Iraq 101: Putting A GI Back Together Again

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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.”


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Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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