Sunday, April 23, 2006

Desperate times call for desperate measures?

DISCLAIMER: I do not intend to sound as if I am a military expert or if I have military experience. I DO NOT have either. This is just my opinion based upon what peripheral exposure I have had.

I realize that many of our military DO support the war in Iraq and I respect their feelings, truly I do (even if I don't understand them!). I also have heard that many of our military do NOT support this war but are unable to express their opinions nor are they really able to do anything about it. The military system is NOT designed for dissent. Following orders is one of the main rules one must follow when one is in the military. There is no room for questioning, arguing, or "quitting". What options do they really have? (That is a legitimate question, folks, feel free to answer...)

It's been frustrating to hear conservative "talking heads" vent their criticism of the current list of generals who are criticizing Rumsfield.

Why didn't they say something while they were IN the military before they retired? DUH.

Why didn't they just resign if they were so upset about the leadership of Rumsfield? Double DUH.

Being in the military is NOT like working at McDonald's or Micron, ESPECIALLY if you've made it your career. First of all, how many transferable job skills do military generals really have in order to support their families? Secondly, they have not moved their family from state to state, country to country, and committed EVERY ASPECT OF THEIR LIVES to the service just to hand in your "two weeks notice" when they are unhappy with their leadership. Do you think these people liked leaving their families for months... YEARS... at a time? No, but that was their duty. Do you think they LIKE shooting people or exposing themselves to IEDs? No, but that is their duty. I could continue, but hopefully you get the picture.

These were not privates... these were GENERALS who had probably spent their COMPLETE ADULT LIVES in the service, sworn to uphold their promise to serve our country. Resigning is the same as QUITTING and it is NOT an option. Saying otherwise, in MY opinion, shows how completely ignorant one is about the military and what we expect--no, what we DEMAND from them.

So now that we've established that career officers are not going to walk away from their duty... and the majority of the rest of the troops do not have many recourses if they do not support the war in Iraq... what options are left for those who joined the military and find themselves in a position that they don't want to be in? They probably didn't intend for it to be their career--they joined for an education or job skills (go ahead and criticize those motives... but you know damn well recruiters milk it for all it's worth, especially in rural and low-income communities where there aren't many options available), or perhaps they joined in the patriotic fever of catching bin Laden (remember, the ORIGINAL terrorist?) after 9/11... and now they find themselves in a war they don't support, unrelated to 9/11, based upon lies and misrepresentation, lacking resources/manpower/body armour/etc., working in fields completely unrelated to their intended "education" or "career path"... what options do they have?

One of the most distasteful and traitorous and unAmerican and reprehensible option of all: DESERTION.

Re-enlistment and recruitment numbers are down... there are stop loss and call back measures in place (we can't call it the "draft", right?)... but how much have we heard about desertion? Not much.

But it's happening... more than we realize. The Pentagon is now hunting down deserters from Vietnam that they've ignored for almost forty years. Are they trying to send a message to currently enlisted troops?

In the past 18 months, after years in which "cold case" absent-without-leave investigations remained effectively closed, the Marine Corps has caught 34 long-time deserters after reopening dozens of files.

The sudden aggressiveness...comes amid growing concerns in the Pentagon over the number of soldiers who have deserted since the Iraq war began. According to Pentagon records released last week, at least 9,000 members of the all-volunteer US military have deserted in the past three years.

So what kind of numbers are we talking about?

Marine deserters still at large
Second World War... 5
Korean War... 8
Vietnam War... 125
1980 to 1985... 51
Number of deserters since 2003
Army 4,387
Navy 3,454
Air force 82
Marines 1,455

I find it difficult to believe that every member of our military is supporting the war in Iraq. Again, I know some are... but I can't help but think that those who aren't in favor of this war are UNABLE to speak out about their opinion. To those who say that criticizing Bush or Rumsfield is demoralizing to our troops, I say "bullsh**". There are Marines and soldiers over in Iraq who are PRAYING for American citizens to help them, to demand accountability, to protect THEM as they have sworn to protect us.

I do not know what the right solution is... but I have a gut feeling that a change in leadership (from the White House, to the Pentagon, to Congress) would be a start in the right direction. Bush doesn't have a clue and he's surrounded by subhumans with personal agendas. I worry that the military experts in the Pentagon are unable to demand what they need in order to win this war. (Hell, I can't even remember why we are there? Terrorists? Freedom? Oil? Who the hell knows anymore...) And Congress is too busy trying to cover their asses, earn political and partisan points, and prepare for the next election to do their damn jobs like American citizens sent them to DC to do.

SOMETHING NEEDS TO CHANGE. And we have eight months to get it done.

For more about the current hunt for deserters, go to Deserters hunted down 30 years after Vietnam.

1 comment:

Bubblehead said...

Diana -- Here's an article on current desertion numbers from Truthout (a progressive website); it indicates that the numbers of deserters have gone down each year since 2001.