America's Afghan surge begins in dangerous region
Close to 3,000 American soldiers who recently arrived in Afghanistan to secure two violent provinces near Kabul have begun operations in the field and already are seeing combat, the unit's spokesman said Monday.
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Since: Nov 08
#1 Feb 16, 2009
Afghanistan isn't the "good war." It's wrong not only for Afghanistan but for U.S. soldiers. Before he agreed to Gates' request, Obama should have paid close attention to three recent developments.
The first was the Army's announcement that once again in 2008, a record number of service members – 128 – committed suicide. No Pentagon official was prepared to go on record to discuss the causes of this annual record-setting death toll. Even off-record murmurs were generally confined to the usual financial, personal, legal, and work-related factors. But if one examines the records, what jumps out is the correlation between multiple combat tours (until recently 15 months' duration), the number of cases of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and suicides. Over the last four years, 30 percent of suicides occurred during deployment and 35 percent after completing a deployment. As for PTSD among soldiers with multiple tours, the rates of occurrence continue to be substantially higher than among soldiers on their first deployment.
There has also been an increase in instances of domestic violence and an accelerating divorce rate for returning troops. For some months, the Pentagon has known that one-third of women serving in the military claimed they were victims of sexual harassment. Last week, CBS News, in a two-part report, said that nationwide police statistics reveal that in 50 percent of domestic violence cases, at least one person involved was in the military. Over the last 10 years, almost 90 women have been killed.
The third development involves the particular geography of Afghanistan. The United States plans to base its reinforcements in an extremely rugged and high-altitude part of Afghanistan. Despite these conditions, the weight of equipment and protective personal armor the individual soldier is expected to carry has gone from a maximum of 65-80 pounds – even as an infantry platoon leader I never came close to carrying such a load on a "forced march" during training – to 130-150 pounds for a typical three-day mission. That's as much as three times the recommended weight load of 50 pounds per Marine in a 2007 Department of the Navy study. The combination of high altitudes with thinner oxygen, rugged terrain that limits vehicle usage, and the weight of equipment deemed essential is causing a new kind of stress that is putting more troops out of commission. The Army lists 257,000 acute orthopedic injuries (muscular or skeletal stress or fractures) for 2007, up by 10,000 from 2006.
The increased number of troops Obama plans to send to Afghanistan – together with the growing number of temporary and, more seriously, "permanent non-deployables" from physical and psychological stress – could leave the Army once again resorting to enlist anyone who can walk and carry a weapon. That will include many who suffer from PTSD but who, being part of the "warrior culture," are reluctant to seek help.
Obama was elected in part because the American public was tired of more and more veterans returning home mentally and physically damaged by experiences they didn't need to endure. Obama may find that, if he continues down this path, "the war Bush forgot" will all too soon turn into "Obama's war." And he'll have to shoulder the responsibility for all the damage done to Afghan civilians and U.S. soldiers alike.
Reprinted courtesy of Foreign Policy in Focus.
#2 Feb 18, 2009
will BRIBE MONEY SURGE work in afghanistan? gen. petraeus bribed tribal leaders in iraq to stop killing u.s. soldiers. are pallets of greenbacks on cargo planes headed for afghanistan?
#3 Feb 19, 2009
Of course, stop to murder and massacre people in this Afghanistan, give money to them, rebuild these tribal regions, give to these Afghan people cost-effective good paid job by rebuilding of their regions, creating there all what is needed in XXI century-electricity, access to water, sewege systems, education and health care system for all and it would be everything o.k. And increase of soldiers, who are perceived in Afghanistan by majority of Afghan people and people all over the world just like invaders, spreading there an occupying terror and this sick will of repairing ,,faults,, by creating new ,,faults,, is doomed to fail. NOBODY will NOTHING reach by using just means as: mindless invasions, long years occupations, war crimes and crime against humanity. It rebounds only on usa in the future negatively.
Since: Nov 08
#4 Feb 19, 2009
Usa should forget about its nasty past and under OBAMA try to join with the rational world.
War begets violence.
Let those army people live and have a natural death in their country and waste not their life for the flag and patriotic feelings.
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