Iraq 101: Putting A GI Back Together Again

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Breaking
the Army…

Half of American
soldiers think we are likely to succeed in Iraq; more than 1/3 say we
shouldn’t have invaded in the first place. It costs $275,000 to deploy
a soldier in Iraq for a year. It costs $5,840 to feed him. Army doctrine
recommends deploying 20 soldiers for every 1,000 residents of an area
with insurgents in it. Baghdad, a city of 6 million, would require 120,000
troops; 20,000 are there now. Nearly 1/3 of the troops deployed in Iraq
and Afghanistan have served multiple tours. “I don’t think they can sustain
the rotations the way they are right now without really starting to have
severe readiness issues in the Army much more than another year,” said
retired Brig. General David Grange in December. Some military equipment
used in Iraq has experienced the equivalent of 27 years of use in 3 years.
It costs $17 billion a year to replace worn and lost equipment.

…and
the National Guard and Reserves

The Pentagon
has ordered the National Guard to transfer $1.76 billion worth of equipment
to the Army. Transferring gear overseas has left domestic Guard units
with 1/3 of their essential combat equipment. 7,040 Army National Guard
soldiers were deployed to Vietnam; 126 died. More than 100,000 have served
in Iraq so far; 392 have died. Deploying reservists in Iraq costs the
U.S. economy almost $4 billion in lost productivity annually.


The
Home Front

The death
rate for soldiers from rural areas is 60% higher than that for soldiers
from cities. Between 2003 and 2005, Army divorces increased by 14%. The
Miles Foundation reports that calls to its domestic violence hot line
for military spouses jumped from 50 to 600 per month after the start of
the Iraq War. In 2004, 1 out of 5 military spouses said they had signed
up for government assistance to make ends meet. The wife of a New York
National Guardsman deployed to Iraq applied for food stamps while raising
three kids on $19,000 a year. “His monthly military salary does not cover
one monthly mortgage payment.”


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REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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