Friday, June 27, 2008

Good Order & Discipline

Soldiers, like all military equipment, will deteriorate and wear out from overuse. Mentally, this is why "morale" is so important in the military. Once any person gets to the "fuck this shit" stage of demoralization, it's tough to get them back without a good, long break. Repeated 15 month tours, combined with a lack of a clear mission, is demoralizing our Army. And it is a big big problem.

Military officers are charged with the duty to maintain good order and discipline. It's not happening in Iraq. The next time you want to watch a half hour of whatever is on tv, click on Youtube instead, and watch some "Iraq" videos. The conventional narrative that we hear from our political leaders, telling us about how eager the troops are to stay and complete their mission, is blatantly absent. What you will find are American soldiers who are frustrated, angry, bitter (yes - bitter!), profane, emotionally detached, and grouchy. More than that, watching these young men, one gets a feeling that they are, somehow, lost. They are acting mean, and are indifferent to the suffering and need around them. I don't think this is how they were when they first arrived in Iraq.

Did you know that the military is not testing the troops in Iraq for drugs? Drug testing of all military members has been mandatory since Ronald Reagan became President in 1981. Who made this policy change? I didn't read about it in the papers or hear about it on the news. Any suspension of drug testing in the field looks to me as a none-too-subtle green light for soldiers to get high. Talk about the opiate of the masses. Stepping back, I see an Army of soldiers given alcohol, pornography, vulgar music, free to do drugs, and free to abuse civilians, all without any clear mission. This is the Army of the 1970's. It's already breaking. This needs to stop.

Good order and discipline keeps morale high. Soldiers did not sign up because they wanted to be a part of some low class gang of profane bullies. When they signed up, they had high hopes. When the officer corps allows the worst behavior to become the norm, and fails to punish offenders, the good soldiers become demoralized. They think, "Why am I trying so hard to do it right when nobody here cares?" And then they start to feel like fools for carrying the burden when the slackers are allowed to fuck off.

I saw these video clips on Youtube and they are very disturbing, at many levels. Where are the officers and NCO's in charge of these guys?

This one I am suspicious of as a possible hoax:

Anyone know anything about this?

To support the troops, we need to use them in a humane and reasonable way. We are using them up like disposable cigarette lighters with these repeated and extended combat tours.

In Viet Nam, the rule was a soldier only had to do one tour, and typically that tour lasted 11 or 12 months. In Iraq, the tours are 15 months and many soldiers have to do 3 or more. And when their enlistment is up, the Army tells many that they are forced to stay in under the "stop-loss" program, so that they can be sent to Iraq again. Add to this the many problems our veterans are having getting their promised benefits once they return home, and it adds up to a shameful situation.

Support the troops by taking care of the troops.

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