A group of experts who served on a "working group" to the Iraq Study Group (ISG), have concluded that military readiness is at its lowest since Vietnam.
Salon.com reports that some of the experts are fustrated that the White House did absolutely nothing to prevent the "degradation" of U.S. ground forces' readiness.
In interviews with Salon, experts who served on the study group's "working groups" explained why: The military is running out of troops and equipment. The cold, hard facts about military readiness and a 1.4 million-strong active-duty force rule out a big increase in the size of the U.S. footprint in Iraq. "We don't have enough is the short answer," said Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism expert at Georgetown University who served on the military and security working group of the bipartisan commission headed by former Secretary of State James Baker and former Democratic Rep. Lee Hamilton. Advocating a big increase in troop levels now is just political theater, Hoffman argued. "This is the beginning of the who-lost-Iraq debate," he explained. "No one wants to be a charter member of the club."
Some advisors to the study group expressed considerable frustration that the White House never lifted a finger to prevent the predictable degradation in the readiness of U.S. ground forces, now painfully apparent. Among other things, the White House could have worked early on to greatly increase the size of the Army and Marine Corps. "We've been whistling by the graveyard without doing anything to solve this problem," said Michael Eisenstadt, a study group advisor from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
Paul Hughes, another advisor to the Iraq Study Group and a senior program officer at the United States Institute of Peace, noted with disdain how the White House basically ignored the impact the pace of war has had on U.S. ground forces. "What the debate has been lacking is an honest assessment of American military power," Hughes said.
What's interesting here is that during the 2000 campaign, George W. Bush had the audacity to trash then President Clinton's record as Commander-in-Chief. He promised to restore morale in the military, and claimed there was a lack of military readiness. In fact, during the his acceptance speech at the 2000 Republican Convention, Bushie claimed that two of the Army's 10 divisions were not ready to fight. He said “If called on by the commander-in-chief today, two entire divisions of the Army would have to report ‘Not ready for duty, sir.’”
My, oh my. Looks like Bushie has become what he once despised.