Monday, January 24, 2011

Cutting Costs

The State of the Union speech is coming up, and it will be interesting to hear just what President Obama has to say with respect to deficit reduction, which apparently concerns him more than any other issue. One area that I doubt will get much attention in the speech will be the billions we are spending on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. After all, most of the money being spent on the wars continue to be off-budget, thanks to an overly compliant Congress.

Well, I think we should keep in mind just how much of our national treasure is going to those two wars, and not just in dollars.

In its second-largest deployment since World War II, the Minnesota National Guard will send more than 2,400 troops to Iraq and Kuwait later this year. Members of the First Brigade Combat Team will provide base and convoy security as the United States begins its drawdown of troops in Iraq. ...

This will be the first deployment for about 60 percent of the soldiers, the second deployment for 23 percent and the third deployment for 12 percent. The soldiers come from 29 units in 27 Minnesota communities. The brigade will replace another Guard unit and be responsible for base security and camps in Kuwait. In addition, it will provide protection for daily convoys transporting equipment and troops out of Iraq as well as supplies into Iraq.
[Emphasis added]

Yes, we are drawing down the troops in Iraq, or at least beginning to, which may come as a surprise to many. We still have a sizable contingent in Iraq, and will continue to do so for years, according to the plans currently in place. We continue to rotate troops in and out of Iraq, much the way we rotate troops in and out of Afghanistan, even though the American public is sick to death of both misbegotten wars.

General Petraeus, the wunderkind of surges, is still the boss, and he sees no reason to pull out because ... well, I guess because he believes we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel and we still have some hearts and minds to win from those who survive the precision drone strikes.

So, while the Pentagon has been threatened with budget cuts even from the Tea Partiers, the wars will go on, and the soldiers will have to be housed, fed, supplied with weaponry, and treated for horrific injuries. And the money pipelines to Iraq and Afghanistan will stay wide open.

It really is a mad world.

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