Here's something else that concerns me:
WASHINGTON - President George W. Bush’s ongoing “surge” of some 35,000 troops to add to the 140,000 already deployed in Iraq is highlighting growing concern, particularly among the military brass, that the U.S. army is overstretched and fast becoming “broken”.An increasing number of senior retired officers, some of whom had previously expressed optimism that the active-duty force of some 500,000 soldiers could handle U.S. commitments in the “global war on terror”, now say the current situation today reminds them of 1980, when the service’s top officer, Gen. Edward Meyer, publicly declared that the country had a “hollow Army”.
“The active army is about broken,” former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who also served as chairman of the Armed Forces Joint Chiefs of Staff under President George H.W. Bush 15 years ago, told Time magazine this week, while another highly decorated retired general who just returned from Iraq and Afghanistan described the situation in even more dire terms.
“The truth is, the U.S. Army is in serious trouble and any recovery will be years in the making and, as a result, the country is in a position of strategic peril,” ret. Gen. Barry McCaffrey, former head of the U.S. Southern Command, told the National Journal, elaborating on a much-cited memo he had written for his colleagues at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
“My bottom line is that the Army is unraveling, and if we don’t expend significant national energy to reverse that trend, sometime in the next two years we will break the Army just like we did during Vietnam,” he added.
I just don't see how the popular perception that the Republicans are "better" on defense than the Democrats came to exist. It seems to me that this administration is ruining our military.
Some 15 percent of Army recruits last year were granted “waivers” from the Army’s minimum standards — about half of those were “moral waivers”; that is, they were permitted to enter the service despite prior criminal records. Only 82 percent of recruits had a high school diploma or its equivalent, below the Army’s benchmark of 90 percent and the lowest rate since 1981, according to the Centre for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.