The war in Iraq has lasted for nearly five years - making it the third longest war in American history, after the Revolutionary War and the Vietnam War. Our generals and military leaders are warning that our military is stretched and strained and our country is facing a military readiness crisis the U.S. has not experienced since the end of the Vietnam War more than 30 years ago.
'...the cumulative effects of the last six- plus years at war have left our Army out of balance, consumed by the current fight and unable to do the things we know we need to do to properly sustain our all-volunteer force and restore our flexibility for an uncertain future.'
- Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey [2/26/08]
'We are a nation long at war, facing an era of persistent conflict. Our soldiers and families are stretched. We are an Army out of balance. And we are consuming our readiness as fast as we build it.'
- Secretary of the Army Pete Geren [2/26/08]
'We must reduce deployment lengths from 15 months, increase time spent at home-station between deployments, and provide predictability across all components, if we are to relieve the considerable stress placed on our Army, our soldiers, and our Army families.'
- Lt. General Michael Rochelle, Army Deputy Chief of Staff, G1 [2/26/08]
Cost to Our Troops:
- Nearly 1.7 million U.S. troops have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan since September 2001 - more than 592,000 have been deployed more than once. [Department of Defense, 1/31/08]
- Since the start of the war in Iraq, 3,930 brave men and women in uniform have been killed and an estimated 29,275 have been wounded. [Department of Defense, 2/26/08]
- The Army is facing a shortage of officers as a result of multiple deployments. According to Lt. General William Caldwell IV: 'You have a shortage of both majors and captains . . . because we have a larger number make the decision that they have served honorably, they have had one or two or three combat tours and have made the decision to go into civilian life.' [Washington Post, 10/11/07]
- The Army is using 'stop-loss authority' to prevent an estimated 8,000 soldiers from leaving the service at the end of their commitment. [Secretary of the Army Pete Geren, Testimony, 2/26/08]
- Repeated deployments have led to an increase in military desertions and unexcused absences, according to Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey. 'You're seeing folks not showing up for deployments.' [USA Today, 2/19/08]
- A survey of current and former military officers underscores the growing concern about the impact of the war on our Armed Forces. [Foreign Policy/Center for New American Security, 2/19/08]
- 88 percent believe the demands of the Iraq war have 'stretched the U.S. military dangerously thin.'
- 60 percent of those surveyed said the U.S. military is weaker than it was five years ago.
- Lt. Gen. Michael Rochelle, Deputy Chief of Staff, G1, testified before the House Armed Services Subcommittee that the Army is short on 'doctors, psychiatrists and other health professionals.' [Watertown Daily Times, 2/27/08]