A Strategic and Moral Crisis: An Interactive Graphic
After more than four years of combat operations in Iraq and six and a half years in Afghanistan, with a total of over 3,700 American dead and 27,000 wounded in Iraq alone, the Army is severely overstretched and its overall readiness clearly at risk. Sen. James Webb (D-VA) this week will offer key legislation that is vital to rebuilding the strength of our armed forces. Webb’s amendment to the 2008 Defense Authorization bill would require troops to spend at least as much time at home as they spend in combat.
The Webb amendment is an important step toward ensuring our future military readiness and overall national security against the rising threat of global terrorism. It will require that all active-duty troops have at least the same amount of time home as the length of their previous tour overseas. His amendment is also an important moral statement in support of our brave men and women in uniform and on the front lines serving their country abroad. As Center for American Progress Senior Fellow Lawrence J. Korb told the House Armed Services Committee earlier this year:
“The situation facing the ground forces is more than just a strategic crisis—it is a moral one as well. More and more of the burden of the war in Iraq is falling on the men and women in uniform who volunteered to serve this country, and we are putting them in harm’s way without all the preparation and dwell time they deserve.”
The Center’s interactive chart details the strain of repeated deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. Division by division, brigade by brigade, our chart breaks down all the available public information on deployment among the Army’s 14 divisions.
Click on the division insignia below to learn more.
For more precise casualty information by division, see icasualties. Most numbers as of 9/9/07.
Even before the “surge,” which moved 30,000 additional ground troops into Iraq, Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, conducted a review of the military that found military readiness in decline and concluded that the U.S. military would not be able to respond effectively if it were confronted with another crisis.
Since then, the troop escalation has forced Army commanders to cut additional corners on training and equipment. Even worse, the Bush administration made the unprecedented decision to extend the tours of Army brigades currently deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan from 12 months to 15 months.
Earlier this year, the Center for American Progress released “Beyond the Call of Duty: A comprehensive Review of the Overuse of the Army in Iraq,” which found that of the Army’s 44 combat brigades, all but the First Brigade of the Second Infantry Division, which is permanently based in South Korea, have served at least one tour in Iraq or Afghanistan. Following recent deployment announcements, of the 43 remaining brigades, eight have had only one tour in Iraq or Afghanistan, 17 will have had two tours, 13 have had three, and five brigades will have had four.
Congress must do everything in its power to diminish the damage to America’s Army now and in the future by requiring that all units deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan be “combat ready.” The Webb amendment is an important step in this direction.
For more on this topic, please see:
- Beyond the Call of Duty
- Strategic Reset: Reclaiming Control of U.S. Security in the Middle East
- How to Redploy: Implementing a Responsible Drawdown of U.S. Forces from Iraq
- The Cost of Staying the Course in Iraq
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