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Old 12-22-2003, 08:54 AM
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Default Troop morale in Iraq is low and getting lower

Troop morale in Iraq is low and getting lower. The reasons are very easy to understand.

By Mick Youther

One hundred thirty thousand Americans won?t be celebrating Christmas with their families this year. They will be sitting in the crossfire in Iraq, hoping to stay alive long enough to make it back home again. Close to 500 of their fellow soldiers won?t be celebrating Christmas this year (or ever again) because they have already died in Mr. Bush?s War.

The Bush Administration justified their war with lies, and now our soldiers are the ones who are paying the price.

President Bush is generous with his public praise for the troops, but behind the scenes, he and the Republican-led Congress are methodically cutting or eliminating benefits for the military and their families. No wonder there is a morale problem.

? ?Last week, Bush described the military spirit as high and said that life in Iraq is ?a lot better than you probably think. Just ask people who have been there.?? --The Washington Post, 10/16/03

? ?Everyone hears that morale is high and it is a bold-faced lie. The only people they ever talk to are these commanders. The reserve soldiers never get to speak their mind. We are the pawns of this war.? --From a reservist from Indiana in Emails from the war zone, The Guardian, 10/25/03

? ?We soldiers have faced death in Iraq without reason or justification. How many more must die? How many more tears must be shed before Americans awake and demand the return of the men and women whose job it is to protect them rather than their leader's interest?? --Tim Predmore, on active duty with the 101st Airborne Division in Iraq, The Guardian, 9/19/03

? ?[T]he White House griped that various pay-and-benefits incentives added to the 2004 defense budget by Congress are wasteful and unnecessary--including a modest proposal to double the $6,000 gratuity paid to families of troops who die on active duty. This comes at a time when Americans continue to die in Iraq at a rate of about one a day.? --Army Times, 6/30/03

? ?The poor go to war, to fight and die for the delights, riches, and superfluities of others.? --Plutarch (46-120), Greek historian

? ?We're dealing with absolute financial devastation. We're on the verge of losing everything. We're civilians who signed up expecting to do duty in the state. We did not expect him to be deployed for years at a time.? --Korina Self, whose husband is serving with the California National Guard in Iraq, Sacramento Bee, 12/6/03

? ?[What ?Bring 'em on?] showed the world was that the Commander in Chief has not an ounce of compassion for the men and women that he sent into harm's way.? --Dennis O'Neil,, 11/1903

? ?There will be no arrival ceremonies for, or media coverage of, deceased military personnel returning to or departing from Ramstein [Germany] airbase or Dover [Del.] base, to include interim stops.? --Pentagon directive, on the eve of the Iraq war

? ?A colonel in Baghdad (who will go nameless here for obvious reasons) told me just after I arrived that senior Army officers feel every order they receive is delivered with next November's election in mind, so there is little doubt at and near the top about who is really being used for what over here.? --Lucian Truscott IV, West Point alumnus, New York Times, 12/7/03

? ?Currently, the federal government adds insult to soldiers' injuries by charging them $8.10 per day, not for medical care, but for the meals they receive while in the care of a military hospital?more than 1,300 wounded soldiers serving in Iraq received food bills upon returning home.? --US Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite (R-FL), 9/27/03

? ?One month after President Bush greeted soldiers at Fort Stewart -- home of the famed Third Infantry Division -- as heroes on their return from Iraq, approximately 600 sick or injured members of the Army Reserves and National Guard are warehoused in rows of spare, steamy and dark cement barracks in a sandy field, waiting for doctors to treat their wounds or illnesses.? --Mark Benjamin, UPI, 10/17/03

? ?And today we are told that we must 'Support Our Troops.? ?Wear a yellow ribbon, wave your flag, support the Bush Administration's War on Terror and War on Iraq.? Questioning the war is equated with deserting our troops or treason. And yet how are the warmongers supporting our troops? By eliminating their healthcare and slashing their pensions.? --Ashley Decker,, 3/28/03

It is going to take a lot more than a Chicken Hawk holding a turkey to fix the morale problems in Iraq. What we need to do is bring our soldiers home.

Mick Youther is an Instructor in the Department of Physiology at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, IL. You can email your comments to
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Old 12-22-2003, 09:50 AM
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?Currently, the federal government adds insult to soldiers' injuries by charging them $8.10 per day, not for medical care, but for the meals they receive while in the care of a military hospital?more than 1,300 wounded soldiers serving in Iraq received food bills upon returning home.? --US Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite (R-FL), 9/27/03

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