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Stay A Little Longer

Remember the other day when President Bush warned that some US troops in Iraq might be forced to stay longer because Congress wasn't being diligent in providing funds for the war? Well, he was right. Only it wasn't Congress making them stay longer. And that "some" turned out to be all of them.
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates announced yesterday that all active-duty soldiers currently deployed or going to Iraq and Afghanistan will see their one-year tours extended to 15 months, acknowledging that such a strain on the war-weary Army is necessary should the ongoing troop increase be prolonged well into next year.

The decision -- coming three months after President Bush put forth his new security plan for Iraq, including the deployment of at least 28,000 additional troops there -- reflects the reality that the new strategy is unfeasible without introducing longer Army tours.

The across-the-board extension will affect more than 100,000 active-duty soldiers and will result in the longest combat tours for the Army since World War II. It will also mandate for the first time that active-duty soldiers spend more time at war than at home.

Can we please drop the pretense that this so-called "surge" is anything but an escalation? I mean seriously, how many indicators do we need before this administration will finally admit they lied about the size and duration of this "surge"? These extensions come on the heels of reports that more troops are being sent than originally claimed. In order to maintain this increase, they are sending back sometimes severely injured soldiers or shortening the length of time they have back home. Some brigades are looking at their fifth deployment there. We keep getting happy talk about how well the "surge" is working, despite the fact that April is on track to be one of the deadliest months since the fall of Baghdad.

Yet "surge" is the word. They sure have a funny definition for it.

More from Meme.

Blog Thanks: The SotD version of this post got mention on the Columbia Journalism Review Daily.

(Filed at State of the Day)

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