Despite George W. Bush’s declaration today that the U.S. has a strong military that can deal with anything, Rep. Ike Skelton, ranking member on the House Armed Services Committee, recently reported.
Army readiness is in crisis. The administration has brought us here because of a lack of planning and a lack of funding. Today two-thirds of the brigade combat teams in our operating force are unready.
The Army is cutting resources for nondeployed in order to maintain front-line troops at optimum combat readiness. The Washington Times reported today that many armored vehicles and some aircraft cannot be used because of damage from both homemade explosive devices and harsh environmental elements in Iraq. The Army is prepared to repair and refurbish these vehicles, but there is no cash available to do so.
Retired Gen. John Keane says that troop morale is high, and once emergency funding is granted to make necessary repairs and replacements, everything will be fine.
Nonetheless, it is worth going back to 2000 and remembering this election quotation from George W. Bush: “When you don’t keep faith with the men and women of our military, it’s hard to keep them at all.”