Sunday, September 19, 2004

7 Standing Os and 1 Quagmire

Two days after Bush addressed the National Guard convention and painted a rosey scenario on the quagmire that is Iraq, John Kerry spoke to the same group and told them the truth: that Bush "failed the fundamental test of leadership" by not telling the truth ``that the mission in Iraq is in serious trouble.''
While Bush received seven standing ovations during his remarks to the Guard association, Kerry's speech was greeted with polite and scattered applause. His remarks on Bush's handling of the war in Iraq were met with silence.

Why would the National Guard members cheer a man who shirked his duty when his nation called, and turn a deaf ear to a man who did two tours of duty during that same period and received -- honorably -- five medals for heroism and bravery?

Why does the National Guard hate its members?
FORT DIX, N.J. -- The 635 soldiers of a battalion of the South Carolina National Guard scheduled to depart Sunday for a year or more in Iraq have spent their off-duty hours under a disciplinary lockdown in their barracks for the past two weeks.

The trouble began Labor Day weekend, when 13 members of the 1st Battalion of the 178th Field Artillery Regiment went AWOL, mainly to see their families again before shipping out. Then there was an ugly confrontation between members of the battalion's Alpha and Charlie batteries -- the term artillery units use instead of "companies" -- that threatened to turn into a brawl involving three dozen soldiers, and required the base police to intervene.


This Guard unit was put on an accelerated training schedule -- giving the soldiers about 36 hours of leave over the past two months -- because the Army needs to get fresh troops to Iraq, and there are not enough active-duty or "regular" troops to go around. Preparation has been especially intense because the Army is short-handed on military police units, so these artillerymen are being quickly re-trained to provide desperately needed security for convoys. And to fully man the unit, scores of soldiers were pulled in from different Guard outfits, some voluntarily, some on orders.

As members of the unit looked toward their tour, some said they were angry, or reluctant to go, or both. Many more are bone-tired. Overall, some of them fear, the unit lacks strong cohesion -- the glue that holds units together in combat.

"Our morale isn't high enough for us to be away for 18 months," said Pfc. Joshua Garman, 20, who, in civilian life, works in a National Guard recruiting office. "I think a lot of guys will break down in Iraq." Asked if he is happy that he volunteered for the deployment, Garman said, "Negative. No time off? I definitely would not have volunteered."

And those jackasses that gave Bush seven standing ovations for reciting platitudes and snubbed John Kerry for telling them the truth have the nerve call themselves patriots?

YT wishes each and every one of them would be deployed to Iraq. We'd see just how loud they clap for Bush then, wouldn't we.


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