do so.

Your argument s based on everyone "putting their money where their mouths are"... but that rarely ever happens regardless of the cause. Look at all of the movie and rock stars that gripe about poverty yet own a dozen exotic cars... everybody wants somebody else to do the dirty work. My only complaint is that if you are going to take people to task for talking the talk but not walking the walk, please do so in an egalitarian fashion. Hit both sides for their faults.

At 19 November, 2008 11:55, Blogger Grung_e_Gene said...

Sniper, I just don't agree. Most people who push the Military is Republican meme do so in order to wield them as a political club to sway voters or trash political opponents. Military members are individuals.

I don't know of any polls which support your assertion. And your anecdotal evidence from those you dealt with professionally and personally while in does not count very heavily in proving your hypothesis. Of course, I don't think the majority are Democrat either.

I fully admit very few military members share my political viewpoints

But, simply stating the majority is Republican does not hold.

At 19 November, 2008 19:04, Blogger Frederick said...


As a registered Democrat that's served in the military for 11 years, until this very fall, I can tell you that the vast majority of people in the military are Not Republican. Or Democrat. Or political at all. Keep up the good work OYE.

At 19 November, 2008 20:03, Blogger Wek said...

Sniper- if you have the chance (or patience) check out our "about OYE" on the sidebar.

At 07 December, 2008 19:41, Blogger Doppelganger said...

Majority as in 54% accoridng to the last polling data I saw.

54% is not overwhelming.

If it is, then it means that Obama won with an overwhelming majority (~53%), and I doubt our sniper friend would agree to that.

It is true that more members of the armed forces are right wingers - I am astonished that more are NOT. Not because conservatives are drawn to military service, but because the military hierarchy explicitly pushes conservatism on recruits and active duty members. It is a truly disgraceful and likley unconstitutinal practice, but they did it when I was in, and it has only gotten worse from what I have read.

At 07 December, 2008 21:12, Blogger robash141 said...

The Military is supposed to apolitical. so the whole line of argument that the military is already overwhelmingly made up of Republican partisans is completely bogus.
Political factionalism within the ranks is poisonous to morale. But then again, so is having incompetent Bush hacks running the military

Many of people I knew when from in the Army might have been sort of vaguely conservative in their general life attitudes
However most of them really didn't didn't seem to give a shit about politics or politicians.

I always thought that Kipling line from "the Charge of the light brigade expressed it the best."

"theirs was not to reason why, theirs was but to do or die"

That doesn't mean these guys were dumb apathetic or ill informed perhaps they just wisely kept their political affiliations to themselves.
I can recall having only a handful of political conversations with anyone while I was in the Army. Beer,pussy and football were vastly more popular topics of conversation

That was 20 years ago however and apparently things have changed -- and not for the better.

I can say that the vast majority of feckless war-mongers are in fact GOP partisans.

At 08 December, 2008 08:25, Blogger Doppelganger said...

Hey Rob,

" Beer,pussy and football were vastly more popular topics of conversation"

You forgot music.

But yes, I don't recall EVER having or hearing a conversation on politics during my entire enlistment. Not saying it never happened, but if it did, it was not relevant or important enough for me to have remembered. Maybe because we were overseas?

Of course, basic and AIT were a different story - that one drill sarge that drove the hot rod said one time that it was un-American not to vote for Reagan, for one example.

It is the same for my memories of High School. Yet today, there are all sorts of political groups and discussions in schools and, apparently, the military, though from my take on it, the liberal voices in the military have been a bit more prominant of late (via blogs and such), perhaps because the status quo is seen as incompetent.

If the yellow-elephant Bush group-thinkers had listened to Shinseki, we might already be out of Iraq and have a much better situation there. But he was a Clintonite, can't trust HIS judgement, nosirree, got to go with deferrment sissies Cheney and Rove's macho fantasies.

At 08 December, 2008 18:27, Blogger robash141 said...

" Beer,pussy and football were vastly more popular topics of conversation"

Doppelganger said...

"You forgot music."
That is very true I can remember digressing with mmy army buddies quite often about such questions as wheather Jimmy Page or Ritchie Blackmoore was the better guitar player.
Politics hardly ever came up as a subject.

I remember that Drill SGT and the hot rod but not his devotion to Ronald Reagan, I must have been doing KP that day he said that.

I remember one guy who was from Tennessee who had met Al Gore had a good impression of him and said he was planning to vote for him.

I told him I didn't like Gore that much because he was trying to censor music lyrics

Another SGT. a real 'neck from Indiana , not surpringly, liked Ronald Reagan. But he didn't try to push an ideology.
Those are the only politcal converstions I can recall


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