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Monday, February 19, 2007

SPEAKING OF THE NEWS...

...here's a little tidbit to show just how much the current & past administration(s) cares about the troops.

"
Behind the door of Army Spc. Jeremy Duncan's room, part of the wall is torn and hangs in the air, weighted down with black mold. When the wounded combat engineer stands in his shower and looks up, he can see the bathtub on the floor above through a rotted hole. Signs of neglect are everywhere in the building, which was constructed between the world wars: mouse droppings, belly-up cockroaches, stained carpets, cheap mattresses.

This is the world of Building 18, not the kind of place where Duncan expected to recover when he was evacuated to Walter Reed Army Medical Center from Iraq last February with a broken neck and a shredded left ear, nearly dead from blood loss. But the old lodge, just outside the gates of the hospital, has housed hundreds of maimed soldiers recuperating from injuries suffered in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

On the worst days, soldiers say they feel as if they are living a chapter of "Catch-22." The wounded manage other wounded. Soldiers dealing with psychological disorders of their own have been put in charge of others at risk of suicide.

Disengaged clerks, unqualified platoon sergeants and overworked case managers fumble with simple needs: feeding soldiers' families who are close to poverty, replacing a uniform torn off by medics in the desert sand or helping a brain-damaged soldier remember his next appointment.

"We've done our duty. We fought the war. We came home wounded. Fine. But whoever the people are back here who are supposed to give us the easy transition should be doing it," said Marine Sgt. Ryan Groves, 26, an amputee who lived at Walter Reed for 16 months. "We don't know what to do. The people who are supposed to know don't have the answers. It's a nonstop process of stalling."
read entire report here


Telll me again how the troops are getting everything they need, how the troops are being cared for and how much the current & past admin(s) shows(ed) their {cough, cough} 'support' of the troops.

~~~~~Forever A Facetious Pain~~~~~
~~~~Smile, it confuses people~~~~

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is indeed very sad if it is all that true. BUT, this took years and years to erode and if you took a look at it during Clinton's term it was probably the same way. The government is notoriously lame in dealing with paperwork and what needs to be done. It had nothing to do with Bush. In order to be a federal government worker you must first have a bad attitude, be lazy and incompetent. (For most thats true... ever try to get something done with a federal govt office?)But, Muse, if you want to cry its all Bush's fault.. go for it.. if it makes you feel better. I never thought you really cared for truth anyway. Some of you people forget it takes senate and house to get things done, but it makes you feel good to use Bush as a whipping boy lol You are much like Isabellah, Muse; you jump on whatever bandwagon suits your fancy for the day.

Now, who was it that said they were all gung ho for a national healthcare system? No thanks! This is what would happen to each of us if we had the government run our healthcare.

Facetious Muse said...

Actually I find myself in agreement with you in part. I would not be surprised if the exact same things would have happened under Clinton.

This thread truly is not meant as a Bush bash, I really do feel strongly about our military men and women and the treatment they recieve.

Our military men and women should always have what they need on the field and when they come home. I don't care what party is in control, these men and women volunteer to keep our freedoms and to protect our country and they should be treated with the upmost respect (excluding any assholes you come across in all walks of life).

I find it inexcusable that out girls and boys and their families are not getting what they need, someone needs to come up to bat for our troops and I don't care what party they are from.

Carry on

Facetious Muse said...

Ooppps typo alert!!!

"I find it inexcusable that (our) girls and boys and their families are not getting what they need,"

Sorry about that guys

Jay156 said...

you meant men and women right? It does little good to demand respect for our soldiers and then turn around and call them girls and boys

Jay156 said...

and BTW, you did mean it as a slam of the current administration...you said so yourself in your opening line...Maybe read your own blog before expecting others to comment on it?

Anonymous said...

So, Muse, do you think the house and senate should put up the money to support the troops that will be going over? Bush does not need their permission to send them, but will they show the troops they are the hypocrits we know they are or put up the money to take care of them? You see, its up to congress and senate to correct things like you described in your blog and financially support our troops. Not the President per say. Will lawmakers vote for it and then say they didnt? Lets see what they are made of.

Facetious Muse said...

Yes jay, I said current admin which btw includes dems as well as reps and has. It was not only reps that voted to go to Iraq, in case you have forgotten.

Jay, also as you have seen no one (until they read this comment) agreed with your BS statement that I was disrespecting our troops by saying our boys and girls. If that is disrespecting the troops, I guess Bush does that on a regular basis, since he refers to the troops as boys and girls as well as men and women.

Jay, what is it with you, have you gotten so much egg on your face with every one of your failed attempts to debate with me? Is that why you have to make shit up? I mean I'm flattered you think so much of me to go through so much work, but really hun I think your time could be spent more productively.

Carry on, I can't wait to see your next insult.

Facetious Muse said...

Politicans are politicans, I don't expect them to tell me the truth, no matter what party they are from.

I haven't forgotten that dems passed the vote to go to Iraq as well as reps. I also haven't forgotten how most of them said they were fooled, tricked, etc.. When in reality, they just didn't read it, they couldn't be bothered or they were (at that time) in agreement with going to Iraq.

That is one of the perks of not belonging to a party, you don't have to agree with an action just because your party does.

As far as sending the money for a surge in Iraq, all I have to say, is when during this war has the troops gotten everything they needed? Since it is pretty obviously I'm ticked off about the troops not recieving what they need, what do you think? Do you think I would be against any of the troops getting funding so they have what they need to be safe?

Now is this me saying I agree with being in Iraq, NO it doesn't. Although from my understanding, if Congress does not approve funding for a surge, there won't be a surge; if that is the case, I want Congress to deny the funding. And if Bush would choose to send more troops without funding, what type of president does that make him? What message would that send to the troops?

Carry on

*As a side note ~Vietnam was stopped by Congress refusing to futher fund Vietnam War.

Facetious Muse said...

BTW I said in my thread current admin NOT Bush

Bush is NOT the entire admin.

Carry on

~~~~~~SMILES~~~~~~

Jay156 said...

Muse,

I had to stop laughing hard enough to type my response...LOL, I'm still hardy har harring over your lame response.....

Let's examine your pathetic attempt at covering your ass....No one, but no one, ever refers to congress as "the administration" The term applies to the presidency. You never hear someone say the "Democratic congressional leadership administration" now do you? No, you don't. But, by now, everyone here knows you dwell in the land of bullshit.

Anonymous said...

I'm beginning to think Muse is Isabellah. You can tell shes a liberal by the way she has no faith in her beliefs. She makes a statement and then wont back it up.

OF COURSE you meant Bush by saying "this administration", Muse. Nice side step though.

Your views are all over the place. Get a backbone and stand by your views. Oh, wait.... then you would be a Republican. LMAOLMAO

Anonymous said...

What does it say about congress that wont fund more troops to get the job done and help the troops that are already there? It says their views and political positioning are more important than the troops needs. This is just one facet of the picture. We cannot just pull up and leave Iraq at this time. So, by not sending in more troops to help the ones who are working their butts off in Iraq now, the lawmakers are not supporting the troops already there. They care more about going against anything Bush does than to do what's right. Period.

And, Muse, no one agrees with an action of their party just because they align themselves with that party. Wake up! Maybe thats your whole problem in a nutshell. You have this belief that conservatives agree with everything Bush says and does. What a blind idiot you are. Is that the meaning of liberal? Blind idiot? LOL

Anonymous said...

http://www.voanews.com/english/2007-02-21-voa66.cfm

This isn't strictly a political problem. Walter Reed is a military facility and as such, the military bears an enormous burden of responsibility for the conditions at Walter Reed. While the military certainly takes its orders from the Executive and Congressional branches of government, they also have a responsibility to be proactive in their demands for adequate funding to care for and equip their own. There is PLENTY of blame to go around. By no means did Building 18 or any of the other less than acceptable facilities at Walter Reed deteriorate to this point over the past 7 year period. Frankly, I don't care who fixes the problem as long as it's expedient, but it will be interesting to watch the pols jumping in. I'm sure they're donning their blue tights and red capes as I type this to champion the plight of our wounded recuperating military - NOW THAT IT'S COME UNDER PUBLIC SCRUTINY.

Facetious Muse said...

. By no means did Building 18 or any of the other less than acceptable facilities at Walter Reed deteriorate to this point over the past 7 year period. Frankly, I don't care who fixes the problem as long as it's expedient

I'm in total agreement with you on this.

Anonymous said...

muse is actually referring to congress as "the administration"?
BWAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHA
Well muse ... if you're accusing "the administration" (congress in your mind) of ignoring the troops and their needs, then blame the DEMOCRATIC congress.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA
LMAOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
LOLOLOLOLOLOL
ROFLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL

Facetious Muse said...

Do you have a problem reading? I know damn well Bush is not the only one to blame for the conditions in walter Reeds. Is it so hard for your dumbass to understand that I don't worship the dems?

As far as this BS shit stirrung attempt I am done. I am not even going to bother to reply to any comments that are just BS drama and insults.

To be quiet honest with ya dumbasses (you know who you are) ya all are no longer worth my time.

Now watch how many little anonydumbasses come and attack now. lol

I will continue writing here as well as on the other blogs I belong to, I'm just not going to play any more games with the dumbass, insultive, immature, whining brats.

Now ya all carry on with your little insults, ya'll have shown and proven what little minds you have. There is no point in me continuing to try to have a debate with dumbasses.

To everyone else that isn't an immature dumbass, I look forward to many more debates with ya.

Now carry on little dumbasses(again I say, you know who you are)

~~~~~~Forever A Facetious Pain~~~~~
~~~~~Smile, it confuses people~~~~~

Anonymous said...

A MUST SEE FLABBY LADY AT HER BEST SEE THE VIDEO HERE AT Paltalk Tattle Tale Videos

Facetious Muse said...

As a side note, there was in fact a democrat hidden within the Bush admin till 2006. Wonder who knows who that was.

~~~~~~Forever A Facetious Pain~~~~~
~~~~~~Smile, it confuses people~~~~

always thinking you can best me
ROFLMAO

Anonymous said...

That would be Norman Yoshio Mineta. Interesting fact about Mineta;

During the September 11, 2001 attacks, Mineta issued an order to ground all civilian aircraft traffic for the first time in U.S. history.

Mineta's testimony to the 9/11 Commission about his experience in the Presidential Emergency Operating Center with vice president Cheney as American Airlines flight 77 approached the Pentagon was not included in the 9/11 Commission Report, however it has attracted attention for its content. Mineta stated to the Commission:

"There was a young man who had come in and said to the vice president, 'The plane is 50 miles out. The plane is 30 miles out.' And when it got down to, 'The plane is 10 miles out,' the young man also said to the vice president, 'Do the orders still stand?' And the vice president turned and whipped his neck around and said, 'Of course the orders still stand. Have you heard anything to the contrary?' Well, at the time I didn't know what all that meant. And--"
After hearing of Mineta's orders, Canadian Transport Minister David Collenette also issued orders to ground all civilian aircraft traffic across North America, resulting in Operation Yellow Ribbon. On September 21, 2001, Mineta sent a letter to all U.S. airlines forbidding them from practicing racial profiling; or subjecting Middle Eastern or Muslim passengers to a heightened degree of pre-flight scrutiny. He stated that it was illegal for the airlines to discriminate against passengers based on their race, color, national or ethnic origin or religion. Subsequently, administrative enforcement actions were brought against three different airlines based on alleged contraventions of these rules, resulting in multi-million dollar settlements.


What do I get, do I get a prize?

vacreeper2003 said...

This is not surprising - during the Clinton Administration, Jay and you anonynuts, the entire DoD spent Billion$ and Billion$ on quality-of-life programs - new family housing, GIs living in dormitories no longer had roommates, new dorms were built, asbestos was removed from older buildings (finally), education benefits were improved, chow-halls were improved, MWR (that's Moral, Welfare & Recreation to you Loofah Warriors) facilities were expanded/improved, base services were made more efficient, life-insurance policies were increased, pay increased (please keep in mind George Bush has NEVER given the military a pay raise - all the pay raises we have received are the result of a bill PRESIDENT CLINTON signed into law in 2000), medical care improved, entitlements and allowances improved.

George "I'm an AWOL Chimp" Bush ended all of that. He ordered an end to quality-of-life programs citing budget constraints and the costs of his illegal war against Iraq. I've been to WRMC many times as a child and as a military member - I've never heard of the conditions this post mentions. Also, keep in mind, the military medical industry has contracted out many of the services once monitored by the military environmental health folks - contracted out to civilians with one thing on their mind, and it certainly isn't providing quality care for our GIs - quality is too expensive for these money-mongering defense contractors.

Bush IS responsible for the decline in quality-of-life programs - he cut the funding to them - funding that Bill Clinton provided. But of course if craven coward-ass Jay and his company of anonynuts had the balls to step up and join the war effort they wish on others, they would know this. But they would rather sit back and scratch their asses while other people do the dying and comment on military life as if they know all about it.

A goddamn coward is lower than a child molester.

Anonymous said...

Thank God military heatlhcare was contracted out. Its been widely known for years that if you have more than a cold you better go to a civilian doctor or you will die in the care of military doctors.

Just look at Vacreeper... he sought psychological care from the military and look where he is now!

Anonymous said...

By SETH BORENSTEIN, AP Science Writer
56 minutes ago



WASHINGTON - Many Iraq war soldiers, veterans and their families are not getting needed psychological help because a stressed military's mental health system is overwhelmed and understaffed, a task force of psychologists found.

The panel's 67-page report calls for the immediate strengthening of the military mental health system. It cites a 40 percent vacancy rate in active duty psychologists in the Army and Navy, resources diverted from family counselors and a weak transition for veterans leaving the military.

The findings were released Sunday by the American Psychological Association.

More than three out of 10 soldiers met the criteria for a "mental disorder," but far less than half of those in need sought help, the report found. Sometimes that's because of the stigma of having mental health problems, other times the help simply wasn't available, according to the task force. And there are special difficulties in getting help to National Guard and Reserve troops, who have been used heavily in Iraq, the report said.

The special task force found no evidence of a "well-coordinated or well-disseminated approach to providing behavioral health care to service members and their families."

The psychology task force, chaired by an active military psychologist and comprised of psychologists working for the military or Veterans Administration, said "relatively few high-quality" mental health programs exist in the military now.

"There are tremendous needs; the system is stressed by these needs," said pediatric psychologist Jeanne Hoffman, a task force member and a civilian pediatric psychologist at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu.

The Defense Department's mental health experts hadn't read the report. Pentagon spokeswoman Cynthia Smith said the military is proud of its mental health services record, including a new program this year that checks up on service members after they return home to their families.

"For the past four years, DOD has been aggressively reaching out to support our military personnel before and after deployments. This is unprecedented," Smith said in an e-mail to The Associated Press. "We have assessed the health, including the mental health of more than 1 million service members before and after deployments. We have worked with their families and others to address mental health concerns associated with deployments and with war."

One of the major problems is that four out of 10 "active duty licensed clinical psychologist" slots in the Army and Navy are not filled, a problem worsened by the dire need to send mental health experts into war zones, the report said.

That high vacancy rate has several side effects. One is that the psychologists left are overwhelmed, the report said. It found that one-third of Army mental health personnel reported "high burn out" and 27 percent reported "low motivation for their work."

Because of the shortage, there are even fewer stateside therapists to help families of those deployed and to help returning soldiers readjust, the report found.

Hoffman, the pediatric psychologist, said she's seen children regress on toilet training, have severe headaches, stomach pains, and suffer in school because of the stress of having a parent deployed.

And for soldiers and veterans returning home, only 10 to 20 percent of the military's mental health experts are trained to help those with post-traumatic stress disorder, the report found.

"I know guys that are waiting for appointments," said Russell Terry, chief executive officer of the Iraq War Veterans Organization. "I know guys who are dealing with doctors who have no concept of PTSD."

Terry was on the phone with an Iraq war veteran last year when the vet killed himself.

Report co-chair Michelle Sherman, a psychologist at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Oklahoma City, said the military and VA are "working very hard to meet the needs" of those returning from Iraq.

At VA headquarters, Antonette Zeiss, deputy chief consultant in the agency's office of mental health services, said the report "misses the mark by quite a way." She said her agency didn't have "an opportunity to present data (to the panel) about what the VA is really doing."

Sherman said the panel did seek data from the VA, but when asked if the agency provided information to the psychologists' panel, she said: "I'm not supposed to answer that question."

Zeiss said the VA has been increasing spending on mental health services yearly, opening new centers and hiring more psychological professionals.

"We have the strongest mental health system in the country and we are making it stronger," she said.

But veterans groups disagree.

"The system as it exists today ignores the readjustment needs specific to Iraq and Afghanistan service members," Veterans for America President Bobby Muller said in a statement. "We have to stop throwing money at a problem that requires a complete overhaul. The system is broken."

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070225/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/iraq_mental_health

FRisson1 said...

Our local VHA in Fresno, CA the only VHA facility located in a 350 mile long valley has a 3 month wait for an intake interview in their Mental Health Department. Many people in my area have to drive 100 miles or more just to go to a routine medical appointment.

The Fresno VHA was built in 1950 and 157 authorized beds and 60 GECU beds. The area serviced had a population of 3,413,000 in 2000 with an estimation of as much as a 14% - 20% increase in population in the last 7 years and is still increasing.

The State of California is home to more than three million veterans (This was before the invasion of Iraq), the largest state veteran population in America.

In August 2002, legislation was signed authorizing five new veterans homes in Lancaster, Saticoy, Los Angeles, Shasta County and Fresno County. Two new units for veterans with Alzheimer's are slated for the Los Angeles and Yountville homes. These are not under construction at the present time.

Congressman Tim Walz (MN-01)
Budget Committee Testimony
Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Mr. Chairman, I am here today to discuss veterans' priorities within this budget from my perspective as a 24 year veteran of the Army National Guard and the son of a Korean War veteran. Last week, the President released his FY2008 budget request for the Department of Veterans Affairs, and while I am pleased to see at least slight increases in some important areas, the majority of his budget request leaves me deeply concerned. During his 2002 State of the Union speech, this President spoke of the need to care for our nation's veterans. He went so far as to ask Congress to "approve an historic increase in spending for veterans' health."

Since then, Mr. Chairman, the President has not followed through on his promises to America's veterans. In fact, President Bush has not mentioned veterans' issues in his last four State of the Union addresses. And in 2005, only a few short years after his 2002 promise to fund an historic increase in veterans' health care, the Department of Veterans Affairs was left so dangerously underfunded that Congress had to appropriate an emergency fund of $1 billion to keep the doors of our VA clinics and hospitals open.

This year, in his FY2008 budget request, the President has again placed veterans far too low on his list of priorities, underfunding VA medical care by $3.5 billion over five years. The President has requested a 6 percent increase in funding for VA medical care which is wholly inadequate. While certainly an improvement over his .4 percent increase request in FY2006, the FY2008 request does not meet the needs of a rapidly growing number of new veterans needing VA medical care, coupled with rapidly escalating health care costs. As a practical matter, that means that the VA will not be able to provide the care that our nation's retired servicemen and women are entitled to. You don't have to take my word for it: this request is a full 6.7 percent below the recommendation of the Independent Budget, a report put out by a group of veterans' service organizations.

Mr. Chairman, you don't need me to read you the statistics. What I need to express to this committee is the human impact of these budgetary decisions. It is not acceptable for us to exclude entire classes of veterans from the VA system. The men and women we call Priority 8 veterans served this country in the same ways other veterans did. The lack of a combat injury is no excuse for excluding them from the health care system they were promised access to. Barring 1.6 million veterans from their own health care system is unfair and unacceptable.

Mr. Chairman, the President's budget request proposes increased co-payments on prescription drugs and new enrollment fees for priority 7 and 8 veterans. These fees will drive out the veterans who need the system most, adding to the 47 million Americans who now lack health insurance.

If fees don't drive our veterans out, access to care just might. In my district, there are less than a half dozen primary care veterans clinics in operation. Mr. Chairman, my district is 300 miles wide - it stretches from the border of South Dakota to the border of Wisconsin. Veterans from my district who need more than a regular physical must charter vans through their Veterans Service Officers in order to make the drive to the VA Hospital in Minneapolis. A three hour ride is an excessive hardship, only made worse by the fact that this President is asking our veterans to pay more for those services when they finally arrive at the hospital. We can do better.

Mr. Chairman, the President's FY2008 budget request for the Department of Veterans Affairs represents the wrong priorities for our nation's veterans. However, the responsibility to do right by veterans does not lie with the President alone. We, the United States Congress, have the solemn responsibility and duty to create a budget that fulfills the promises we made to those who served.

We are responsible for caring for those who gave of themselves in years past and to care for those who are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan in the future. The President's budget asks for only minimal increases in mental health services for Iraqi veterans despite recent studies that show 1 in 6 soldiers in Iraq report symptoms of depression, serious anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder. At a time when the VA expects to treat 5.8 million patients, including 263,000 veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan in the coming year, it is Congress' duty to increase funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs and specifically to increase funding for both research into and treatment of the mental health conditions that plague many of our veterans.

At a time when Harvard University and the American Customer Satisfaction Index are recognizing the VA for its quality medical care, it is Congress' duty to ensure the VA does not veer from this upward trend and that it continues to improve not only quality of care but access to care.

At a time when our VA system is straining under the weight of both an aging veterans population and an entirely new group of veterans returning from the War on Terrorism, we must ensure funding matches not just monetary inflation but also the inflation in the number of veterans eligible for service.

Mr. Chairman, I am here today to ask you to help fulfill this duty by increasing the President's request for veterans' programs. The President's $86.75 billion request is simply not enough. As a veteran and the descendent of a long line of men who served this country, I can say with authority that properly funding our VA system does more than just provide veterans with the health care they were promised. Properly funding our VA ensures a new generation of soldiers will enlist and it helps to keep our communities both physically and economically healthy.
Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I want to know why some think that their plight is the only hardship there is. The VA funding comes from congress. The VA system did not start deteriorating beginning in 2001 when Bush was sworn into office, but you liberals love to blame bush for anything and everything you can think of. It is the job of lawmakers to fund the budget. Why dont you cry to some of those congressmen and senators who have been in office for years and years such as your beloved liberal Ted Kennedy why the VA is in the state its in?

Again, you are blinded by the violin strings frisson.

vacreeper2003 said...

Military doctors are just as talented as civilian doctors - they are simply overworked compared to civilian doctors. The driving rationale for contracting out to civilian specialists was due to the cost of procuring and maintaining state-of-the-art medical/laboratory equipment - it's simply cheaper for the government to send a GI down to a local hospital/clinic to have an MRI or for major surgeries. It had NOTHING to do with the quality of the care provided by military doctors.

Anonynut deviates from the point of the post - that the Bush administration has allowed military medicine to deteriorate. He sends our GIs to war, they get all beat up, and then the Smirk doesn't want to provide them with the quality medical care they were promised. It's typical of our AWOL CINC - he doesn't care one iota about the troops: never has, never will.

And the troops know it!

Anonymous said...

Again, vacreeper you idiot. the VA services didnt start to deteroriate when bush took office. And yes, its well known that military health care quality is less than adequate because of the quality of doctors. If you cant hack it in private practice, you join the military. Its common knowledge that military healthcare is crappy. Oh, but it was that way before Bush took office so you cant blame ignorance of doctors on him... but I know you will try. In your mind, the world began when Bush took office, and all things bad with the world are his fault. Open your eyes, idiots. Its easy to blame someone for problems, but to blame the right person takes some thought.

Anonymous said...

To the previous anonymous...you are a stupid fuckhead. I can't believe people like you know how to operate a pc. You need a good smack up side the head to wake your stupid ass up. Protect your traitor Bush you scumbag.

Anonymous said...

Army Units Skip Training in Rush to Iraq
By ROBERT BURNS
AP
WASHINGTON (Feb. 27) - Rushed by President Bush 's decision to reinforce Baghdad with thousands more U.S. troops, two Army combat brigades are skipping their usual session at the Army's premier training range in California and instead are making final preparations at their home bases.
Some in Congress and others outside the Army are beginning to question the switch, which is not widely known. They wonder whether it means the Army is cutting corners in preparing soldiers for combat, since they are forgoing training in a desert setting that was designed specially to prepare them for the challenges of Iraq .

Army officials say the two brigades will be as ready as any others that deploy to Iraq, even though they will not have the benefit of training in counterinsurgency tactics at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., which has been outfitted to simulate conditions in Iraq for units that are heading there on yearlong tours.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said Monday she is concerned about the "less-than-ideal training situation" for the 4th Stryker Brigade of the 2nd Infantry Division, which is based in her state and is one of the two brigades that did its final training at home. That brigade is to go to Iraq in April, one month earlier than planned.

The other is the 2nd Brigade of the 3rd Infantry Division, based at Fort Stewart, Ga., which is due to go in May for its third combat tour since the war began in 2003. Instead of going to the National Training Center first, it imported personnel and equipment - even Toyota pickups like those used by Iraqi insurgents - from the training center at Fort Irwin for two weeks of final rehearsals that begin Wednesday.

Anonymous said...

contd...

A spokesman for the brigade, Lt. Col. Randy Martin, said the soldiers lose nothing by the switch, while shaving about two weeks off their pre-deployment training schedule.

"It's realistic training," he said. "I don't think that anyone would say readiness is affected" negatively. He noted that another brigade from his division underwent similar home-station training before it deployed in January.

"The preferred method is to have them come here," a spokesman at the National Training Center, John Wagstaffe, said in a telephone interview Monday. The main things that cannot be replicated in a home station exercise are the vast spaces of the National Training Center, which is located in the Mojave Desert, and the weather and other environmental conditions that so closely resemble much of Iraq, Wagstaffe said.

"Your weapon won't jam from sand at Fort Stewart," he said.

Murray said she does not doubt the ability of soldiers to adapt.

"They have done everything we have asked of them," she said. "However, I am deeply troubled by the president's escalation plan and am committed to questioning the new demands it places on service members."

Anonymous said...

contd....

On a visit to the brigade's home station at Fort Lewis last week, Murray asked the top commander there, Lt. Gen. James Dubik, whether the soldiers' preparation for Iraq was adequate without going to the National Training Center, according to a Fort Lewis spokesman, Lt. Col. Dan Williams, who said he attended Dubik's meeting with Murray.

Dubik assured her it was, William said. The general told her he was confident "that they were ready to go" to Iraq even if they had not had 1,300 soldiers imported from the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk to play the role of Iraqi insurgents and civilians and to observe and control the mission rehearsal exercise.

"They went through all the things they know they're going to do in Iraq," Williams said.

Some outside observers say it was inevitable that, in a pinch, the Army would tinker with training.

"It tracks with what we should expect when we hurry the units up in their last three months" before a deployment, said Kevin Ryan, a retired brigadier general and former Army planner who is now at Harvard University's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Army commanders are compelled to make "economies," he added, when an accelerated deployment plan forces them to compress some aspects of training.
Ryan said he doubts this approach will significantly detract from the soldiers' degree of preparation for Iraq.

"'Adequate' is probably a good description of what that training is," he said. "It's not the premier kind of situation that commanders would prefer, but it is adequate." Daniel Goure, a military analyst at the Lexington Institute, a think tank, said, "This shouldn't have a decisive impact, although it carries a modicum of risk."

The two units that are skipping their National Training Center sessions are among five Army brigades that are being dispatched to Baghdad on an sped-up schedule as the centerpiece of Bush's new approach to stabilizing Iraq.

The first to go, in January, was an 82nd Airborne brigade specially designated for short-notice deployments; it did no full-scale final exercise before deploying to Kuwait and then into Iraq.

The next two, from Fort Benning, Ga., and Fort Riley, Kan., did their final training sessions at the National Training Center. The unit from Fort Riley is entering Iraq now and the other is due to arrive in March.

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