Soldiers underprepared |

Soldiers underprepared

Rep. Jack Murtha wants to prohibit sending troops to Iraq who are underequipped or exhausted from multiple tours of duty. Since it is apparent that President Bush has stretched our military too far, Murtha’s plan would effectively stop increased escalation until our forces are sufficiently equipped and trained. So far, Republicans are calling his plan, which would protect the men and women in our armed forces, anti-troop!

However, the following facts seem to confirm we are sending forces to Iraq that may not be adequately equipped, trained or treated:

• Service members have experienced shortages of force-protection equipment including up-armored vehicles, electronic countermeasure devices, crew-served weapons, and communications equipment.

• The military borrows gear from units stationed in the U.S., reducing their ability to respond in case of other threats around the world.

• The Arkansas National Guard’s 39th Brigade, scheduled to return to Iraq next year, is 600 rifles short.

• The 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division had so little time between deployments to Iraq that it had to cram more than a year’s worth of training into four months.

• Two army brigades heading to Iraq due to the escalation are skipping their counterinsurgency training session.

• Recovering soldiers at the Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital, a mere five miles from the White House, were found living in rooms infested with mold, soiled carpets and cockroaches.

• More than 30 percent of all soldiers meet the criteria for mental disorders related to emotional problems from deployment stress. Military health providers are straining under the pressure and are unable to meet the psychological health needs of our soldiers and their families.

Worth F. Crouch


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