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Thread: Army Recruits Shortfall Blamed On Iraq War Critics

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    Jan 2005

    Army Recruits Shortfall Blamed On Iraq War Critics

    Army recruits shortfall blamed on Iraq war critics

    (Gold9472: Maybe because we tell the TRUTH)

    By Vicki Allen Thu Jun 30, 5:17 PM ET

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Several Senate Republicans denounced other lawmakers and the news media on Thursday for unfavorable depictions of the Iraq war and the Pentagon urged members of Congress to talk up military service to help ease a recruiting shortfall.

    Families are discouraging young men and women from enlisting "because of all the negative media that's out there," Sen. James Inhofe (news, bio, voting record), an Oklahoma Republican, said at a U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

    Inhofe also said that other senators' criticism of the war contributed to the propaganda of U.S. enemies. He did not name the senators.

    Army Chief of Staff Peter Schoomaker urged members of Congress to use "your considerable influence to explain to the American people and to those that are influencers out there how important it is for our young people to serve this nation at a time like this."

    The Army on Wednesday said it was 14 percent, or about 7,800 recruits, behind its year-to-date recruitment target even though it exceeded its monthly target in June. With extended deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, recruiting also is down for the National Guard and the Reserves.

    "With the deluge of negative news that we get daily, it's just amazing to me that anybody would want to sign up," said Sen. Pat Roberts (news, bio, voting record), a Kansas Republican.

    Facing flagging support for the Iraq war that has killed about 1,750 U.S. forces, President Bush in a speech on Tuesday acknowledged the nation's doubts about the strategy but insisted the operation was worthwhile and portrayed Iraq as a key battlefield against terrorists.

    Bush himself made a pitch for military service. "We live in freedom because every generation has produced patriots willing to serve a cause greater than themselves. Those who serve today are taking their rightful place among the greatest generations that have worn our nation's uniform," he said.

    While Bush has rejected calls for a timetable to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq, Virginia Republican Sen. John Warner (news, bio, voting record), the committee chairman, pressed the Pentagon to declassify information on progress of training Iraq's forces, considered a key indicator of when U.S. forces can return home.

    "The American taxpayer put a tremendous investment in that retraining and the equipping," Warner said. With that information, he said, "We can better translate where we are in terms of hopefully providing them (Iraqis) with trained individuals and equipment to eventually replace our forces."

    Democrats questioned the Pentagon officials on how the Iraq war has strained the military's readiness for other potential conflicts and on delays in providing troops with adequate armor against car bombs and other explosives.

    Sen. Edward Kennedy (news, bio, voting record), a Massachusetts Democrat, said while Bush urged Americans "to raise flags" in honor of U.S. troops in Iraq, the president did not assure troops "they will have the equipment they need to fight the war, and he should have."

    Schoomaker acknowledged up to 25 percent of the Humvees in Iraq still had the low grade of protective armor, but he said all should be equipped with higher grade armor in September.

    He also agreed that in some cases the level of readiness of units was below desired levels because of the strain of the Iraq conflict and the Army's efforts to streamline its operations.

    In his testimony, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Michael Hagee said readiness for battalion and squadron-sized Marine units had dropped by 40 percent because of the priority put on sustaining units in Iraq at the expense of the units that had rotated out of the war.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

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