Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Be All You Can Be ... Or Else?

According to a story in the Sept. 16 Rocky Mountain News, soldiers from a Fort Carson, Colo., combat unit are saying they have been issued an ultimatum -- re-enlist for three more years or be transferred to other units expected to deploy to Iraq.

Two soldiers, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that "hundreds of soldiers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team were presented with that message and a re-enlistment form" on Sept. 9. One of the soldiers supplied the form to the newspaper.

A Fort Carson spokesman confirmed a re-enlistment drive is under way, but both he and an Army spokesman denied that the brigade was threatened.

A signed form binds a solider to the 3rd Brigade through yearend 2007. The two soldiers said they were told that those who didn't sign would be transferred out of the brigade.

"They said if you refuse to re-enlist with the 3rd Brigade, we'll send you down to the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, which is going to Iraq for a year, and you can stay with them, or we'll send you to Korea, or to Fort Riley (in Kansas) where they're going to Iraq," said one of the soldiers, a sergeant.

The second soldier, an enlisted man who was interviewed separately, essentially echoed that view. "They told us if we don't re-enlist, then we'd have to be reassigned. And where we're most needed is in units that are going back to Iraq in the next couple of months. So if you think you're getting out, you're not," he said.

Some soldiers presented with the re-enlistment message last week believe they've already done their duty and should not be penalized for choosing to leave. They deployed to Iraq for a year with the 3rd Brigade last April.

"I don't want to go back to Iraq," said the sergeant. "I went through a lot of things for the Army that weren't necessary and were risky. Iraq has changed a lot of people.''

A June 16 Rocky Mountain News report said that since soldiers returned to Fort Carson in April, only 57 percent had re-enlisted. "More disturbing, recruiters say, is they're re-enlisting only 46 percent of the quota for "mid-career" noncommissioned officers. These are the young sergeants with four to 10 years of experience who are the backbone of the Army - its skilled soldiers, mentors and future senior NCOs."

***

Here's what the form said: "Elect not to extend or re-enlist and understand that the soldier will be reassigned IAW (in accordance with) the needs of the Army by Department of the Army HRC (Human Resources Command) . . . or Fort Carson G1 (Personnel Office).''

***

The Denver Post picked up the story. So did Matt Drudge. And if you do a Google search, you'll find quite a compilation of blogs that have picked up the story in the last few days.

But the national media hasn't paid attention.

Doesn't this seem like the sort of thing the American people should know about -- on the eve of an election that may very well become a referendum on how we are conducting the war in Iraq and the greater war on terror?

You have a president who has linked protesting the war, or the subsequent handling of the war, as not "supporting the troops." How many times have we heard someone in the Bush administration question a given Democrat's patriotism, or wrap themselves in the American flag as they twisted criticisms of the administration into condemnation of our "brave men and women overseas"?

Here's your chance to end the conservative stranglehold on the media. Pick up the telephone, and call your favorite news network's comment line, and ask that they investigate this issue. Air it out. They report, and Americans can decide -- just like Fox News pretends to do.

Here's the telephone numbers:

ABC: 212-456-7777
CBS: 212-975-4321
CNBC: 201-585-2622
CNN: 404-827-1500
Fox News: 212-301-3000
MSNBC: 201-583-5000
NBC: 212-664-4444
NPR: 202-513-2000
PBS: 703-739-5000

9 Comments:

Blogger don dzikowski said...

I will contact the respective news orgs later today when I can make time. I agree, the news should get out, although I fear many will mainstream Americans would merely shrug their shoulders and say, "Oh well, our young soliders are now being bullied into reenlistment. The reality is we are at War. Some sacrifices have to be made."
Let's face it. People are scared shitless.
People want -- even need -- to believe the war has not been a big waste of finances and human lives. They want to believe our trouble there will make them safer from global terrorism. Most importantly, remembering the humiliation of Vietnam and now the prospect of terrorist retalitation, people want to believe we CAN and MUST win this war -- at any cost.
Unfortunately, President Bush feeds into this belief -- even when it all appears to be a pipe dream.
People condemn John Kerry for speaking to the reality
that things are not going so well in Iraq. He is branded a "defeatist" and "pessimist."
People don't want to hear countless experts tell them the war has made the U.S. even more vulnerable to terrorist attacks. They don't want to hear that the continual depletion of the military in Iraq is forcing the Bush Administration to resort to extreme measures (like that above reported in the Rocky Mountain News story) or possibly reimplementing the draft.
People castigate Kerry for daring to come up with an exit plan when they fail to look at that Bush has offered no solution other than empty rhetoric such as "we must stay the course."
Are people rejecting reality in favor of living in a Bush-induced fantasy world? Are people rejecting the candidate offering a realistic solution over the one spewing empty rhetoric? Is this how we are going to decide the next election?

9:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I fear the answer to your question is YES, unless JK is able to clearly define his message and quickly. And in specifics. Problem is he is only now starting to formulate a solid position. Seems he is now leaning towards coming out completely against the war, that we never should have gone in, that we are not safer without Hussein, and basically that we had no business removing him. This is a very strong position and would curry favor with many voters, even some who may not totally agree but are just starving to understand the guy. His plan from his website does not appear much different than Bush's but i believe this will change in upcoming days. The synopsis of his plan is "In his remarks, Kerry laid out the steps we must now take. First, the president must secure international support. Second, we must commit to a serious effort to train Iraqi security forces. Third, we must carry out a reconstruction plan that brings benefits to the Iraqi people, and fourth, we must take the necessary steps to hold elections next year. "

11:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a more detailed analysis of the four step plan on the Kerry website. While much of it is similar to what Bush indicates needs to be done, and much of it assumes compliance by allies and others, it does have some aspects that differ from the president.

Maybe someone should pass the Rocky Mountain News story to CBS...at least you know which way they will slant the coverage.

11:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is interesting to note that editorials, like the one in the WSJ today, and reports, as in yesterday's New York Post, pat Kerry on the back for "finally" formulating a plan for Iraq. But in the next paragraph the writers kick him in the balls for even daring to suggest "defeatist" solutions as a gradual pull-out in opposition to Bush's "win at any cost" jingoism.
Kerry's plan differs in at least one important respect. He offers a gradual pull-out of the U.S. troops. Bush counters that even hinting at such a strategy gives the wrong signal to the enemy.
But some have been forced to question whether Bush has any plan at all, as was earlier evidenced by his "major combat operations have ended" claims.
More recently, Bush's misrepresentations of the true conditions in Iraq have not exactly instilled confidence. Bush and Rice gush that conditions in Iraq are improving at the same time patriots are being beheaded and a CIA report warns of civil war. Is there any plan behind the rhetoric?
But the American public doesn't seem to mind as long as the Administration can continue to string us along with fear and victory fantasies.

12:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is interesting to note that editorials, like the one in the WSJ today, and reports, as in yesterday's New York Post, pat Kerry on the back for "finally" formulating a plan for Iraq. But in the next paragraph the writers kick him in the balls for even daring to suggest "defeatist" solutions as a gradual pull-out in opposition to Bush's "win at any cost" jingoism.
Kerry's plan differs in at least one important respect. He offers a gradual pull-out of the U.S. troops. Bush counters that even hinting at such a strategy gives the wrong signal to the enemy.
But some have been forced to question whether Bush has any plan at all, as was earlier evidenced by his "major combat operations have ended" claims.
More recently, Bush's misrepresentations of the true conditions in Iraq have not exactly instilled confidence. Bush and Rice gush that conditions in Iraq are improving at the same time patriots are being beheaded and a CIA report warns of civil war. Is there any plan behind the rhetoric?
But the American public doesn't seem to mind as long as the Administration can continue to string us along with fear and victory fantasies.

12:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the first time on this site, i will agree with the last comments without reservation.

4:10 PM  
Blogger don dzikowski said...

One last posting from me here. Sorry if its a bit off topic.

GRAVE THOUGHTS FOR THE DAY

* Americans turn their heads while the heads of their Patriots are being lobbed off.

* Bush speaks to the UN of the slaughtered Russian school children who "did not deserve to experience such fear and suffering."
Meanwhile no one is discussing the thousands of equally innocent children in Iraq who are being blown to pieces each day by U.S. bombs.

* American citizens protesting the War in Iraq are widely labeled "unpatriotic" and "pessimists" -- even when those citizens are mothers of sons and daughters who have been killed in the war.

* No one is disputing, nor unfortunately debating, at least one point made in the Michael Moore movie: Rice's documented statements in the spring prior to 9-11 that Sadaam Hussein was properly contained and not a threat to America.

* Cheney is applauded for knowing how to get a story in the media when he states a vote for Kerry would make the U.S. more prone to a terrorist attack. Meanwhile, Edwards is faulted for not being as news-savvy for talking about such irrelevant topics as the economy.

9:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Overall I agree with what you are saying. Kerry is now taking a leftist, or more leftist, position on Iraq so there will be clearer sides. Of course, hemay lose some voters in the center by doing so but at least its a strong position.

I do not like the sense of moral equivalence you suggest between those who intentionally and directly attack civilians versus those who attempt to avoid it. War is messy, no doubt--there is no such thing as a clean war. But there is no moral equivalence there. Let's put it this way-- we could level the entire place to root out the terrorists but we do not even if it means our own guys lose their lives. If the terrorists could, they would assasinate many, many civilians-probably everyone if possible.

10:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your above comments suggest that the insurgents in Iraq are truely terrorists.
I act on the premise that the war was unnecessary, that other methods for taking out Sadaam should have been explored first, and that the war has created breeding ground for terrorist groups in Iraq.
Any human life should be valued. The U.S. media should just as vigorously report the Iraq death toll, including innocent citizens and children, as it does for U.S. solidiers, citizens and coalition members in the country.
Call me nieve, I don't care. I think this questionable Iraq crisis has been the most successful so far at cheapening the value of human life on a global basis.

12:28 PM  

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