Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Does Our Military Enjoy Our Freedom?

I guess no one has ever really expected people in the military to be 100% free. The thought has always been that soldiers give up some of their freedom to help support our way of life. But what does it mean when these people, these noble, self-sacrificing members of our society, are then forced to serve beyond their time?

IRRs, or Individual Ready Reserves, are people who have served their four years of active duty, and then serve one day a year with the knowledge that they can serve at any time.  This differs from Regular Reserves, who train regularly, are paid, and receive benefits for the second four-year stint of their military service.

Most IRRs suspect that they will never get called up, and basically enter this tract because, after four years of serving their country, their ready to start living their lives. The people that enter the IRRs ready to serve again have, for the most part already volunteered to head back to Iraq and Afghanistan.

But today George Bush is calling up the first block of 5,000 IRR marines to re-enter the region.  In all there are 59,000 eligible marines, and additional army that hold this role.  All of this to support a recent increase in the number of troops in Iraq, from 127,000 to 138,000.  Only 6 months ago the Bush administration spoke to the declining number of troops in the region, and said that was a trend that would continue.

Huge numbers of Americans push for a phased withdrawal from Iraq, but Bush ignores them.  Meanwhile, the cost of this war, both in terms of dollars and American lives, increases daily. If you want the numbers, check out the Dubya Dashboard on the right.  And our soldiers, the young men and women who chose to serve to protect democracy, are pressed back into duty after serving.

Maybe it’s fair by the letter of their agreement, but it seems far from fair by the spirit of their sacrifice. It’s time these marines enjoy the freedom they’ve fought to protect!

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Posted by Scottage at 10:37 AM / | |