The front page of today’s NY Times features this image of 1,200 U.S. soldiers re-enlisting in one of Saddam’s former palaces yesterday in honor of our national holiday. It’s clearly supposed to convey an image of strength, that our armed forces are doing something right in Iraq, that our own personnel have so much confidence in our efforts that they’re willing to re-enlist. It’s really a great piece of PR puffery.
But what does it miss? That the Pentagon is often missing its recruitment targets to fill places in the volunteer army. That it has continually betrayed faith with serving soldiers by extending tours of duty. That our government has betrayed the faith of our armed forces by providing no exit strategy or even draw-down strategy for those stationed in combat zones like Iraq and Afghanistan. 1,200 have re-enlisted. But what about the troops not in the picture. What do they feel about their assignment? And what about the 4,000+ who aren’t coming home?
Like everything coming from this Administration, this image needs to be re-read and re-interpreted in light of the story it doesn’t tell.
Dan Sniderman says
Abd this is the administration that want’s to start a third war in Iran (see Seymour Hersh)…
Most people correctly understand that you can support the troops but not support the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; it is less well understood that you can support these wars but not support the troops. I wish we could have taken these soldiers on a tour of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center before they re-enlisted:
And I wonder how many of the soldiers in this picture re-enlisted because they would otherwise have been stop-lossed? If you’re going to have to stay in the Army whether you like it or not, maybe you might as well stay “voluntarily” and earn yourself a re-enlistment bonus.
“Most people correctly understand that you can support the troops but not support the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. ”
Anyone who joins the United States military post-Vietnam is a war criminal. Let’s save our sympathies for the hundreds of thousands of lives these “servicemen” have destroyed, the women they’ve raped, the children whose arms and legs they’ve blown off, the multitudes they’ve degraded and tortured, the country they have battered beyond recognition.