Via today's Daily Kos Cheers and Jeers, I learned about a story in yesterday's Denver Post that details allegations that the Army is deploying troops who should be left at home (I missed Olbermann's take on it last night). According to the article, commanders are deploying soldiers who don't meet basic medical standards. The article focuses on a couple of cases, with one - the case of Master Sgt. Denny Nelson - getting the most attention. Master Sgt Nelson suffered a serious injury to his foot prior to deployment, and was not supposed to run, jump, or lift more than 20 pounds. That's a bit of a problem if he's going to go somewhere he might need to run or jump - like, say, a base that is occasionally subjected to mortar and rocket attacks.
Reading that article, I had the strangest sense of deja vu. It was like I'd read that article before - probably because I almost did. Back in March, a remarkably similar same appeared at Salon.com. In that instance, Master Sgt. Ronald Jenkins, who had a spine injury, was the featured soldier and the unit was the 3rd Brigade of the 3rd Infantry. This time, it's Master Sgt. Nelson, and the 3rd Brigade of the 4th Infantry. Aside from that, the biggest difference between the two stories is the 9 month difference in time. I commented on the Salon story in detail when it came out, and virtually everything I wrote then applies equally well to the current case.
The underlying cause of all of these problems is easy to spot, but very, very worrying:
The. Army. Is. Broken. And. It's. Gonna. Get. Worse.
This is not news, but it bears repeating - if only to stave off the inevitable accusations that it's all the Democrats' fault when the full extent of the problem becomes apparent over the next several years.
If the next president has the temerity to end the Iraq Occupation and cut off the flow of 2.5 trillion dollars to the Warmongers, he or she will be attacked 24/7 with the "You Lost Iraq" after the Surge. This will be repeated loudly and often until it becomes accepted gospel.
The broken soldier rate is still running at an unsustainable 20%. The defunct blog, Universal Health, posted quite a bit about the military and VA healthcare systems failures.