The Bush administration announced last month that all U.S. Army soldiers in Iraq would have their 12-month tours in Iraq extended by 3 additional months.
The forced extensions place an extreme burden on soldiers in Iraq, whose strains “are in some ways more severe than those borne by the combat forces of World War II,” Army researchers say. The also highlight the U.S. military’s current readiness crisis, which has left virtually all of the U.S.-based Army combat brigades “rated as unready to deploy.”
In a little noticed remark late last month, Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) said the worst is still to come. During a speech on Congress’ Iraq legislation, Murtha said he has heard rumors that the forced extensions will soon be increased to 18 months. Watch it:
In April, when the 15-month extensions were announced, U.S. soldiers on the ground reacted with “muffled outbursts of anger and frustration laced with dark humor.”
“At no time in our military history have Soldiers or Marines been required to serve on the front line in any war for a period of 6-7 months.” A quarter of all soldiers who spend 6 months in Iraq show signs of mental trauma.
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