25 October 2007

Another Call

It's been over six years since military operations started in Afghanistan in response to the 9-11 attacks. The war in Iraq is nearing the end of its fourth year. Both wars were, and are, fought on the ground by infantry, mechanized infantry and armored troops. Air and sea power are very important, but it's the boots that hold the ground.

I've said this before, but it needs to be said over and over - the US must increase the size of the Army and the Marine Corps. 100,000 is a conservative number.

This increase, if started today, would be six years behind schedule. An increase of this magnitude cannot happen overnight, or over a year for that matter. It takes time to recruit, train and field troops. It also takes skilled, experienced instructors - those who have learned the lessons of Afghanistan and Iraq - to train troops.

However "politically impossible" it might be to think long term in an election year (now there's a wicked paradox), increasing military manpower is an issue that needs attention now. For all the claims that our military is "overstretched," there is a palpable lack of a solution outside of "bring them all home now."

But much like enforcing immigration law, I'm sure that addressing military manpower will fall by the wayside until the next president is in office. Or not. In January 09 there will probably already be talk about the mid-term elections. Then increasing military strength, addressing illegal immigration, reforming public education, reforming Social Security, and a litany of other "hot button" issues will be shelved as "too sensitive" or used as "wedge issues" while these problems linger and grow.

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