Day by Day

Thursday, September 18, 2003

Doing what they do best, American Leftists are whining about the unfortunate (to say the least) need for National Guardsmen and Reservists to serve extended tours in Iraq. But they get to the name "George W. Bush" and stop there, presumably because Bush is their favorite tar baby and it suits them to blame him.

Here's what they miss:

Between 1992 and 2000, the Clinton administration cut national defense by more than 500,000 personnel and $50 billion in inflation-adjusted dollars, notes defense policy analyst Jack Spencer. A just-released Congressional Budget Office report finds that military funding would need to increase by $50 billion a year simply to maintain the size of today’s forces.

Since 1992, Spencer notes, the Army has lost four active divisions and two reserve divisions—30 percent of its staff. The Air Force is down by five tactical squadrons, 178 bombers and 30 percent of its active personnel. The naval fleet has gone from 393 ships in 1992 to 316, and the Navy has decreased its active duty personnel by 30 percent. Even the Marines have lost personnel—22,000 since 1992.

Despite this drastic downsizing, the pace of military deployments has increased 16-fold over the last eight years, including missions in Somalia (1993), Haiti (1994), Bosnia (1996), and Iraq and Kuwait (1998). As a result of this over-extension, all four services—Air Force, Army, Marines and Navy—face a shortage of modernized equipment and low morale that is driving more and more troops out of the military completely.
Guardsmen and Reservists are forced into duty because of Bill Clinton's myopia.

Read more: NR091500: U.S. Military Hits Lowest Readiness Levels in Years, Analyst Says

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