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Is it fair to increase the length and frequency of the tours of duty for people already serving in the Army Reserves?

Asked at Checkers, 2300 La. on January 9, 2005

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Photo of Kate Faggella-Luby

“I don’t think so. I think the war was a mistake and the people serving in the Reserves shouldn’t have to pay for George Bush’s mistake.”

Photo of Ar Windibiziri

“I don’t think it is. They were told that they would be there for a certain period of time. I think that the government should honor that agreement. Actually, I really don’t believe in the war in the first place.”

Photo of Missy Belles

“I don’t think it is fair for them to increase it, but they could give soldiers the choice to serve longer tours of duty.”

Photo of Steve Hillmer

“I don’t think it’s fair, and I don’t think it’s wise. We are overextended as it is, especially with the reservists. I don’t think they signed on for that.”

Comments

Liberty 9 years, 7 months ago

To gain a better understanding of how your government works now, go to:

http://www.petitionforpeace.net/pfppetition.htm

It lists the reasons why things work the way they do and why we have been at war for about 140 years now.

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remember_username 9 years, 7 months ago

Let me start by saying that I have served both in active duty (USMC) and in the Guard, in three different decades. You will always find young people who will go be grunts the same place you found me. People with lower expectations of upward mobility, who use the service as a stepping stone to a better future, and who are 17-18 years old and therefore consider themselves immortal. When you sign up to serve you agree to a period of obligation. Within that obligation you're stuck, that's the contract.

ms_canada - you're reading a newspaper in KS so the spin from the public here is going to be different than the more populated west and northeast. With that in mind let me defend and disect American opinion as I understand it. Consider three factors. Do Americans support the war on terrorism - overwhelmingly yes. Do Americans support the troops - also overwhelming yes. (This does differ quite a bit from when I signed up. Back then if you had a military haircut you couldn't get a date if you're life depended on it.) Does America support the war in Iraq - not so much any more. But if appearing as if not supporting the war in Iraq means not supporting the troops, or not supporting the war on terrorism. Then so be it we're for the war in Iraq.

Is the war justified? Lets face it the Iraqis are screwed and have been screwed ever since the British goofed it up after WWI. (Go find a Brit, then scream at them "it's your fault" - you'll feel better). And they are still screwed under the current situation. It was a mistake - plain and simple, and there is no easy way to fix it, getting out now just won't suit American interests. (I hate saying that.)

We would have to accept a stronger Iran (an opponent), and a weaker Turkey (a friend). I can only think of one way to reduce the killing. That is divide Iraq into three parts along ethnic lines. Let the Iranians support the Shiite majority in the south and, yes we lose the oil terminals in the south and Iran grows stronger. The Sunnis will have to set up in a small area in the center and can perhaps get support from Jordan or Syria. Either way they will hate us for generations. Then we set up a Kurdish state in the north and we will have to bribe the heck out of the Turks to look the other way as parts of there own country are scooped up by a Kurdish state. But hey, we could probably remain friends with the Kurds so that's something. If the justification for removing Saddam was to reduce the killing in Iraq then the only way to continue to justify it is to lose our (American) interests, divide place up, and back out. Thus, reducing the killing.

Then where does all that Iraqi oil go? North through our friends the Kurds to Turkish ports (thereby bribing the Turks), or South through the (now) Iranian controlled ports. Crap! I think my plan will just get use all in another war next decade. I hope there are smarter people than me working on this problem. (I doubt that!)

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remember_username 9 years, 7 months ago

Did you all know there is a 3000 character limit?

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Richard Heckler 9 years, 7 months ago

Yep a doctor friend in Ohio related to me a 68 year old Psychologist was called back in simply because he did not formally separate(sign the proper papers) from the reserve.

These extensions are the GW draft.

Radiation poisoning is a problem from the DU weapons. Gulf war syndrome may well be radiation poisoning from depleted uranium weapons as the dust flies very loosely and gathers on equipment as well.

I believe we pay Blackwater Inc. $15k per month for it's mercenaries and damn little for the first term enlisted on the front line.

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ms_canada 9 years, 7 months ago

Well, now a question with some teeth and I see that at least some of you have concerns about your young men losing their lives in a senseless war. Do you people really believe that the 'war' on terrorism can be won? Dreamers!! In 4 years you will still see your young men going off to the 'war' in Iraq and you know what, you will elect another war-monger in the person of Dick, the man who IS president. They say we only get what we deserve and I sure believe that is true. Do you think you Kansans really deserve more punishment? Wake up and smell the coffee, guys (and gals). Read up on the Muslims and find out why they do the things they do and why they hate us so much. Or do you just not care about anything except whether to put a roundabout on a certain intersection in Lawrence. I bet that young man in Baghdad with his leg blown off doesn't give a $... Read your papers people.

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Larry 9 years, 7 months ago

ms_canada - Nice to hear from you. I recommend that you don't base you opinions on what you read in the newspapers. Base it on what you personally hear from a soldier or soldiers. I think the perception on what the media reports is quite different than what a majority of the soldiers believe and see everyday. In the past few months, I've had personal conversations with five soldiers who have recently returned from Iraq. All five were incredibly disappointed and angry over the medias perceptions on what it going on over there. Four of the five soldiers returned to Iraq and within one month of returning, one of these soldiers lost a close friend due to a enemy fire. She still hasn't changed her mind of the importance of American soldiers in Iraq. While home, she took the time to visit several area schools and presented a powerpoint presentation which provided detail information about the Iraq situation, why we are there and what has been accomplished by our presence. I was able to watch this presentation and it was totally different from what the media portrays. Very impressive to say the least. It actually made me angry to see actually pictures and statistics, yet realize that many people believe that what we are doing over there is wrong.

One soldiers in my church returned home for two weeks in October. His first Sunday back, our Pastor welcomed him and he received a standing ovation. It became apparent to me how important our support of their mission is as I watched this young soldier set in his pew, wiping tear after tear from his eyes as the standing ovation continued for minutes. It has become apparent to me that our troops associate support of their mission as support of them. Saying you support our troops, but don't support the war is like saying that you support your kid, but don't support his or her career choice.

The best offensive for the terrorist network is to get the American people divided on our mission. The more divided we become, the more excited and motivated they become.

Case in point: Have you noticed that America is getting criticized for not providing enough aid to the tsunami victims, yet we are hated for giving support to the victims of Saddam Hussein. Regardless as to whether we found WMB or not, Saddam was responsible for more deaths than the tsunami. Why shouldn't we be rejoicing that such an evil man has lost his power? Yes the tsunami was tragic, but so were the actions of Saddam Hussein. Within the last year or so, there was an article in the KC Star about a man from Iraq who hasn't been home in years because of Saddam. He was thrilled at the prospect of returning to Iraq to see his family without fearing Saddam.

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Punkin 9 years, 7 months ago

Check out the following link to read stories and see photos of Gulf War wounded:

www.woundedwarriorproject.org/pages.php?catid=211

GW's war on Iraq is a lie. People are dying for no reason.

Reservists need to refuse to fight. They should refuse to go back. Until the soldiers revolt, this illegal, immoral war will continue.

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Larry 9 years, 7 months ago

Liberty, I did go to your website to read through it. About half way through the homepage, I found myself thinking that the creators of this site were probably trying to rally the troops and (as a result) get some money/donations which probably has no accountability system for how that money is spent. Meanwhile, these guys are socking away this money, sipping ice cold beverages in the Caribbean. Sure enough, at the end of the page, it is requested that you pay $75.00 to become a member of those citizens who wish for peace. Unbelieveable to think that there are actually people out there who get all stirred up and pay this money with no regards to the legitimacy.

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ms_canada 9 years, 7 months ago

larry - I apologize for my fired up post of this am. I am not as fortunate as you in that I cannot talk to any soldiers who have been to Iraq. You mentioned that in an earlier post with me in mind. You know, when Iraq was first invaded, I was all for it and my husband and I had some arguments, I was happy to see the evil Saddam taken out, but I soon changed my mind when I began reading up on the reasons for the hatred of the militant Muslims for all things western. It is not just the newspapers that give the story. I have looked into the history of the muslims and their relationship to the west. Their whole outlook on life is so different from ours. I don't think that the difference will ever go away and there will never be a mutual understanding.
If the Bush administration had delved a little deeper into the muslim philosophy and the reasons behind their actions, they never would have attempted the war and the effort to bring democracy to that country. You ought to read a bit of the history of that area of the world. I know that a lot of people, myself included, feel so sorry for the ones that lost their lives during the Saddam regime, but I really believe that it is futile to try to change those people. They are a very complicated people with so many tribal differences among themselves I commend your congregation for the support they give to your soldiers. I don't agree with your statement that to condemn the war but support the troops is an oxymoron. I think it is possible to do both. Sorry to be so disagreeable on this Lords Day.

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nicegirl 9 years, 7 months ago

Larry: I agree. I too have had the honeor of speaking with soldiers that have returned from Iraq. Their opinions and views are similar to the soldiers you have spoken with. I know that most of them do not want to go back, but if they are called to duty again they would go with honor and do their jobs. For some reason, it's the citizens that are here in the US that have the problem with the war, not the majority of the people over there doing the fighting. Maybe that should tell us something.

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ms_canada 9 years, 7 months ago

username - you seem to know your history. As for dividing the country in three, that is how the whole thing got started in the first place. After WWI the 3 parts you name were united by the Brits and they called it Iraq. Only God in His heaven knows what should be done now. I am somewhat a fatalist. What will be will be. Human beings are too self-centered and greedy and that goes for governments as well. Think of the history of civilization. There has always been war. Why? One group sees the greener pastures and says, hey, I want some of that and they decide to take it. Is that not the way it is. After the Romans pulled out of Briton, the Angles and the Saxons saw the greenery and decided to take it. The europeans looked across the pond, saw the greenery and decided to take it. It was ever thus and being a fatalist , I believe it will be ever thus. Enough said. Nicegirl, glad you are back. But you know, we need the voice of fangorn here.

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Charlie Bannister 9 years, 7 months ago

Hey Larry - nice to read you again. I've been away from this forum for awhile. Had to travel quite a bit lately to earn a living. I too have spoken with a few of our brave service people in the past year. There was a military survey done through one of their publications (don't know if it was "Stars and Stripes" or not) that showed two thirds of the military supported our efforts and what we are trying to accomplish in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yes they said some mistakes have been made in the execution and planning, but in war there always are variables that cannot be planned for. It has happened in every conflict in which this nation has ever been engaged.

Thanks to Clinton's radical downsizing and starving of the military, the present administration is trying to build the military back up while fighting two separate conflicts, not an easy task, but a necessary one. They also told me that had Gore won in 2000, there would have been a mass exodus of experienced career people from all branches. Thank God that did not happen, or Bush would have an even harder job today.

Every person I talked to said they voted for Bush, and all their buddies did also. What does this tell us about what we are doing over there? It should tell us what the so called "main stream media" does not, and that is that there is so much positive that does not get reported about what we have done for the Iraqi's. It would fill a book if you tallied up the positive things we have done for that country and it's citizens.

Lastly, in answer to the question posed in today's forum, desperate times call for desperate measures. If someone has to stay in the service or their present assignment longer than they had been promised, get over it. What we are fighting for over there is nothing less than the defeat of terrorism and the sustaining of our way of life. I wish I were young enough to go, I would volunteer to go until the job was done. Unfortunately, at my age they can't use me. See you later Larry.

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remember_username 9 years, 7 months ago

I too would like to add my voice to the question - where's fangorn? He/she and I may not be on the same political page but the discourse was always rational and stimulating. Does the coffee club know where he/she is at? I hope he/she didn't get called up - I recall he/she was a reservist.

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ms_canada 9 years, 7 months ago

username - I don't get my info so muc from a KS paper. I read books, mainly history books. I have a curious mind. I had a overwhelming desire to know why the Muslim acts as he does. The history of Islam is an interesting one and begins in 622AD. The split into sunni and shiite caused so much trouble that continues today. larry if you want to understand where I come from, read up on this history and see if you are still so critical of my thinking. Here is a dare I throw out to you which I don't think will corrupt your thinking too much. You know the old saying, 'if your faith is strong, you need not fear discussion' There is an extremely informative and interesting article on MSNBC News on the MSNBC web site. It is by Richard Engel and is dated Jan. 7.
You know, my ire is not raised so much by the US gov. as by war in general. There never seems to be enough effort made to understand each other by the warring parties. Historical events are always interconnected and one event triggers another, sometimes years down the path. Give the article a try, larry, please.

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Larry 9 years, 7 months ago

I think if the media was fair and honest with reporting this war, many Americans would have a different view of how things are going. Most individuals who disagree with the war (disagree) because they only consider every negative element that the media presents. Only time will tell if the war was a mistake but one thing that I believe whole heartedly is that by taking the war to the terrorists, we have severely disabled the terrorist network, their ability to communicate, their mobility and their ability to acquire materials. I'd rather fight the war over there than here in North America. Remember- the terrorists started this thing.

MsCanada - if you know your history, then you know that America tried to stay out of WW II even though most of the world criticized us for not helping. We got pulled into WW II (thanks to Japan), we end it and then help Japan rebuild, help Germany rebuild, help France rebuild with American tax dollars, yet as Colin Powell so accurately stated, we only asked for ground to bury our dead. For the sake of argument - what if we did nothing after 911? What if we ignored the terrorist again just as we had in the past? Does anyone think that it would had made a difference? TRUST ME! What we are doing is exactly the right thing to do. Anyone who believes that Saddam wasn't harboring terrorists is uninformed. We have records of terrorist receiving medical treatment in Iraq. As for France, China and Russia's NON support - I think the scandals that have been brought to the publics eye in the past year or so explains why they haven't supported the USA.

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BunE 9 years, 7 months ago

I am glad to know that anecdotal evidence is so accepted here. In that spirit, EVERY soldier I speak with tells me that the Iraqis want us to rebuilt what we broke and then get out. Better yet, Pay the Iraqis 100 billion to rebuild and get out.

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ms_canada 9 years, 7 months ago

Please don't anyone get me wrong, I am not anti USA. America has done some wonderful things in this world. Yes larry all the things you say are true. Here is an example of how events in history are so interconnected. 1955 Afghanistan requests military aid from US. Pres. Eisenhower rejects request. Russians do not, thus begins long relationship between them. 1973, Afghani King Zahir Shah takes holiday in Italy giving Prime Minister opportunity to seize power. Power struggle between two communist factions begins. Russia backs Hafizullah Amin. US embassy staff think everything was honky dory. After all, this tribal fighting has been going on for a thousand years. 1978 US ambassador kidnapped and killed. 1979 Russian backed Amin killed and Russians take action. Dec. 24. Russian tanks roll in and 10 yr. war begins. A war that has been called the Russian Viet Nam. Russians can hardly believe it when they are defeated by the rag tag army of fanatics. These are the mujahideen. And guess who cut his teeth in this frey? None other than Osama Bin Laden. A lot of you young folk won't remember this. It was in the days of the Cold War when the CIA and the KGB played mind games with one another. Soooo, the CIA sent arms and aid to the mujahideen, stinger missiles & AK47's. The Muja. gathered strength and gave birth to the Taliban. The Taliban regime collapsed but did not go away. Their Islamic passion increased and they moved over to Iraq to become the insurgents there. As a history buff, I like to search to see how one event triggers another. Just try to imagine how things would be today if Pres. Eisenhower had have said yes.

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Jay_Z 9 years, 7 months ago

Ms_canada, war is an ugly thing, but as hard as it may seem to accept, it is sometimes a necessary thing. This war is necessary--the terrorists won't go away if we just ignore them and allow them to do whatever they want.

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remember_username 9 years, 7 months ago

Larry, This is one thing I tried to address to ms_canada earlier. The war in Afghanistan is closely tied to our fight against terrorists. The connection between Iraq and 9/11 is tenuous at best. I think it is wrong to keep combining the motives for both fronts. I don't believe the war in Iraq will make us safer in the long run.

Now if the argument is that fighting in Iraq keeps the terrorists busy, well away from our home, then there may be something to that. But I doubt it, place yourself in Iraqi shoes. If I lived in a country that was invaded, and the invaders dropped a 500lb bomb on my house, I would fight to kick them out regardless about how I felt about their motives for invading. If my children were in the house then only my self control and sense of honor would keep me from taking the fight to their country and blowing up their children. It doesn't take very much to turn an insurgent into a terrorist. Somewhere about the third time my family gets attacked is when honor and self control go out the window. I'm afraid we are only going to create more terrorists in the long run, and more, not less the longer we stay.

I think the war in Afghanistan was completely justified, but the war in Iraq was a strategic and political mistake of major proportions. But as I said before- spilt milk - the question is how to come up with the best exit strategy.

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Liberty 9 years, 7 months ago

A web site that explains why the U.S. has been involved in perpetual war since Abraham Lincoln and the 39th Congress. Constant war gives the government emergency power over the people that created the government. They are now on their way to total control with the war on terror. This is why they want you to be for the 'war'.

http://www.petitionforpeace.net/pfphome.htm

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Larry 9 years, 7 months ago

remember_username - EVERY soldier that I speak with states that a vast majority of Iraqi's wants us there. The problems in Iraq are created by rebels from other neighboring countries who don't want a democracy so close to their home.

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