Hat tip to the writers at Mad TV. They get it. Now if the members of Congress will just catch on.
While working this past week on a terrorism exercise (location undisclosed) I had a chance to chat with several active duty military officers. One soldier, a Colonel, told me he had been on the Army planning staff and that the Army was “crisped”. Crisped means toasted, fried. It is the term firefighters use to refer to a body found in a burned out building–i.e., crispy critter. And it is all because of Iraq. Now this should not hit anyone as a newflash. Outgoing Chief of Staff of the Army said as much in Congressional testimony in February. The damage to the Army is deep and serious. We have lost our ability to respond to another international crisis. At present the Army units are either deployed in Iraq, coming back from Iraq (beat up and depleted) or training to go. There is no reserve.
The damage to the personnel goes beyond the physical wounds inflicted by improvised explosive devices and snipers. The damage it encompasses the thousands grappling with the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). And the damage surpasses the tens of thousands grieving the death of their soldier, including children deprived forever of a parent. There are broken families, soaring divorce rates, homelessness among returning vets, and some suicides. David Cloud does a great job of detailing this mess.
The destruction of equipment is equally daunting. We will be paying for at least the next decade to replenish the Bradleys, the Humvees, and the transport aircraft that have been destroyed and worn out in this civil war. There is no cheap out.
So as Nancy Pelosi and the new democratic majority celebrate the hollow victory of finally setting a timetable to withdraw U.S. forces from the morass of Iraq, we must be sure to sit down and count the cost we must pay in the years to come to rebuild and restore the Army that has been wasted in the streets of Baghdad, Fallujah, and Ramadi. However, there is no congressional appropriation that can heal the broken hearts, mend the shattered bodies, resurrect dead parents, or restore destroyed families. There are some things we can never fix or make better.