Assessing the burden on soldiers
BOBBY MULLER, Veterans for America: Very little, if at all. Understand the qualifiers in the statement. There will be nothing provided in the form of relief for all of the troops that are currently deployed. He’s talking about only those that deploy after August 1st.
And of the majority of those that are targeted for deployment through the year, the overwhelming majority are National Guard units, not regular Army units. They already are limited to 12-month tours.
So the president’s statement is, to be kind, misleading, but, to be more honest, basically a political ploy to deflect the pressure that you heard from Colin Powell, General Cody, General Casey, across the board.
The senior military leadership, particularly in the Army, has been confronting the president, saying, “We cannot sustain the levels of deployments.” The price that’s being paid by the troops is unconscionable.
Mental impact of multiple tours
BOBBY MULLER: You have to understand, one of the defining criteria of this war that people have got to pay attention to is multiple deployments. All of the regular Army units that are scheduled for deployment after the president’s deadline of August 1st have already been there. We’re talking about people serving multiple tours.
Same thing with National Guard units. Even with the National Guard that historically have never been deployed like this, multiple deployments.
And what we’re finding, if you look at the Department of Defense’s own reports that, every time you redeploy a soldier, there’s a 60 percent increase in the likelihood of psychological damage, those kinds of wounds. It’s a devastating toll.
We have frontline troops that are basically severely damaged. And if you can willingly, consciously redeploy them, as the mental health task force at the Department of Defense itself said last year, we are knowingly compounding injuries to those who’ve already served because of these redeployment practices.
Debating stop-loss policy
BOBBY MULLER: I wound up being a very militant activist against the war in Vietnam. I was a Marine infantry officer. The week before I got shot, they asked me, “Would I extend my tour?” And I said, “Yes.”
It’s about the troops; it’s about the people you serve with. It’s about a sense of obligation and commitment, particularly if you have experience, to try and protect them.
We go to military bases. We are talking to these troops. They are being stop-lossed. They’re being denied the ability to leave.
You can read the trasnscript, listen to the show and watch with their player at their site.
There was also a Debate on the issue on PRI:
Warren Olney’s “To The Point” regarding the August 2008 reduction in tour lengths from 15 months to 12 months with:
Mark Silva: White House Correspondent, Chicago Tribune
Carissa Picard: President, Military Spouses for Change
Sig Christenson: Military Reporter, San Antonio Express-News
Pete Hegseth: Executive Director, Vets for Freedom
Brandon Friedman: Editor, VetVoice.com
You can Listen Here or at the site link above.
And this from Truth Dig
WASHINGTON-No lights at the end of the tunnel. No corners turned. Give Gen. David Petraeus points for using well-understood clichés to express the obvious: We are bogged down in Iraq, the general in charge there has now testified on Capitol Hill.