Calling Col. Klink!….Russian Front Gambit Still Works

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Reader Mark Bonacquisti points us to this Rocky Mountain News story about Army officers pulling a page from the Hogan's Heroes playbook: Some soldiers allege that they are being threatened with being sent to Iraq if they refuse to re-enlist. Notes Bonacquisti, "A year in Iraq may not equal even a day in Stalingrad for sheer lethality, but apparently it's enough of a threat for heavy-handed Army goons to lord it over their soon-to-be-free charges."

Whole thing here. Army spokesmen deny the allegations.

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  1. The sad thing is, I bet 80% of these guys will still vote for Bush.

  2. I don’t find it surprising that the Army did this(and yes, I believe the soliders). It sounds utterly typical of the “career conselors” we had in the Marines.

  3. josh,
    Truth is so hard to arrive at.
    I’d like to know what soldiers really think about many issues.
    How to find out?

  4. Joe, probably correct that they’ll vote that way, but because Democrat lawyers will be specifically targeting military ballots for exclusion in the state(s) they decide to contest, the rate of disenfranchisement for the overseas military will be close to 30-40%.

    See, joe, that’s real disenfranchisement…I give you guys credit in ’00 for making a huge diversion about phantom “roadblocks” in Florida and sending your lawyers out under the radar to perform concrete acts of disenfranchisement in Duval county.

    Lyndon Johnson would be proud.

  5. Oops, sorry Josh…I’m sure you’ll understand why I thought you were joe.

  6. Ruthless-ask them.

    My experience is that they are evenly divided, just like the rest of the nation. The same is true of views on the war. The only difference is, military people go whether or not they agree with the war.

  7. Mark,
    I only know a few, of which I could ask questions like this of only one, and I tired of asking him because he always said, “If I told you, I’d have to kill you.”

  8. I have an e-mail from a serving soldier in Colorado who experienced one of these meetings first-hand. He says the report is accurate.

  9. Well, if you look at at from the Army perspective, its a logical outcome of a logical system.

    They are reorganizing the Army. They want only long-timers in this particular unit, not short-timers, so any short-timers will be transferred out. Nothing sinister yet, is there?

    Where will the short-timers go? Howsabout to units with identified needs and high priorities? Logical, no? Any wonder that the units who have a high-priority need to be up to strength are the ones scheduled to rotate to Iraq? Would anyone care to propose a better set of priorities?

    I suppose it would have been better for the recruiters to sit mum, and ambush the short-timers with transfers to combat units. I mean, wasn’t that their only other option? Either tell the soldiers how the system would work, or don’t tell them?

  10. Josh,

    Why is that sad? It is NOT Bush that is threatening them. What do you think Kerry would do, if electecd? He is already pissed that his manhood is challenged by his opponents (that he is an appeaser, and will cut & run, etc.). Do you think he will prove them right by calling all the boys (& girls) home?

    Besides, I don’t think Kerry is a rabid anti-war nut like most of the vocal base is (and some Libertarians are). He doesn’t really oppose the war – mostly the way it has been conducted – and claims he would prosecute it better. He will try to get out of Iraq in about 4 years.

    If you were a soldier, why would you think voting for Kerry would change your immediate future?

    (I am not saying soldiers shouldn’t vote for Kerry; there are plenty of reasons for doing that – but they shouldn’t expect ‘Iraq’ to end as soon as Kerry takes the oath).

  11. RC-the logic doesn’t work. Combat units only want long-timers, so they send short-timers(who have been stop-lossed) to combat units.

    These men have done their time. They are humans, and good men, not expendable assets.

    This next thing is not directed to RC. I am, however, tired of hearing people who did not and do not serve suggesting that military people ought to just suck it up when it comes to lengthy deployments, stop-loss orders, etc.

  12. OK, somebody help me out here.

    They need more soldiers. Why do they need more soldiers? Primarily for Iraq.

    So they tell people that if they DON’T re-enlist they’ll be sent to Iraq. Presumably this means that if they DO re-enlist they’ll have a much lower chance of going to Iraq.

    So if most of the people who re-enlist are kept away from Iraq, who’s going to Iraq? New people? But I thought the whole point was that there weren’t enough new people.

    Sounds like something that my veteran friends have said. There are 3 ways to do something: The right way, the wrong way, and the Army way.

  13. They need more soldiers. Why do they need more soldiers? Primarily for Iraq.

    Primarily for other than Iraq. How many are in the Army and how many Army are in Iraq?

    So they tell people that if they DON’T re-enlist they’ll be sent to Iraq. Presumably this means that if they DO re-enlist they’ll have a much lower chance of going to Iraq.

    May be true or may be bluff. MOS would have much to do with any need in Iraq. Re-upping will likely give no immunity against an Iraq deployment. It’s all a matter of need.

    There are 3 ways to do something: The right way, the wrong way, and the Army way.

    Add to that, “Believe nothing you hear and just half of what you see.”

  14. “There are 3 ways to do something: The right way, the wrong way, and the Army way.”

    Wow, that’s a new one. The version I heard about 28 years ago was “the Navy way.” It wouldn’t surprise me if ever recruit at least since WWI has heard that little chunk of wisdom.

  15. “Army spokesmen deny the allegations.”

    Well it’s an awfully weak denial, since they also say that anyone who doesn’t re-elist might well be sent to Iraq . . .

  16. rea,

    Isn’t that an example of a non-denial denial? 🙂

  17. Troops are dispatched to units according to the units needs as defined by the military occupational speciality (MOS). MOS 11B is a Infantryman, 12B is a combat Engineer, with each occupation having a assigned MOS alpha-numeric identifier.

    It is not the individual that is assigned it is the MOS that is required.

    If you haven’t been there ask a question, don’t give a armchair warrior opinion. /R

  18. Rick Laredo,

    I think this ignores the fact that a lot of people who don’t have an MOS as infantryman, or as military police, are being used in those roles anyway. This is true of at least two of my cousins right now.

  19. GG, in the military each MOS comes with the following ” and other duties as assigned.”. It’s a volunteer Army. The American public did not want a draft, remember the 60s and early 70’s. Sometimes you need to be careful of what you ask for, you may get it. /R

    P.S. Have you apologized to Shannon?

  20. Wasn’t it the Eastern front that Clink was always threatened with? Of course that meant the Russian front, but I don’t think General Hofstader(?) ever actually said “Russian”

    I realize I’m not contributing to the discussion, really, but I wanted to set the record strtaight.

  21. Seems like you all have missed the point. The retention NCO’s in this unit are asking (telling) the soldiers to sign on for another three years or be sent to Iraq with another unit which will keep them in the Army for at least another year.

    Say for example a soldier’s enlistment ends in November if that soldier fails to Re-up with his current unit, for three years, he will have to fulfill the rest of his contract through November with another unit and until that unit returns from Iraq. This is due to Stop-Loss which prevents soldiers from leaving at the end of there contract but rather when their unit returns from Iraq.

    Screwed either way…

  22. Vat is zis man doing here!!

  23. Rick L.

    “P.S. Have you apologized to Shannon?”

    No! Not yet.

    [thoreau]

    since I am answering a question directed at GG, please don’t say that I am also GG 🙂
    (although I do think you made a case for GG=JB)

  24. Compared to a draft army, a volunteer army needs
    1. Better leadership.
    2. A more credible national threat.
    3. Much more money.

    What else?

  25. I doubt the first two apply.
    I’m sure you need better leadership to effectively command people who are being forced to be there, rather than those who volunteered. Also, the credibility of the threat is something for Congress and the citizenry to figure out (theoretically. Every once in a while Ahmed Chalabi gets to decide), not the military, and I doubt whether you’re drafted or volunteer has much impact on your opinion of it.

    You do definitely need more money, though. Both for salaries and advertising. And you need to treat your employees well, since they (again, theoretically. Stop Loss is a magic wand) get to choose whether to leave or re-up at the end of contract.

  26. Rick Laredo,

    GG, in the military each MOS comes with the following ” and other duties as assigned.”. It’s a volunteer Army. The American public did not want a draft, remember the 60s and early 70’s. Sometimes you need to be careful of what you ask for, you may get it.

    Your statements are beside the point; your earlier argument was that a MOS determined where someone went; when in fact that’s not the case.

    P.S. Have you apologized to Shannon?

    Why would I apologize to her?

    zorel,

    You know, I think I can answer well enough for myself. 🙂

  27. Dave hit the nail on the head, precisely.

    As the wife of an NCO (who is furious by the way…and this doesn’t really affect him personally, he’s in until ’08), I have been hearing about this from day one.

    The first day, DH comes and says they had a briefing on the lack of morale in the unit and the commander wanted to know why. That’s when he unloaded about this reenlistment issue. It affects many soldiers who were planning on getting out of Dodge by the holidays. These guys served in Iraq and just came home barely 6 months ago and now they are being warned that if they don’t re-up they will be going back within a year of returning.

    He’s been ranting every day (and night) ever since.

    I have heard plenty of soldiers complain to me personally about this nonsense and some of them have even speculated on the things they would consider doing to get the Army to give them the boot, rather than keep them under any conditions.

    BTW, signing on the dotted line does not guarantee that a soldier will not see combat in Iraq, again. According to my sources (and they are pretty good…seeing as we live under the same roof), these guys WILL be going back…just not as early as some of the units they have been warned they could possibly, maybe, likely, be going to if they don’t reenlist.

    (I also have on good authority that a few soldiers will neither be voting for Bush nor Kerry…)

  28. COArmyWife,

    I’m not even in the military and that’s my plan. 🙂

  29. I wish more people would jump in here, but, COArmyWife, what do you hear of Dubya’s “secret” plan to have a really big call-up as soon as the election is over?
    If it’s true, then the parallels to VN will become more apparent to the Pollyannas.

  30. With regards to the more call-ups for reserve forces the regulations currently only allow a reservist to serve not more than 24 consecutive months or 24 months out of five years. With no evidence I would say that after the election this will no longer apply to reserves.

    Which really sucks for them and for their employers… But what can they do? Go to war or go to jail…

    My solution to this would be to Nuke Mecca to let the fundamentalists know we play hard ball. That would either divide or unite them all against us…

  31. RC-the logic doesn’t work. Combat units only want long-timers, so they send short-timers(who have been stop-lossed) to combat units.

    You are assuming that they will be transferred to combat units. Our army has a very long tail for every combat tooth – probably lots of in-demand MOS’s in Iraq that won’t involve combat.

    I’m not saying the outcome makes all that much sense, I’m just saying that it is a logical outcome for the Army bureaucracy. It also creates a no-win situation with the anti-war crowd – either “threaten” them (by giving full disclosure of their likely rotation), or “ambush/punish” them (by rotating them without full disclosure).

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