God's Politics

God's Politics


Jim Wallis: Untrained and Ill-equipped

posted by gp_intern

Two stories in the news are more evidence for what I recently called a criminal escalation of an unjust war. The war in Iraq has so stretched the U.S. military that the escalation now initiated by President Bush means troops with inadequate training and short of the necessary supplies are being rushed into a situation for which they are not prepared. The Washington Post reported:

Boosting U.S. troop levels in Iraq by 21,500 would create major logistical hurdles for the Army and Marine Corps, which are short thousands of vehicles, armor kits and other equipment needed to supply the extra forces, U.S. officials said. The increase would also further degrade the readiness of U.S.-based ground forces, hampering their ability to respond quickly, fully trained and well equipped in the case of other military contingencies around the world and increasing the risk of U.S. casualties.

The story goes on to quote Lt. Gen. Stephen Speakes, the Army’s deputy chief of staff for force development: “We can fulfill the national strategy, but it will take more time and it will also take us increased casualties to do the job.” As of today, there are 3,076 confirmed U.S. casualties.

Rep. John Murtha, a strong opponent of the war in the House of Representatives, testified last week to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee:

At the beginning of the Iraq war, 80 percent of ALL Army units and almost 100 percent of active combat units were rated at the highest state of readiness. Today, virtually all of our active-duty combat units at home and ALL of our guard units are at the lowest state of readiness, primarily due to equipment shortages resulting from repeated and extended deployments to Iraq.

To put the human face on the numbers, another story in the Post made it real. Soldier’s Death Strengthens Senators’ Antiwar Resolve:

Just before Christmas, an Army captain named Brian Freeman cornered Sens. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.) and John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) at a Baghdad helicopter landing zone. The war was going badly, he told them. Troops were stretched so thin they were doing tasks they never dreamed of, let alone trained for. Freeman, 31, took a short holiday leave to see his 14-month-old daughter and 2-year-old son, returned to his base in Karbala, Iraq, and less than two weeks ago died in a hail of bullets and grenades.

Capt. Freeman had served a five-year term of active duty and then moved into the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR), former soldiers who are not assigned to a specific unit. In 2005, he was recalled to duty. The story continued, quoting his wife:

Once in Iraq, Freeman was dismayed to find that his training “had no relation to what they were actually doing,” Charlotte Freeman said. “He was appalled,” enduring danger but seeing no clear mission,” she said. … Late last year, Freeman approached the senators at Landing Zone Washington, in Baghdad’s Green Zone, “almost out of the shadows,” Dodd recalled. Even though he felt nervous, he told his wife later, he delivered his message with urgency. Soldiers were being deployed to do missions that they were utterly untrained to do; Freeman, for example, an armor officer, had been sent to help foster democracy and rebuild an Iraqi civil society.

Every day, the devastating human cost of this war continues to mount on every side. I would hope that those who still support the war and Bush’s “surge” could agree that at the very least, our men and women in uniform should not be sent untrained and unequipped to be slaughtered on the streets of Baghdad.



Advertisement
Comments read comments(28)
post a comment
Wolverine

posted January 31, 2007 at 5:48 pm


Jim Wallis wrote: Every day, the devastating human cost of this war continues to mount on every side. I would hope that those who still support the war and Bush’s “surge” could agree that at the very least, our men and women in uniform should not be sent untrained and unequipped to be slaughtered on the streets of Baghdad. So Jim, does this mean we can count on your support for increased military expenditures? After all, the Democrats cannot bring themselves to defund the war, and you don’t seem to be all that concerned about their failure to do so. If we’re going to do the surge, may as well do it right. Wolverine



report abuse
 

Payshun

posted January 31, 2007 at 6:47 pm


But Wolverine, In order to do it right it would take about 100,000 more soldiers than bush ordered. He’s still trying to do this on the cheap. If anything Congress should slap this president. I wish they would put conditions on the funds. At least then we could get them out. p



report abuse
 

Paul

posted January 31, 2007 at 7:47 pm


For a more thoughtful perspective without the hyperbole: http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110009597 cheers, Paul



report abuse
 

Kris Weinschenker

posted January 31, 2007 at 9:54 pm


While the troops in Iraq may indeed be “ill-equiped”, I have to take exception with the assertion they are “untrained”. The American Army is the best trained force in the world, with the possible exception of the Israelis.



report abuse
 

Mike Hayes

posted February 1, 2007 at 2:06 am


Supporters of the values in “God’s politics”, http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/organizationsORG/justforeignpolicy.org/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=6507is a letter to your members of congress asking them to support resolutions opposing an expansion of war to Iran.



report abuse
 

Pacific231

posted February 1, 2007 at 3:29 am


Wolverine’s post is a sobering reminder that those who are dyed-in-the-red-wool ideological supporters of The Worst President Ever will continue to support him and this fraudulent, hideous war…NO MATTER HOW MANY PEOPLE LIKE BRIAN FREEMAN DIE IN IT. It is SICK.



report abuse
 

kevin s.

posted February 1, 2007 at 3:45 am


Thanks for the observation, Pacific. On an unrelated note, what’s the over/under on Jim Wallis’ first substantive criticism aimed at a Democrat coming in response to Sen. Biden’s remarks about Sen. Obama?



report abuse
 

Mike Hayes

posted February 1, 2007 at 3:52 am


Let’s get back on topic… “…Every day, the devastating human cost of this war continues to mount on every side. I would hope that those who still support the war and Bush’s “surge” could agree that at the very least, our men and women in uniform should not be sent untrained and unequipped to be slaughtered on the streets of Baghdad…”.



report abuse
 

Mike Hayes

posted February 1, 2007 at 4:07 am


To send a message to any one of your elected officials (president or vice president, members of congress, governor, members of your state legislature) consider the following service of the conservative group “Focus on the Family”: http://vocusgr.vocus.com/GRSPACE2/WebPublish/controller.aspx?SiteName=FOTF&Definition=Home&XSL=Home&SV_Section=Home There, enter your nine digit zip code and click on “Contact” for the elected official you wish to inform of your views. Then enter your message and send it. If you are uncertain of your nine digit zip code go to http://zip4.usps.com/zip4/welcome.jsp and enter your address.



report abuse
 

Mike Hayes

posted February 1, 2007 at 4:18 am


While you are visiting the “Citizen Link” service provided through a link from the “Focus on the Family” website, you might look around and get a sense of the partisan nature of the viewpoints they express. Then consider the fact that an Episcopal church in California is under investigation for violation of the prohibition against endorsing candidates, relative to the war in Iraq. The separate organization under “Focus on the Family” known as “Citizen Link” is not tax exempt and therefore can be partisan. Ought there be a counter to the views expressed on “Focus on the Family” and its separate service known as “Citizen Link”? Welcome to the services provided by Sojourners!



report abuse
 

kevin s.

posted February 1, 2007 at 5:13 am


Mike, I don’t understand your point. You may retain your tax-exempt status if you favor policies, but you may not if you are endorsing candidates. That is how the law works. Don’t like the law? Vote for those who will change it. One representative (a Republican) proposed a law to allow churches to endorse candidates. I don’t know what happened to that.



report abuse
 

Ms. Cynthia

posted February 1, 2007 at 1:14 pm


George didn’t have the courage to announce the “Surge” before Christmas and for good reason.I see that we are being blackmailed into starting a draft in 2008 by putting fatigued soldiers on the ground. Then we will have lots of young people over in Iraq who are not properly trained. Its called on the job straining.The American Army is the the best trained army in the world for fighting a two sided war. They have everything they need for “Search and destroy”.Is that what we are doing in Iraq? No! It wouldn’t be appropriate. It would get us tried for war crimes for sure. How many sides did you say this conflict has? 3,6 8? I’ve stopped counting. Add to that they are not supposed to harm civilians while searching for the enemy. Sound familiar? What our guys are saying is: “We were not trained to be referees!!! in a free for all. They are weary of being used as the football in this game. Sending a surge into Iraq. Its exactly what the enemy ordered. Kerry told us what we couldn’t stand to hear. What was his solution? To go in with more troops. Troops that would be drafted and reluctant not to mention unprepared. It’s bad enough that we are confusing the talented people that we have there now. That is precisely why Kerry is not running in this race. American families are in no mood for sending the generation of youngsters that are in their midst to be in a live version of the virtual war games they are playing on their PCs.The job of referee is for diplomats not soldiers. Our State Dept is now loosing staff because they are not allowed to do their jobs either. Every time they attempt to get something done, some little guy behind the curtain meddles with the details. Now who could that be? We are not in Kansas any more Toto. Or is it: THE FORCE BE WITH YOU. Lets loose some more communications equipment to the enemy!! After all its not doing our guys any good. The enemy knows more about what is going on than they do. This president isn’t going to tell them what is really going on either. George has already announced that he has plans to pass this fiasco on to the next guy we elect. Will that administration have any choices left by the time we get there in 2008? I will be absolutely livid if that administration has no other alternative than to start up the draft again before we can find our way back home.



report abuse
 

butch

posted February 1, 2007 at 6:25 pm


Ms Cynthia please don’t think I like the idea of a draft but consider what we have now. A mercenary army; paid volunteers. A mercenary army in the hands of politicians, someone is going to get hurt, without accountability. As much as I hate the idea of the draft it is the only way to make us all accountable for the actions of politicians. If we had a draft at the time the question of going to Iraq would have been considered more carefully. I think the question is and always will be the actions of politicians.



report abuse
 

richpierce

posted February 1, 2007 at 6:38 pm


The “Surge” is a political ploy. Here’s how it works: Bush and his advisors have put us in an unwinnable war that is unjust and unsupported. They have two options. They could admit that the problem is theirs and take responsibility and ask for help in coming to a solution. The other option is to put forth the “Surge” is generating a lot of opposition. Then the White House can declare now that all who oppose the Surge are unpatriotic, don’t support our troops, and don’t have a nother solution for the quagmire the White House crated. Then, when the Surge is blocked, they can state “We would have won it, but the Democratic-controlled Congress wouldn’t let us.” This is pure politics with no sense of responsibility or moral basis. It’s just focusing all energy on having an escape plan- for the White House.



report abuse
 

cs

posted February 1, 2007 at 7:28 pm


Jim, You’re quote, attributed to Gen. Speakes, doesn’t exist in the linked Washington Post article. There is an earlier mention of the risk of “increased casualties,” but it is not attributed to him. Did this quote come from somewhere else? What he does say here is that the up-armored Humvees are in “short supply,” but the deployed brigades would receive an “adequate” number. He indicated that to meet the need, prepositioned stocks would be drawn down, and therefore unavailable for other contingencies. Not quite the message of your post. Butch, Mercenary has typically been applied to soldiers hired into the service of another country, specifically serving for money. To my knowledge, it has never been widely applied to the voluntary service in the military of one’s own country.



report abuse
 

Paul

posted February 1, 2007 at 10:37 pm

Wolverine

posted February 2, 2007 at 2:35 am


Butch, As far as mercenaries goes, I think the late Milton Friedman put it very well when he compared volunteers to draftees. I’m quoting from memory, but it was something along the lines of “I’d rather have an army of volunteers than an army of slaves.” Wolverine



report abuse
 

Wolverine

posted February 2, 2007 at 2:41 am


Anyway, I got a big ‘ole belly laugh when Sojomail came in this morning, and the whole thing opened with: “Why were you elected? If you want a safe job, go sell shoes.”- Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), crticizing Republicans on the Foreign Relations Committee who oppose the president’s war plan, but aren’t willing to vote against it. Now Republicans are supposed to be the war party — lots of us support the war and those of us who don’t tend to see it as more a tragic miscalculation than a horrific crime against humanity. But I can think of another party — supposedly the peace party — that can’t bring itself to vote against the war, at least not when it really counts. Have any idea who that might be, Jim? Jim? Bueller? Wolverine



report abuse
 

fasternu426

posted February 2, 2007 at 3:09 am


It disturbs me that some would lose a war for political purposes. Has Jim researched who we are fighting? This is bigger than Iraq. Calling American soldiers the things I have heard here and elsewhere while excusing the murderous muslim thugs is shallow and one sided at best. Mercenaries? Some do things that you detest so you may have the freeoms they risked their lives for. This is the beginning of a bigger war to be waged later. East vs West. Christianity vs Islam. Dar al Islam and Dar al Harb.http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/



report abuse
 

fasternu426

posted February 2, 2007 at 3:50 am


When thinking how thuggish our bloodthirsty, untrained troops are in their unjust war on poor innocent Iraqis, mull this over: http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/index.html#Attacks



report abuse
 

Ms. Cynthia

posted February 2, 2007 at 11:02 am


There is a day coming when you will not be able to pay young Americans enough to go to Iraq. Who wants to continue antagonizing a people who are already in conflict with one another. Who this administration recruit next? Migrants dying for an opportunity to become American Citizens? There is much more violence being inflicted by Muslim against Muslim than toward people outside the faith. We are innocent and in some cases not so innocent by standers in a major social/spiritual/economic rupture with in the world of Islam that is historical in scope. With the onset of Industry in the Western world Christians experienced the Reformation. Up close and personal it was pretty ugly. It was political and violent. It reorganized the way Europe looks today. It would be so instructive to look back on our own history as Christians to appreciate what Muslim families and communities are going through. It is heart wrenching to watch. But we are going to have to make some better calls about how and when we get involved. We can not walk into a domestic dispute with out understanding that the main participants in this civil disruption all feel like they are the victims. Understand that those who feel that way are most at risk of becoming the bullies. We need to examine our motivations and think twice about what we expect to accomplish before we intervene. Bad choices on our part have the potential to make things worse. We have to stop thinking of ourselves as victims, namely because we are not the intended victims in these conflicts. This is not our argument. But we have the potential to do foolish things if we react that way. We would do ourselves and our children a greater service if we do more listening and understanding with out taking sides. We need to address the things we may be doing as consumers of the world’s resourses that contribute to the existing conflicts. Our soldiers go into any conflict with a lot of expensive equipment in their trucks. If things keep going badly much of this technology will end up in the wrong hands, as some of it already seems to be doing. We really need to think about what we may be leaving behind and teaching that will fall into the wrong hands and reap harmful and unintended consequences. Look what the USSR left behind in Afghanistan. Is that what we want to create? We need to be doing everything we can to minimize the consequences of our mistakes to date. Then we need to do everything we can to get all parties in this family talking again, which might require more of an effort from us than words but certaninly not adding fuel to the fire. And if that still doesn’t work we need to do what any good benevolent social worker would do. Help them get their children out of harms way!!!



report abuse
 

Wolverine

posted February 2, 2007 at 2:39 pm


For your edification, a posting from Daily Kos: Weakness in the Senateby kos Thu Feb 01, 2007 at 02:24:37 PM PST Is there anything more pathetic than Senators fighting tooth and nail over wording over a non-binding resolution that does absolutely nothing? Well, Feingold is done playing that silly game. I oppose the weak Warner-Levin resolution as currently written because it misunderstands the situation in Iraq and shortchanges our national security interests. The resolution rejects redeploying U.S. troops and supports moving a misguided military strategy from one part of Iraq to another. The American people have rejected the President s Iraq strategy and it s time for Congress to end our military involvement in this war. We must redeploy our troops from Iraq so that we can focus on the global threats that face us. Yesterday, Feingold introduced the Iraq Redeployment Act of 2007. Feingold s bill would force the President to safely redeploy U.S. troops out of Iraq by prohibiting further funding of military operations in Iraq six months after enactment.Dodd will also oppose the useless Warner-Levin amendment. Dodd, D-Conn., became the second Democrat to say he would vote against the measure. Sen. Russell Feingold, D-Wisc., is also against the bill, which is expected to be debated in the Senate next week. Dodd’s central argument was that a non-binding resolution is meaningless.This complicates Reid’s efforts to get to 60 votes, and it’s a good thing. Kill this piece of crap dead. What’s the point of a useless amendment? Is Reid really that desperate to give Jon Stewart more material for the Daily Show. Reid should introduce BINDING legislation. Let the Republicans vote against it. It’ll give us grist to use in the 2008 elections. The American people didn’t elect a Democratic Congress to waste time passing useless, non-binding resolutions that Bush can easily (and gleefully) ignore. A successful non-binding resolution will be no more useful in ending this disastrous war than a failed binding one. So let’s make a real statement on the war, not empty platitudes and rhetoric. Now obviously I disagree with a lot of things that Kos says. But the guy deserves credit for one thing: he takes his own convictions seriously. Over to you Jim. Are you up to the challenge? Can you summon up the fortitude to criticize Democrats?



report abuse
 

Mike Hayes

posted February 3, 2007 at 1:31 am


Wolverine, Isn’t it a good thing to be having a debate about what is the best course of action? And for members of the US Senate from the two major parties to be trying to reach consensus?



report abuse
 

Wolverine

posted February 3, 2007 at 6:26 pm


Mike, Yes, it is a good thing. A very good thing indeed. But those of us commenting and observing from outside should be true to our principles, and should not let partisan loyalties prevent us from speaking the truth (at least as we see it) to power. By all means choose your words carefully and be diplomatic, especially when dealing with your allies. But don’t let your political alliances put you in a postion where you cannot, politely, point out the elephant in the room. It seems to me that if you believe the sorts of things that Jim Wallis is writing about Iraq, then it is criminal negligence for the Democrats to limit themselves to passing symbolic resolutions when effective measures to end the war are available to them. I’m not expecting Wallis or Sojourners to get all “prophetic” and call down the wrath of all the Old Testament prophets on their heads, but an expression of disappointment and an urging to take stronger measures in the future seems appropriate to me. The failure to do so only adds to the evidence that Sojourners is more a religious outreach for the Democratic Party than the vanguard of a new, principled Christian left. You can snicker all you want about the conservative telling the liberals what to do, but so far nobody’s proved me wrong about this. Wolverine



report abuse
 

Ms. Cynthia

posted February 5, 2007 at 12:17 am


We are not listening to the music on the ground. This morning I awoke to hear another story about the millions of refugees that are showing up in neighboring countries, a wave that is reaching a breaking point. The social pressures created could easily be at the risk of destablizing the fragile pollitical structures that are known in the region to date. While Iraqi’s are now voting with their feet we are still debating about a supporting government which they are abandoning with their lives. Our leaders are 6 months to a year behind them. While we are standing on the life boat playing life guard they are swimming for a shoreline, any shoreline that will take them. It gives new meaning to the word boatpeople. There needs to be a dialogue and proactive planning in Washington and New York about how they are going to handle the despora which will surely have its influence on the region. Meanwhile a generation of children is about to grow up with yet another troubled identity. I give that incubation time about 6-10 years which is coming sooner than you think. Are these young people going to grow up with abandonment or the tools to change the music on the ground in their region? With this many people leaving Baghdad to date, Americans on the ground are left with a completely different social climate on the streets. We are just plain having the wrong debate in Washington. American solgiers are once again going to be flying off of the roof tops of a foreign capital with the most vunerable and helpless grasping them by the ankles while the bullets fly below. As long as Bush still insists that we do everything but create a dialogue in the region, we might as well be reconciled to face what the future is bringing us. Leadership around the world who really care about this situation need to start planning proactively for the tools they will need to have ready to make the best possible responce to a regional disaster.Perhaps if we send the Bush administration an invoice for the clean up bill, they will concider more carefully how deeply they are going to commit to a military solution. But I wouldn’t bet on it. They are stuck in their convictions, And we would be foolish to plan for a better outcome. I can’t help but feel really despondant about the disconnect and denial.



report abuse
 

lilou

posted February 6, 2007 at 9:36 pm


cs: You seem to have missed the Speakes quote in the article. It’s definitely there, in the 12th paragraph. Equipment For Added Troops Is Lacking: New Iraq Forces Must Make Do, Officials Say By Ann Scott Tyson Washington Post Staff Writer Tuesday, January 30, 2007; Page A12 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/29/AR2007012901584.html “We can fulfill the national strategy, but it will take more time and it will also take us increased casualties to do the job,” Speakes said.”



report abuse
 

Ms. Cynthia

posted February 9, 2007 at 11:23 am


Was that me who accused the Al Sadr Militia of being a bunch of Camel smugglers? Forgive me. I was just reacting to the cover of the book. I had no idea what these folks are really capable of.Make that ambulance smugglers.Recently, NPR reported that On top of that, the Iraqi Minister of Health was arrested for stealing millions of $$$. the Militia he is loyal to has been using the ambulances to smuggle guns with. This explains why the Hospitals in Bahgdad are a basket case. On top of that no self respecting Suni citizen wants to stay over night in one of these places for fear he will be removed by an ambulance driver. How much more complicated does it have to get for the Americans on the ground? We really don’t know what is actually happening in Iraq.



report abuse
 

Mike Hayes

posted February 20, 2007 at 4:40 am


http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/02/19/mccain.ap/index.html The link is about John McCain’s criticism of Donald Rumsfeld. Excerpt (not on topic): “…McCain’s bid for president was sidetracked in South Carolina in 2000 after a victory in New Hampshire. George W. Bush won the primary here and went on to win the nomination and White House…”. If there were not a two party system, maybe John McCain would have been one of the candidates we could have considered in the final election, back then… and Bill Bradley…



report abuse
 

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the beliefnet.com terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to beliefnet.com and may be used by beliefnet.com in accordance with the agreements.



Previous Posts

More blogs to enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting God's Politics. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy: Red Letters with Tom Davis Recent prayer post on Prayables Most Recent Inspiration blog post Happy Reading!  

posted 11:14:07am Aug. 16, 2012 | read full post »

Why I Work for Immigration Reform (by Patty Kupfer)
When I tell people that I work on immigration reform, they usually laugh or say, "way to pick an easy topic." Everyday it feels like there is more fear, more hate. Raids are picking up in Nevada, California, and New York. A number of senators who supported comprehensive reform only a few months ago

posted 12:30:52pm Oct. 16, 2007 | read full post »

Audio: Jim Wallis on "Value Voters" on The Tavis Smiley Show
Last week Jim was on The Tavis Smiley Show and talked about how the changing political landscape will affect the upcoming '08 election. Jim and Ken Blackwell, former Ohio secretary of state, debated and discussed both the impact of "value voters" on the election and what those values entail. + Down

posted 10:11:56am Oct. 16, 2007 | read full post »

Verse of the Day: 'peace to the far and the near'
I have seen their ways, but I will heal them; I will lead them and repay them with comfort, creating for their mourners the fruit of the lips. Peace, peace, to the far and the near, says the Lord; and I will heal them. But the wicked are like the tossing sea that cannot keep still; its waters toss u

posted 9:35:01am Oct. 16, 2007 | read full post »

Daily News Digest (by Duane Shank)
the latest news on Mideast, Iran, Romney-Religious right, Blog action day, Turkey, SCHIP, Iran, Aids-Africa, India, Budget, Brownback-slavery apology, Canada, and selected op-eds. Sign up to receive our daily news summary via e-mail » Blog action day. Thousands of bloggers unite in blitz of green

posted 9:31:25am Oct. 16, 2007 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.