Army Major: "We're Killing These Kids, We're Breaking The Army!"

Authored by Major Danny Sjursen via TheAmericanConservative.com,

Our soldiers are still redeploying at a frenetic pace that cannot keep up with reality - and the cracks are showing...

 

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/20180118_army.png

I’ll admit I was taken aback. This senior officer and mentor - with nearly 28 years of military service - wasn’t one for hyperbole. No, he believed what he was saying to me just then.

“We’re killing these kids, we’re breaking the army!” he exclaimed.

He went on to explain the competing requirements for standard, conventional army units - to say nothing of the overstretched Special Forces - in 2018: balancing Russia in Eastern Europe, deterrence rotations in South Korea, advise and assist missions in Africa. Add to that deployments to the usual hotspots in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

He was genuinely concerned about the physical and emotional toll on the active-duty force, pushed to its limits by 17 years of perpetual combat. After all, with high military suicide rates now labeled the “new normal,” and a recent succession of accidental training deaths, it seems reasonable to wonder whether we are, indeed, “killing [our] kids.”

The overall effects of this rapid operations tempo on morale and readiness are difficult to measure in a disciplined, professional, all-volunteer military such as the one the United States possesses. What we do know is that despite former president Obama’s ongoing promises that “the tide of war is receding” and that America could finally “start nation-building at home,” nothing of the sort occurred then, or is now, under President Trump. Though the U.S. military (thankfully) no longer maintains six-figure troop counts in either Iraq or Afghanistan, American soldiers are still there, as well as serving in 70 percent of the world’s countries in one capacity or another in what has become a “generational war.” America’s troops are still being killed, though in admittedly fewer numbers. Nevertheless, U.S. servicemen continued to die in combat in several countries in 2017, including Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, and Niger.

After major drawdowns in Iraq (2011) and Afghanistan (2014), many soldiers, myself included, looked forward to longer “dwell time” at home stations and, just maybe, something resembling peace and even normalcy.

It was not to be. Aside from deployments to Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, conventional U.S. Army brigades currently support regular overseas rotations to Kuwait, South Korea, and Eastern Europe. To use just one example, the 1st Armored Division webpage currently boasts that the division has soldiers supporting 20 missions on five continents. Of my three former classmates and colleagues in the West Point History Department (2014-2016), two are currently deployed: one in Romania, another to the ubiquitous Mid-East region. That’s just about as busy as we all were back in the bad old days of 2006-2007.

The military - and the Army in particular - brought some of this upon itself. As conventional ground combat elements (of which the Army owns the preponderance) withdrew from Iraq and Afghanistan, and President Obama signaled a strategic pivot to Asia, U.S. Army leaders became understandably concerned. The Asia pivot would, logically, lean more heavily on the Air Force and Navy—especially when new military doctrine took the (exclusive) name “Air-Sea Battle.” As the economy struggled and budgets tightened, the various service chiefs fought to convince Congress and administration kingmakers of their continued “relevance.” If the Army didn’t appear busy—engaged in a countless number of vital missions—well, it’d be hard to justify its current budget.

It should come as no surprise that around this time the Army touted the versatility of its Regionally Aligned Forces (RAF) brigades—units trained and tailored to support an array of missions for specific geographic combatant commanders. Army leaders also emphasized threats from Russia and North Korea and the need for deterrent brigades on the ground in those theaters. And, with Special Operations Command under strain, the Army also provided six new Security Force Assistance Brigades (SFABs) to carry some of the advise-and-assist workload around the globe. This is not to say that Army leaders fabricated threats or invented missions. It’s all far more complex. Rather, brutal budget squabbles on Capitol Hill combined with increasingly politicized foreign policy threat assessments created an atmosphere where demonstrating “relevance” and “busyness” presented the only sure path to funding at the rates to which the various services had become accustomed.

Relevance is a double-edged sword—well-justified budgets require a frenzied operational pace and an overwrought Army.

Some troopers, at least, appear fed up with the scope and pace of deployments in year 18 of the conflict formerly known as the “war on terror.” No one is publicly sounding the alarm, but there are signals—if you know where to look. When Vice President Mike Pence made a surprise holiday season visit to Kabul and publicly praised U.S. forces in Afghanistan, one observer described the crowd as “subdued,” and notedseveral troops stood with their arms crossed or their hands folded behind their backs and listened, but did not applaud.” Polls also demonstrate that although the current president is slightly more popular among the military than the general public, among officers Trump counts only a 30 percent approval rate. More concerning are the February 2017 polls indicating that military service member satisfaction has dropped 50 percent since 2009, due in part, one assumes, to never-ending deployments and time spent away from families. And, among the ever-strained Special Operations forces, reports indicate that mental distress and suicide are again on the rise.

As it stands, the system just about holds together - no doubt due to the determination of leaders and dutiful sacrifice of soldiers - but one wonders whether the active component force could truly weather even one major regional crisis. Something, it seems, would have to give - a drawdown in other missions, compressed training schedules, or—heaven forbid!—calling up the reserves, something American politicians certainly wish to avoid.

The all-volunteer force was always a devil’s bargain: by cutting out the citizenry in the form of a draft out of the equation, presidents, pols, and military leadership could move soldiers around the chessboard with fewer checks on their authority and the decision-making process.

That’s all well and good, until the system cracks. The president’s modest troop escalations in Afghanistan and Iraq, if combined with a (ever more likely) shooting war in Korea, could be just the thing to “break” the professional, volunteer military.

At that point Americans would have some tough decisions to make: ante up some cash and bodies to keep the U.S. military on top, or, just maybe, do less. Let’s hope it never comes to that. In the meantime, count on Congress and the American people to cover their eyes and let the “war on terror’s” third straight president run its cherished heroes into the ground.

What a way to say “thanks for your service!”

*  *  *

Major Danny Sjursen is a U.S. Army officer and former history instructor at West Point. He served tours with reconnaissance units in Iraq and Afghanistan, and has written a memoir and critical analysis of the Iraq War, Ghost Riders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge

Comments

holdbuysell Thu, 01/18/2018 - 23:58 Permalink

"At that point Americans would have some tough decisions to makeante up some cash and bodies to keep the U.S. military on top, or, just maybe, do less."

Anyone paying attention knows it's the latter based on public sentiment.

 

BennyBoy TBT or not TBT Fri, 01/19/2018 - 05:26 Permalink

 

"28 years of military service"

28 years of mercenary service for big corporations. Now the dumfuk gets a pension.

Never read Smedley Butler:

"I served in all commissioned ranks from second lieutenant to Major General. And during that period I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for capitalism. I suspected I was just part of the racket all the time. Now I am sure of it."

MIC back then, same MIC now.

 

 

In reply to by TBT or not TBT

merizobeach BennyBoy Fri, 01/19/2018 - 06:23 Permalink

Major Danny Sjursen: What a way to say “thanks for your service!” "

 

How about I say it this way?: Not every person in every foreign country is dead yet--so hop to it!, you bloody-handed, brainwashed, warmongering, asshole pawn!  (PS... fuck you!)

In reply to by BennyBoy

The Ram BennyBoy Fri, 01/19/2018 - 09:49 Permalink

Look, if you joined the military, that's the job.  This is stupid.  If you don't like being deployed, you made the wrong career move.  Quit or get out when your tour ends.  Alternatively, get yourself a cushy job pushing paper in DC or some big base location.  If you are a member of a special unit or any 'line' service like infantry, air, artillery, etc., then long deployments are the basic job description.  They are not paying you to blow up armidillos in Ft. Sill.

In reply to by BennyBoy

helloimjohnnycat atomic balm Fri, 01/19/2018 - 06:23 Permalink

 

 

workin' for the jew,

and killing for the jew,

it's all about the shekels.

cuttin' one's own schmeckel

slicin' one's own throat

divin' into their moat

boilin' one's self into human stew.

bleed out,

don't shout,

not out loud, not allowed,

the jew will disavow.

the jew is not to hear

anything related,

unabated,

proving his own fear.

 

 

Article -

Army Major: "We're Killing These Kids, We're Breaking The Army!"

In reply to by atomic balm

Obadiah Luc X. Ifer Fri, 01/19/2018 - 06:11 Permalink

Lets differentiate "Jews"  and those that SAY they are "Jews" but DO LIE

Revelations 2: 9 I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

and here

Revelations 3: 9 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.

and here

John 8: 44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

Here try this video for more info
https://youtu.be/OsETpgkv_Sk?t=840

In reply to by Luc X. Ifer

TeethVillage88s Lore Fri, 01/19/2018 - 03:57 Permalink

- Tainting of Education
- Tainting of MSM
- Tainting of US Congress
- Tainting of War Objectives & Exit Strategy
- Tainting of the Context of War, Human Cost of War
- Tainting of War with Mercenaries, Private Corporations Spying on our own activists/political opposition, rise of Police State as end of Protectionism in 1944, 70 year decline in Jobs, the right of citizen to work outside of govt or corporations free of Inflationary Economy/Inflationary Planning/Mandatory Inflation with Import Economy

or something like that...

In reply to by Lore

DocBerg Socratic Dog Fri, 01/19/2018 - 08:56 Permalink

I was very lucky to survive one combat tour in Vietnam as a grunt.  So, why do these fools keep re-enlisting to get more tours? I really don't understand this.  I took an early out to get out of the Army as quickly as I could.  I never wanted to be in it in the first place, but they didn't give me a choice in that matter.  They didn't like us combat veterans upsetting the stateside military very much.  

 

The only way they could bring back the draft would be to find a way, like Selective Service did before, to keep the elite's kids out of harm's way.  The draft lottery was the death knell of the draft.  It was a fair system, which is why the elites then went to the All Volunteer Military.  Now the WalMartians do all of the fighting and dying, just as before.  

In reply to by Socratic Dog

Erwin643 DocBerg Fri, 01/19/2018 - 10:46 Permalink

That's because when they killed the draft, they upped salaries, along with a one percent-here, two percent-there pay raise almost every single year for those poor military people in Congress, ever since.

Pay and benefits now are comparable to any other federal gov't. job. I personally gave up on the civilian economy, both in and out of uniform since 1994 (which allowed me to pay-off my house and retire early - not getting any entitlements yet, however. My reserve-component retirement doesn't kick in till around 60). Civilian salaries for decades, now, have not even come close to what the military pays in actuarial terms (tax-free allowances, per diem, military discounts, retirement, etc).

Just about every other industrialized country is in the same boat. Modern militaries are extremely expensive.

In reply to by DocBerg

ebworthen Lost in translation Fri, 01/19/2018 - 01:13 Permalink

Exactly.  The M.I.C. is wasting the lives of our best and most patriotic.

If you're going to have endless wars, draft everyone, male and female, that turns 18.

Let's see what that does to the snowflakes and S.J.W.'s rolling over for the Imperial City.

Not to mention the good kids and families who think they are sacrificing for the "Country".

In reply to by Lost in translation

Retired Guy ebworthen Fri, 01/19/2018 - 08:03 Permalink

You want a universal draft in a time of relative peace to shape up the snowflakes? Is a nation of war mongers what you want, really?

Do you work for the MIC?

The draft = involuntary slavery with the possibility of dismemberment or worse.

What could be less free than being forced to do terrible things by your appointed master?

If a serious war occurs, where the nation is actually at risk, volunteers will step forward. Only after they are expended should the draft be considered.

In reply to by ebworthen

aurum4040 Lost in translation Fri, 01/19/2018 - 02:24 Permalink

Its not that easy ace. You think Russia and China will just close up shop and stay home after we 'demobilize'?  No, they will maneuever all around the chess board militarily, financially, and then crush us on our on soil. The military is the only thing holding up the USD at this point. Not sure why you dumb fucks here dont understand that yet. 

In reply to by Lost in translation

aurum4040 resistedliving Fri, 01/19/2018 - 05:17 Permalink

Assisted living - no, I work and trade for myself, thank you. 

Moving on. Yes I've been to SC NC VA TX...And CA, WY, LA CO, WA, AK, AZ, MD, NY, PA, MA, IT DOESNT MATTER. Ever hear of Kyanz Vladimir? Or the Armata platform? Or MENA oil? Or Japan and South Korea? Or SCS? Perhaps Europe? You pull support from all of those areas, we begin paying more then $100 a barrel for crude and the more, we then lose trillions in UST bond buying support because the bases do not exist, we lose USD reserve status, every ounce of gold gets repatriated from the Fed vaults, we go true Banana Republic all while Russia who has no debt mind you and a stronger military at this point, and the rest of BRICS and whoever else do whatever they want whenever they want, and then you seem to think that our pussey whiner citizens are going to jump in and dutifully protect the country after a year long bombing campaign? Dude. You ever play checkers let alone chess? Without any of that - the only place in the lower 48 that would be a problem for incoming forces would be the Rocky Mountains. Everywhere else is easy fair game, base installation or not. 

In reply to by resistedliving

HRClinton holdbuysell Fri, 01/19/2018 - 00:19 Permalink

Puh-lease! Stop gaslighting us/US.

How about hitting the Pause button on BS, and trying some non-delusional honesty? Eg.

   1. They are not "Kids". They are MEN. They are men who drink, fuck, swear... fight and kill.

   2. They are paid professionals. That makes them MERCENARIES.

Hence, being maxed out and hot-swapped is what's to be expected. If they don't like it, they can get out or never sign up in the first place.

But "not signing up" isn't really an option for the majority of them, is it? Fact is, most are "Economic Desperados" -- people who would have difficulty finding a job that's not Minimum Wage. The Private Sector is a Bear, if you lack a quality education and/or connections.

Until we have an honest discussion, any discussion is pointless.

In reply to by holdbuysell