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July 17th, 2008
08:00 AM ET

Walk in a soldier's shoes – Feel that need for back up

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/16/art.gates.jpg caption="Australia Minister of Defense Joel Fitzgibbon and U.S. Defense Secretary Robert entering the Pentagon on July 16 to discuss a possible troop surge in Afghanistan"]
Nic Robertson
Senior International Correspondent

Every time I go to Afghanistan I hear the same thing.
We are short of troops, we are short of helicopters, we are short of money to put things right.

No surprise when I embedded with the 24th MEU in southern Helmand province I heard the same complaints again. Only this time, a very big difference. The comments were made by a General on camera not privately in a back room briefing. Every time in the past, apart from a few constructive comments about more money nobody was willing to rock the boat publicly and call it like it was, undermanned.

Gen Dan McNeill, the four star who was until a few months ago in charge of NATO forces in Afghanistan and who is a genuinely nice guy to boot, talked around the subject with me in an almost hour long interview last year. He just didn’t want to say he was short of what he needed most, troops. Sure he said the Afghan army needed to train more men with greater speed, and that the Afghan police we woefully underprepared for their task. But on troops, he said he had all those he needed to do the job he’d been told to do.

Even Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, whom I met in Khost province a few miles from the border with Pakistan in December last year, put the blame elsewhere. He pointed the finger at NATO nations not the US for the short fall in troops. He was seething that some European nations wouldn’t contribute more troops and some that were wouldn’t let their soldiers fight.
What I was seeing on the ground at that time were bases like the one in Wanat, where 9 US soldiers were killed. A relative handful of troops pushed out from large central operating bases to better implement counterinsurgency strategy of being closer to the population, helping convince the Afghans their government supports them. In some places they barely had enough troops to defend their base perimeters let along patrol safely in the steep sided and heavily wood mountain valleys of the Himalayan foothills on the Pakistan border.

The counterinsurgency strategy can work, but in Afghanistan’s wild and mountainous terrain the Taliban are using it to their own deadly effect. Instead of rocketing big bases, which they still do occasionally, they are planting IED’s on re-supply routes, there are too few soldiers to patrol the re-supply routes so re-supply is by helicopter. Some of it’s contracted out to aging Soviet aircraft run by Afghans, the rest by NATO helicopters, and that’s a burden on the limited air assets. That is they were exacerbating the shortage of troops, by implementing tactics designed to draw more in to the fight.

Just a few months ago nobody was prepared to say any of this publicly. Now it seems it is open season on the shortcomings of the war in Afghanistan.

Fresh rhetoric in the race for the White House is bringing a surge of reality to what has until now been the poor cousin to the war in Iraq.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Afghanistan • Nic Robertson • T1
soundoff (137 Responses)
  1. William

    Our military presence in both Iraq and Afghanistan is lunacy.
    What are we going to do now? Reduce our forces in Iraq to boost our forces in Afghanistan, and play the see/saw game with Al-Queda? Just so two years from now (and thousands of lives later), we'll repeat the process and reinforce Iraq when that place blows up again?
    Somebody needs to say, "stop the madness", and read our Constitution, congress shall provide for "a common defense", not 'Nation-biulding' or whatever other euphemism our gov't comes up with for occupation. I served in Iraq for 16 months and my presence did more to recruit 'terrorist' than having not been there – "duh" (as my kid sister would say). Our gov't is hijacked by these statist war mongrel crack heads – who have never and will never see a battle.
    I pity the thousands of civilians and soldiers we've killed by this lunacy, and I pity the thousands more who are going to die.

    July 17, 2008 at 12:11 pm |
  2. Dan

    To Mr. Gibbons: As a soldier myself, I say thanks but no thanks to the idea of the draft. I do not want to fight along side of someone that does not want to be there. A forced soldier is not committed to the team, is under prepared with poor morale and becomes a heavy burdon that others soldiers have to bear.

    July 17, 2008 at 12:11 pm |
  3. Gene

    Great article Nic.

    NATO member nations should be prepared to do their "fair share" as a member or risk no longer being a member of NATO. Some countries do help allot, some countries do very little, others nothing at all.

    In Iraq the U.S. along with a "coalition" of the willing were prepared to "go it alone" the majority of the world didn't approve.

    Afghanistan was suppose to be the Worlds response to terrorism with the WTC, Madrid, and London bombings. Yet there aren't enough troops or equipment.

    July 17, 2008 at 12:07 pm |
  4. Andy

    It boils down to one thing, National Will.

    "War means money and money means Taxes "- FDR. War also mean people.

    We do not have the National will to raise the Armies needed to win and to pay for the Armies required.

    Instead we outsource everything and ask the Chinese loan us the money.

    July 17, 2008 at 12:06 pm |
  5. Brendan

    I agree with you John, we need a mass movement in America. Though the problem with a draft is an Army that is less professional and less motivated. Haha I for one left college after 3 years to join the Army and am now headed to Afghanistan for my first tour. I was tired of sitting back and watching things happen, not seeing enough people doing anything about it.

    July 17, 2008 at 12:03 pm |
  6. N

    We shouldn't have had troops overseas in the first place, and YES I support troop withdrawl.

    I've heard it time and time again "If you want us to pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan, you're unAmerican because you want us to lose the war." What about the war we are fighting on the home front? A morgage crisis, hunger because of rising food costs, and homlessness.

    Why should we care about a country that hates us?!!! I'm calling all of our politicians and American's who support this war UNAMERICAN because THEY would rather dump billion's of dollars into the Iraqi war rather than fix our issues at home.

    July 17, 2008 at 12:01 pm |
  7. Ron

    I don't understand what the problem is! Iraq wants us out! Move the troops to Afganistan. The military moves to slow, That was the way it was in Nam, we turned in a report and by the time the military did something about it, The enemy was doing something else.
    We need a reactionary company that is in a staging area waiting, When something happens, they can respond immediately. I believe the military of today needs to speak to the older vets on how to set up a fast acting force and surprise tactics.

    July 17, 2008 at 12:00 pm |
  8. Sean

    You go to war with the army you have, not the army you want, eh Rummy?

    Draft the Republicans who screamed for the war in Iraq. Why haven't they enlisted already anyway?!

    July 17, 2008 at 11:56 am |
  9. ROXANN PERONTO

    John, Amen to everything you said. I spent 4 years active army and the rest of my 20 years in the reserves and so did my husband. We were activated for Desert Storm and left our 3 kids behind. My kids are now grown and I is in the Army reserves and another wants to join. I see those same young people male and females with no goals or directions. They should all have to serve in the military for at least a year when they get out of high school like some other countries do. It is a good way for them to grow up and see what the real world is all about before they make any major decisions about what they want to be or what they want to do with their lives.

    July 17, 2008 at 11:50 am |
  10. Doug

    The Canadians are also peeved that some of the European nations aren't doing a bit more.

    July 17, 2008 at 11:48 am |
  11. LORI ANN

    I don't know what to say to all of this except that I (really) pray for all of you throughout each day (and night) and want nothing more than for you all to come home. I know that you are not the same people as when you left but you just need to be home again.

    I am sorry that you had to go. I am sorry that you had to go through all you went through. I pray and cry for each of you. God bless you.

    July 17, 2008 at 11:45 am |
  12. Stev

    The only ones who want to reinstate a draft are those too old to be drafted....let your son go to war and see how it is.

    July 17, 2008 at 11:45 am |
  13. Michael Manley

    I am and was a soldier! The worst thing that can happen or one of them is to be on an assignment that states you are going to be in country for 12 months then to have it changed to 16 or 18 months. This the worst thing and so hard to handle for family and the soldier! It is very hard to be away from family and loved ones for 12 months then to have a person setting in DC decide you need to do more time! HUM wonder what it would like if that person was ask to sit in jail for an extra 6 months? The next thing is to leave your wife and kids in a state a 1000 miles from home expecting you to return to that base and at the last minute be told, that you will not only not return to that base but you have been extended for 6 months while the President and vice president set at home in a comfortable bed and out of harms way. Don’t miss understand me, I loved be a soldier, but just be honest with me, Hay SFC Manley your are going over seas and we are not sure when you will return and we can not grantee that you will even return to the base where you left your family! The next thing that is so upsetting, is our so called medical care” TRI-CARE” I think another name and a better one would be NO-CARE! They pay our medical bills 6 months after a doctor has submitted them, if a doctor submit’s a bill for $100. He is going to be paid about $20. For his service. I sorry I thought when I sign that contract every few years they kept emphasizing the great medical care I would receive if I retired! Trust me it is not there, and VA is not for retired soldiers, it is for soldiers whom got injured while in the military! What a joke! Now I did receive a email from my senator whom shortly after her election to congress she had a knee surgery and was doing well and feeling great, gee if that had replaced my knees and hips they damaged 4 years ago maybe I would not still be taking this crappie meds! That’s correct, by now I am pretty much a full blown opiate addict and still waiting for the fix to my hips and knees! Gee I want to go do another 20 years in this mans army and encourage others to do the same! NOT! Bring our soldiers home, start drilling for our own oil, They do not want us in the MID east, and most of us whom devoted to oour country want to come home!

    July 17, 2008 at 11:44 am |
  14. Brian

    having served in a combat capacity in both theatres (Iraq & Afghanistan) I agree with the voiced shortfalls, our unit was 45% undermanned before we even got to Iraq.

    Cindy, keep in mind that we went into both Iraq & Afghanistan almost simultaneously, Iraq got the lions share of troops because of the known military threat there as well as trying to secure GW Bush's trophy, aka Sadaam.

    John, reinstating the draft will draw less support and if we force our misguided youths into military service, we will no longer be a Democratic Capitalist nation. I think Facist / Totalitarian would be the name for that. I would support some type military service program for all able bodied AMERICAN citizens, instead of reinstating the draft, as long as it doesn't change our existing structure.
    What we need is better retention programs to keep the experienced soldiers & sailors we have now. Instead of screwing over the grunts by increasing rotations, try to incentivise them to stay in. Advancement and retention of the junior enlisted is at the lowest it has been in decades.

    July 17, 2008 at 11:43 am |
  15. Darren

    Reinsituting the draft would be a bad idea. Historically, conscripted armies are far less efficient and perform worse then an all volunteer force. World War 2 was fought with a conscripted force but that time period was part of a different culture. The solution to violence is never more violence. The Soviets learned that themselves in Afganistan. The best course of action is some sort of negotiated peace. In Madrid right now Jewish, Muslim and Christian religious leaders are meeting and engaging in dialogue. This needs to happen with the forces the US is fighting against. Otherwise this conflict will continue without end. Spilling the blood of countless innocents in the name of 9/11 does not bring those lost back. Their deaths should be used as the catalyst to bring about a positive change to the world. I know if my child were killed that day I would not wish anyone else harm as retribution. In the end that is God's domain.

    July 17, 2008 at 11:40 am |
  16. Bob

    This was always the true "War on Terror." Dumbya, Shotgun Dick and the neocons decided to start a war in Iraq to steal their oil and enrich war-profiteers like Haliburton, Blackwater and KBR pure and simple. Back in the reign of St. Ron Reagan, Sadaam was our boy in his fight against Iran....We also supported Osama bin Laden when he was fighting the Russians in Afghanistan. We create these monsters and then down the road, take them out when they are no longer useful.

    July 17, 2008 at 11:38 am |
  17. Mike in NYC

    Cindy wrote:

    "...and get things back in order and defeat them once and for all. Then our troops can come home."

    "Them" will be extended to include all who oppose the New US Imperium.

    The Long War has begun. It will not end for a very long time.

    July 17, 2008 at 11:38 am |
  18. Jaime

    Reinstate the draft seems to be the excuse of those who have no solutions. The solution to a lot of this is to get politics and special interest out of the decisions that will affect the lives of our men and women. To tap the largest oil resources in the world by overthrowing a dictator is immoral. The direction of the country and how it is governed needs to go back to what the entire country needs, not to the needs of corporations. Our men and women need to have everything they need to go into battle. They need armor, which they should not have to buy. They need vehicles that will protect them. They need rifles that don't jam when in muddy conditions. Commanders need the troops necessary to carry out the missions. Too few and the lives of our troops are in danger, like in the case of the outpost that was overran by the Taliban. This is what's needed, not dream of a draft that will solve nothing when our troops lack a lot of the basics that one would expect for the best Army in the world.

    July 17, 2008 at 11:35 am |
  19. Henry

    @John Gibbons

    So reinstating the draft would only be for the "young people walking around with no goals and no direction"? What about the young people that do have goals and direction? Can they opt out?

    July 17, 2008 at 11:34 am |
  20. Johnny Reb

    Right on JG. Our country went wrong when we stopped drafting citizens to fight in wars and started relying on a mercenary army. It was good for the politicians so that they could get America involved in wars that we didnt declare ie. police actions, hot zones, brush fires, containment actions, whatever you want to call them and not have the country involved to the extent that a war calls for such as WWI or WWII when we rationed supplies to the populace and people saved scrap and bought bonds to fight the war and whatever else it took to get it over with as soon as possible. Bring back the draft now and if the young people think it is below them to be a soldier, they can guard our border or put out fires in California of fill sandbags on the flooding Mississippi.

    July 17, 2008 at 11:33 am |
  21. Glen

    never understood this whole thing, was always suprised when I was sent to one war and not the other.

    July 17, 2008 at 11:33 am |
  22. martha hurley

    I am convinced we need to reinstate the draft. My grandson is at West Point and he will be going to Iraq in two years. He could have gone to any school of his choosing. This is what he chose to do. What happened to our patriotism?

    Martha Hurley

    July 17, 2008 at 11:33 am |
  23. John

    While I spent my tour in Afghanistans kunar province a small outpost being over run was an everyday non stop occurance. Its true we felt left out, forgotten.
    June 21 2006 we lost a good group of men. no one knew, no one noticed. It didnt wake anyone up in America except the Parents and wives and children who had just lost their Soldiers.
    Small outposts being overrun... Nothin New. Nothin new at all.
    Anderson Cooper, You have been one of the Men who has attempted to find help for those of us who were tossed out into the Mountains and forgotten. You've talked to the Mothers who lost their boys, such as Cheryl Lybert. You havent forgotten us.
    While Deeply needed soldiers get Fat in Bagram there are those of us out there in the Mountains dreaming of food. Dreaming of what good excuse there is for us to be left out there. We Wanted to be there. Still wish we were there. But why arent we being allowed to Win... Why ? we Wanted to Fight for our Country and Afghanistan is the Chance... except we have so many rules our hands are tied. So few troops our actions area limited. We WANT TO FIGHT. LET US WIN !!!!
    3-71 cav. Recon.
    Courage is Fear that has Said it's Prayers.

    July 17, 2008 at 11:28 am |
  24. Amy McVay of Omaha

    I believe we need to step it up in Afganistan and finish what needs to be done. It may be a good idea to have the draft. We all need to step up to the plate as American's and look this enemy in the eye and mean what we say. I also believe that it is something we need to do in respect to the young men and their families who have already given the ultimate sacrafice.

    July 17, 2008 at 11:27 am |
  25. C Sand

    I totally agree with John Gibbons that we MUST reinstitute the draft. Only then will everyone in US be aware daily of what is going on in Iraq and Afghanistan. My son returns today from 15 months in Iraq and now may have to redeploy. If all young people were drafted I think our national policies would be quite different. If you are not at risk you are more willing to send someone else to fight! We should honor those who choose to protect us, but having everyone elgible would make a Real difference.

    July 17, 2008 at 11:24 am |
  26. Veronica Keyser

    Nic,

    Thank you for this information. While I am not a military expert by any means, it seems we are consistently under estimating the power of our enemies. While we sit and praise the alleged "victory" that has occured in Iraq, we have done little to support those that are still battling on every day in Afghanistan. My husband is in the Army National Guard and bored to tears sitting on a naval base in Kuwait. While he is proud to be serving his country, as captain of a combat battallion, he feels their knowledge, training and skill could be far better utilized in areas such as this. Of course, it doesn't break my heart that he is in an area that is far safer but it is like he has said, he has trained for the Super Bowl for 20 years and sits on the sidelines. However, as Gates put it, it isn't solely the responsibility of the US to step up the surge. NATO needs to support us as well. Keep up the great job on reporting actual NEWS!

    July 17, 2008 at 11:24 am |
  27. martha

    How many mores lives does Mr. Bush wants. This is a real crime . the soldiers are suffering and also their families. This money should be use in our country to solve the many problems we are facing.

    July 17, 2008 at 11:22 am |
  28. Bob Johnson

    The real culprit of terrorist attacks on our country has been ignored for so long. And now we see Taliban emboldening and for the first time I hear the word "insurgents" said in the same sentence as Afghanistan. This is beyond ridiculous. Our civilian leadership AND the military leadership needs to smell the roses and realize that by ignoring Afghanistan in the fight on terror, we are actually supporting the resurgence of the same terror that struck us on 9-11.
    And given the uptick in rhetoric on Iran by both President Bush and Senator McCain, I believe it is time to reinstate DRAFT.

    July 17, 2008 at 11:21 am |
  29. Brian B.

    Obama has been saying for a while that we need to focus on Afghanistan, but the Bush/McCain group only want us to see Iraq and Iran.

    And if you want to bring back the draft, you need to fix the loop holes that allow rich kids and politicians kids to avoid being drafted. That would make things equal for all people, not just the onus of the poor.

    Also you'd have to make it a federal crime, with manditory prison time for any doctor found faking records to keep the rich and politician kids out of service like they did for the last draft.

    July 17, 2008 at 11:19 am |
  30. Steve Thompson

    John Gibbons is right on with his suggestion. Maybe not just a military draft, but a requirement for military/civil service. 2 years required, to be served between the ages of 18-26. No Exceptions. All names in the same pool. Only considerations for those physically/mentally unable to perform. Would put a lot of focus and pride back into the country.
    Vietnam 1972 "Probably impossible, it makes too much sense."

    July 17, 2008 at 11:16 am |
  31. Jeff Helfgott

    Mr. Gibbons,

    Few Active Duty soldier want a draft – there are benefits associated with an all-volunteer military, and I have a difficult time believing an influx of civilians serving against their will would be the immediate benefit our troops need. Most importantly, reinstating a draft would pull MORE highly trained volunteer soldiers away from the front line to be instructors.

    The draft may be an answer to some of the larger issues you addressed, but we cannot afford the pain it would cause our current forces during this critical time on the War on Terror.

    July 17, 2008 at 11:12 am |
  32. JK

    John, I hope you're including your sons, daughters, friends, brothers, sisters and anyone else close to you in that statement.

    July 17, 2008 at 11:11 am |
  33. far

    If you feel that we need to reinstate the draft for some worthwhile or necessary need, then so be it. At present, a draft for military reasons cannot be justified. Please do not attempt to use the draft for political reasons. Reinstatement of the draft in order to stir up anti war sentiment is irresponsible and immature. Also, do not try to turn the armed forces into a social program via the draft. Although military service often instills young individuals with goals, direction and values, these attributes are by-products. The goal of the military is to "provide for the common defense" NOT "promote the general welfare". Reinstatement of the draft in order to get young people virtue and personal responsiblity is foolhardy and counter productive.

    July 17, 2008 at 11:08 am |
  34. Dave

    Has anyone thought that George Bush needs to stand for war crime?? I am one that is not proud to even be living on the same continent as this man! This man singlely has force the entire planet into hell and he thinks he is doing a good job. Just shows you what little IQ he actually has. I really don't understand why he hasn't been removed from office yet/ Some one please help me understand. I feel that this man needs to answer for the deeds he has done and stand before The Hague. Ohhhh wait, the USA is not part of the ICC. Now why is that?? I guess we don't have to answer to anyong but ourselves and who cares what others think... People we need to wake up and answer for the crimes that Bush as committed.

    July 17, 2008 at 11:08 am |
  35. Jesse Torgersoon

    Any one else see the irony in John's statement above? Odds are he is either a) no longer eligible for the draft or b) a member of a politician's family. The beauty of democracy is freedom to choose. There are plenty of ways to become a "part of the process" aside from being forced to serve in the military. Don't get me wrong – I absolutely agree that we need a larger troop presence in Afghanistan... I just think there are other ways to go about it. Sorry about the rant – slightly off topic.

    July 17, 2008 at 11:07 am |
  36. Texx

    Reinstate the draft? Are you kidding? As a "young people" I am very involved in Politics. My brother is currently a Marine who has been to Iraq a few times. Why would we draft Americas future to go fight a pointless war? Oh wait....I forgot....we won the war in 2004 when we took out Saddam?!?!?! Right? Why are we in Iraq? Why are we in Afghan? We does my little brother fight a war that has done nothing beneficial for the United States? Oh wait.....those of you with oil stocks got richer! Thanks little brother...I'm glad you could help make the Bushs wealthier while the rest of us pay 4.50/gallon and oil companies are making their largest profits in history. Foreign Policy should be a simple policy. If you HARM AMERICANS, we will BLOW YOU UP. Perioud. Pull the troops out, let the maggots fight amongst them selves and lets concentrate on more important issues like education, social security, and health care. By the way, while we are at it. Lets limit the Senate and House to two terms per member. No more life long Senators who haven't worked a real day in their entire lifes.

    July 17, 2008 at 11:06 am |
  37. Tiphany

    I, myself, have served in the military for the past 11 years, and am now preparing for my second tour overseas. The draft is a good idea in theory, BUT, as a Soldier, it would concern me having someone on a mission who doesn't want to be there. Furthermore, I am PROUD of what I do, and I don't wan't to share the honor of being a Soldier with someone who doesn't want it themselves.

    July 17, 2008 at 11:05 am |
  38. DJ

    In a former Soviet Union there was a draft, and it worked well, because those who did not want to study in the universities were drafted, those who enrolled to the university were drafted but failed to meet certain grades were drafted, so that helped a lot to keep the crime rates down, because those not at school were in the army.

    July 17, 2008 at 11:04 am |
  39. Michele

    Look around in our prisons, county jails, etc. There is no reason that we should have a shortage of troops. Afterall, we are already providing clothing, food and shelter for these folks. I understand that not all detaned persons could be used, but there are some that not only could be used, but would be willing to do so. Just a thought.

    July 17, 2008 at 11:04 am |
  40. Evan

    The draft? I'm not sure how old you are Mr. Gibbons but I just turned 21 and am entering my junior year in college so a draft would definitely open my eyes to a different future. The draft is not a viable option. We've seen how it worked in Vietnam. Troops there were unmotivated and poorly trained due to lack of effort on the individual soldier's side as well as the Army's side. The bad morale that spread from some of the unmotivated soldier's there spread like wildfire, crushing the overall morale of a war that was going to be hard to win in the first place. I firmly believe that a smaller, better trained, and more motivated fighting force can better fight an uncoventional wars, which include the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. We've seen this before and a repeat of Vietnam seems to be in the eyes of most Americans with the situation in Iraq right now.

    July 17, 2008 at 11:03 am |
  41. sebastian

    More poor kids dying for nothing you mean. Afghanistan was just a steping stone to go to Iraq. Instead of calling for more soldiers to fight unecessary wars why not bring back home those that are left in one piece and capable I mean. Yes, maybe Osama took down the twin towers (without internal help) but for some reson the priority became Iraq and it has not changed for the past 5 years, so why now the goverment is saying to shift to Afghanistan?
    I was a sailor before and i believed before that we were there to help, not to invade and carry out the deeds of a corrupted governing entinty. The president that is. Have everyone out so the US can also take care of the internal problems... if there is still a chance.

    July 17, 2008 at 11:01 am |
  42. H Rhodes

    Having served 10 years in the USAF as a pilot I can say with conviction the vast majority of military members want no part of a draft. Those serving now are motivated, focused and moving forward by choice.

    The military is not a reform school, absent parent class, or societal value "injector." Get that at home and if willing volunteer. The military is by definition apolitical with some terrific women all throughout this very day. Good luck.

    July 17, 2008 at 11:00 am |
  43. Munk

    Our forces shouldn't even be in Afganistan to begin with. It's just another pointless war like IRAQ, which the U.S. has lost. It's insane, "we gotta win the war on terror". The U.S. sponsors terrorism, it always has, and always will. There are better things to fight for and war in the middle east is NOT two of them.

    To Cindy, there are terrorists everywhere, it's impossible to win a war against terrorism. Everyday there's terrorism, I don't see our military or local enforcement agencys committing mass murders to my population like they do in the middle east (GENOCIDE). I can go all night and day about this.

    As for the draft Gibbons...if it were to come back everybody gets included no matter what gender, sex, class, or religion. I might be an American, but it's a bit too cliche to support our troops/, when I don't agree with these wars the U.S. continues to get their noses in and continues to waste my taxe dollars, when those dollars could be used for something much more usefull. Call me unamerican if you want, I only support those I know personally, and that's only 2, since 3 were killed, never got to fire a weapon and they're labeled heroes?

    PEace

    July 17, 2008 at 10:58 am |
  44. Matt

    John,

    What about those of us who are young, driven, and goal oriented? Being the center of the draft age range knowing that I have no desire to put a weapon in my hands and kill another human being. I have a very clear image of what I want to achieve out of life and where I want to head.

    I realize I am the exception to the rule. I'm graduating from a University with a Political Science degree so I am contradictory to your explanation of apathy in politics for people my age.

    Now I would agree with you that there are many young people who do not have goals or direction, but I feel the draft would cause problems for those of us who are… especially those with a mind similar to mind. What situation would we be in if we were drafted and not emotionally capable to operate for a cause which we feel unjust?

    July 17, 2008 at 10:58 am |
  45. Scott

    I pseudo agree with John Gibbons on this. Although I do not think we should reinstate a DRAFT per se, I do believe that we should do like most other countries in the world. We should make it mandatory for all men who are no physically or mentally disabled to serve two years in the military. If they volunteer for a service (Army, Navy, AF, Marine Corps), then they can get their pick of what they do in that service. Folks that are undecided will be put in infantry to serve our wars, or at least to back fill at units where their personnel are currently deployed. Then after the mandatory two years, if they wish to train into another career field, they can. Or, if they wish to leave the military, they can with no further obligations, and they can have two years of college paid for with the stipulation they maintain a GPA mandated in regulation sompleace.

    Not only will this help our numbers in the military, it will also instill a little bit of patriotism and respect in our younger folks that you just don't see anymore.

    July 17, 2008 at 10:55 am |
  46. Pam

    Easily said then done...our troops are over extended and under paid....adding a surge is also easily said but I don't think people in this country appreciate anything those troops and their families go through....15 months is a long time...think about it....missing x-mas, thanksgiving, birthdays, anniversaries, baby's first steps....I could go on and on....if you send people back they don't have down time to clear their heads....I know people getting ready for a fourth tour of duty ....its impossible to explain what a military family goes through in a short paragraph... also with all that goes on in the world I am sure there are all of things we don't hear through the news... yes it is nice to hear that their needs to be change....but time will tell if its a smart move or not

    July 17, 2008 at 10:49 am |
  47. Jeff Barnes

    That's a good option make everyone a soldier....yeeesh...how about we do the right thing and take the troops out of Iraq and send them along to Afghanistan.....no need for a draft as long as we don't keep making these dumb mistakes and invade the wrong country. We took our eye off the ball with the right thing we did going into
    Afghanistan. The draft arguement is the knee jerk reaction, not well thought out........

    July 17, 2008 at 10:49 am |
  48. Kristen- Philadelphia, PA

    John how about you and all the other pro draft people go over and serve if not already. You must be crazy if you think first of all the draft is going to be reinstated and secondly if you think it's going to include women.

    July 17, 2008 at 10:46 am |
  49. John Gibbons

    I have always said that we should reinstate the draft. Also, since I believe in Equal Rights, women should be included in selective service and the draft.
    We have too many young people walking around with no goals and no direction. If we reistated the draft, it would give everybody a reason to get involved in politics and make everybody part of the process.

    July 17, 2008 at 10:14 am |
  50. Cindy

    Nic,
    I am glad that this is finally being spoken about out in the open by the Generals in Afghanistan. It's about time that they tell the truth. I have seen for a while that they needed way more troops. Finally someone seems to be listening.

    When we went into Iraq it seems that we totally forgot Afghanistan and what are men and women are doing over there. Now we are paying the price because the terrorists have all flocked there because it seems easier to attack our troops there instead of Iraq.

    Hopefully we can do a surge, if you will, over there and get things back in order and defeat them once and for all. Then our troops can come home.

    Cindy...Ga.

    July 17, 2008 at 10:10 am |
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