Desertion rates are at an all time high
by Ian Mosley
The American infantry soldiers still on the ground in Iraq are becoming increasingly depressed, demoralized and disillusioned. A few of them force down the neocon Kool Aid about making Iraq a democracy. By the third or fourth tour, it’s getting to be more about survival than idealism. They volunteered to defend America from real threats, not to die in Iraq for Israel and Halliburton.
The International Herald Tribune reports that: “In interviews with more than a dozen soldiers over a one-week period, most said they were disillusioned by repeated deployments, by what they saw as the abysmal performance of Iraqi security forces and by a conflict that they considered a civil war, one they had no ability to stop. They had seen shadowy militia commanders installed as Iraqi Army officers, they said, had come under increasing attack from roadside bombs - planted within sight of Iraqi Army checkpoints - and had fought against Iraqi soldiers whom they thought were their allies.”
When push finally comes to shove over there, on whose side will the so-called “Iraqi Army” fight? At whom will all those guns we handed over to them be pointed? Or will they drop their guns and run away as the more-motivated private militias fight it out to control Iraq?
One gung-ho soldier from a military family, who joined to fight al Qaeda has little hope for Iraq. In the article, he concedes “…the American presence is futile. ‘If we stayed here for 5, even 10 more years, the day we leave here these guys will go crazy,’ he said. ‘It would go straight into a civil war. That’s how it feels, like we’re putting a Band-Aid on this country until we leave here.’”
The same article continues “Their many deployments have added to the strain. After spending six months in Iraq, the soldiers of Delta Company had been home for only 24 hours last December when the news came. ‘Change your plans,’ they recall being told. ‘We’re going back to Iraq.’” Some soldiers are now on their FOURTH TOUR of that hell hole. Some have been there since 2003 with no rotation at all.
Many soldiers have taken to protesting their conditions and the war in general on blogs and in e-mails to families back home, forcing the Pentagon recently to ban blogs and censor e-mail from active duty troops in Iraq. Even MySpace and YouTube have been placed off limit. But the Pentagon is simply slapping band aids on cancer; there is a growing realization that the American military has been strained to the limit and is now broken. No one will join the military with the prospect of dying for un-American interests, spending year after year in a Mid East shooting gallery. America’s soldiers are depressed, demoralized, and may soon even become mutinous. There are already stories of truck drivers refusing suicidal missions. Desertion rates are at an all time high.
The best way to describe the situation was put by an anonymous GI several years ago: “These people [the Iraqis] are fighting for their God and for their country. We’re just fighting to stay alive for one more day.”