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.”
(Originally posted at Mother Jones.)