Monday, March 19, 2007

US Military In "Death Spiral"

Iraq War Has Left United States With No 'Ready' Brigade To Effectively Defend International Interests

The US Army and Marine Corps ares running out of trained troops and equipment at an unprecedented rate.

Some 40% of the US Army and Marine Corps. vehicles, weapons and general equipment has been consumed by the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and the only training now being undertaken is to deal with "the insurgencies at hand".

A stunning story from the Washington Post quotes 'officials' as claiming the US Army and Marine Corps is in a "death spiral".

The main points from the story :

* The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have left the US Army in a such a state of disrepair, it will take years and tens of billions of dollars for the Army and Marine Corps to get back up to pre-War on Terror levels of efficiency, maintenance and readiness.

* Senior officers of the US Military warn the risk to the United States is "serious and deepening."

* The US Military has been left with a gaping deficit of reserve ground troops required if they are to deal "quickly and decisively with potential foreign crisis", with Iran, Pakistan and North Korea cited as being of particular concern.

* The Bush-backed troop "surge" into Baghdad is believed to have left "critical Army overseas equipment stocks for use in another conflict...depleted."

* Keeping the troop "surge" at the levels demanded by President Bush beyond August this year - more than 32,000 extra combat troops - would become "a challenge".

* The US Army currently does not have one single brigade standing ready and equipped to immediately deploy to a foreign "hot spot" should hostilities break out that put at risk American interests.

From the Washington Post :

Equipment is also lacking among Army units in the United States, the vast majority of which are rated "not ready" by the Army, based on measures of available gear, training and personnel, according to senior military officers and government officials. Active-duty Army combat brigades in the United States face shortages of heavy, medium and light tactical vehicles such as Humvees; radios; night-vision goggles; and some weapons, Cody said.

The shortages have deepened as scarce equipment and personnel are funneled to those units next in line to deploy overseas, creating ever bigger holes in the units that will leave later. "It's like a hurricane drawing everything into the center of the eye," said a senior Army officer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters.

Under current Army and Marine Corps plans, it will take two to three years after the Iraq war ends and about $17 billion a year to restore their equipment levels. It will take five years and at least $75 billion for the Army to increase its active-duty ranks to 547,000 soldiers, up from the current 509,000, and for the Marine Corps to increase its numbers to 202,000, up from 180,000.

It's almost impossible to believe that the US Military, until recently internationally recognised as the most powerful and effective fighting force on the planet, has been so depleted by the Iraq War, particularly, that its interests internationally now stand all but defenceless, according to the on and off the record interviews cited in the Washington Post story.
It's almost impossible to believe that the US Military, until recently internationally recognised as the most powerful and effective fighting force on the planet, has become so utterly depleted and so thoroughly weakened by the Iraq War; that its interests internationally now stand all but effectively undefendable, short of air or naval support, according to the on and off the record interviews cited in the Washington Post story.

You may recall that Osama Bin Laden said, before the Iraq War began, that Al Qaeda's primary strategy to defeat the United States was to draw the US into war fighting on numerous fronts, where its military forces would then be worn down over years of fighting, while the costs of maintaining multiple wars would eat into the strength of the American economy, break down American homefront and military morale and deplete the resources of its fighting forces.

It's sickening to realise today, as the Coalition of the Willing enters the fifth year of the Iraq War that Osama Bin Laden's strategy to "destroy America" has been so completely embraced and so effectively played out by President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and former Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Osama Bin Laden must be marvelling at just how easy it was to draw the Bush administration into carrying out his long-term vision of destabilising the military and financial strength and global standing of the United States.

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