Sunday, December 26, 2004


Another National Guard unit has come forward with serious questions and specific complaints regarding their lack of readiness for combat duty. The story is from the The Standard Times, in Connecticut.

A brief quote: HOUSTON -- Members of a second National Guard unit that prepared for duty in Iraq at the Army's Fort Bliss compound have come forward with allegations that they were not adequately trained… The unit's M-60 machine guns reportedly were in such bad condition when the soldiers deployed in February that one sergeant -- in a section of a post-training summary sent to his commanders that was titled "gun maintenance" -- wrote: "Perhaps we should throw stones?"

This is the second time in weeks that a National Guard unit's senior NCOs have outlined such obvious deficiencies in training and equipment.

The list of problems presented include old unreliable vehicles, many of which were towed from Kuwait to Iraq. Of the 21 M-60 30. cal. machine guns belonging to the unit, only three were without deficiencies. At the time of deployment, most of the pistols and grenade launchers belonging to the unit were considered unreliable.

These men are being sent to the slaughter. Guard units were never meant to be deployed in this fashion. The National Guard was intended for disaster emergencies, civil unrest, and as a last ditch home defense force. They have ancient unarmored vehicles and unreliable weapons because they are not intended to need the heavy weapons and armor of the regular army.

But, to avoid a politically dangerous return to the draft, the ideologues in Washington are willing to throw large units of under trained, under armed, home Guardsmen into a hot war with weapons that don't work and trucks without transmissions, much less armor.

They are being used in a dangerous and complex context that requires situation specific training. These men are simply not getting that training. They were deployed a month early due to a bureaucratic mistake made by senior officers. The result of all these short cuts are unnecessarily high casualty figures.

There are no excuses for this level of hubris, corruption, and managerial incompetence.

The Army's predictable response is to pretend that there are no real problems and that the men are complaining because they are finding war time training too tough and strict.

The reality is that these men are not complaining about the chow or the lousy barracks or restrictions to base. They are complaining about the lack of training. and unreliable weapons and equipment.

Even crazy ass Hitler did not throw virtually unarmed home guard units into the fray until the allies were in Germany itself. Here we are, in the beginning of what looks to be a long bloody losing conflict, and the Fearless Leaders have already thrown the old home guard into the thick of the war.

This is a culpably reckless , criminally incompetent, and wasteful destruction of thousands of human lives. Yes, I'm counting the Iraqis too. It is beyond logic and beyond redemption. It will not be forgotten or forgiven, in the long run.

Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and their cronies, have over reached themselves by a long way. This president has garnered enough power for himself that he and his gang could do a lot of damage on the way down. How many fronts is George Bush willing to fight on?

Willing and able are two different things but I suspect George Bush is quite ready to fight a home front in order to silence and intimidate opposition to his holy self aggrandizing crusade.

Why do so many banal little men, like George, dream of having the appearance of greatness? Not the attributes of greatness, just the appearance.


At 12:06 PM, Anonymous chris moffatt said...

There are two actions which could significantly improve this situation.
1. First class war material should be left in place in the combat zone and used by the next unit rotating in. Leave all the hand-me-down National Guard stuff at home.....
2. Send only fully trained regulars to the combat zones. Right now we have regulars doing easy garrison duty all over the empire while the guard and reserve bear much of the brunt of the fighting. Send the regulars to the combat zones and backfill the garrison posts with reserves first and then guard units if necessary. We clearly don't need (for instance) 30,000 front line troops in Germany.....

Both of these policies were followed by Adolf Hitler and are part of the reason he was able to fight on for so long......

At 1:17 PM, Blogger ThomasMcCay said...

Well Chris, you are probably right but I hope the powers that be will continue to ignore both your advice and that of their generals.


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