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Thread: Strain on forces in the field at a five-year high

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    Strain on forces in the field at a five-year high

    Is it time to leave Afghanistan?

    S. troops fighting in Afghanistan are experiencing some of the greatest psychological stress and lowest morale in five years of fighting, reports a military study.

    By Eric Engman, AP

    The morale of troops in Afghanistan continues to plummet, despite greater focus on mental health care, a military study finds.

    The morale of troops in Afghanistan continues to plummet, despite greater focus on mental health care, a military study finds.


    "We're an Army that's in uncharted territory here," says Gen. Peter Chiarelli, Army vice chief of staff, who has focused on combat stress. "We have never fought for this long with an all-volunteer force that's 1% of the population."

    Mental health strain was most severe among veterans of three or more deployments, with a third of those showing signs of psychological problems defined as either stress, depression or anxiety, the report obtained by USA TODAY says.

    The research, based on a survey of soldiers and Marines in 2010, also found that the praise the troops have for their unit sergeants has never been higher as the United States approaches the 10th year of its longest war.

    The report says decline in individual morale is significant: 46.5% of troops said they had medium, high or very high morale, compared with 65.7% who said that in 2005. About one in seven soldiers and one in five Marines reported high or very high morale.


    Joint Mental Health Advisory Team 7, Operation Enduring Freedom
    President Obama ordered a surge of 30,000 troops into Afghanistan last year, bringing the total number to 100,000 troops. He said at the time that withdrawals would begin this July depending on security. The report says soldiers and Marines reported more intense fighting than during the surge in Iraq in 2006-07, with 75%-80% of those in Afghanistan involved in firefights.

    Half or more of those surveyed said they had killed the enemy, and 75%-80% described the death or wounding of a buddy. Half also said that an improvised explosive device detonated within 55 yards while they were on foot patrol. The study's researchers also found evidence of physical wear-and-tear with a third of the force experiencing chronic pain.

    "I'm not worried about our ability to continue the fight," Chiarelli says. "Folks who are coming home now are going to see that they're not going back for 24 months. And that hasn't been the way it's been for 10 years."

    Mental health staffing has doubled in Afghanistan since 2009 and troops report better access to this care, though many are so busy fighting "outside the wire" to seek help, the study says.

    "Having therapists forward, we're able to get them to talk to someone right away and intervene," says Kathleen Chard, a psychologist with the Department of Veterans Affairs who trains Army medics. "In as little as two to four sessions we can begin having an impact on these guys and women."

    The report noted that the emotional strain, while high, was lower than expected given the severity of combat evidence of a growing resilience in the force. And confidence in the command skills of squad and platoon leaders has never been higher at close to 50%, up from 38.6% in 2005.

    "They have learned to be leaders in a crucible," Chiarelli says. "And their soldiers have seen that."

    [url]http://www.usatoday.com/news/military/2011-05-08-troops-strain-morale-afghanistan_n.htm[/url]

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    This report won't stop or even slow down the warmongers

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    A couple of observations.
    1. We redeploy our men back to the combat zone too frequently and too many times. Should be [B]at least[/B] a two year period between deployments. When I served, there were no back to backs unless a person volunteered for it - lots of extra money.
    2. This survey is flawed. Half the troops could not have killed someone because only about 20%-25% of a force ever sees combat. The rest are support troops. It has always been this way.
    3. This is not the longest war featuring volunteers. That would be the Indian Wars which lasted from whenever you would define them from before the Civil War untill the mid 1880s. Their situation and conditions are a lot worse than the current soldiers.
    4. I believe the fact that it is an all volunteer force is a problem. You're just not getting the best people and their expectations are inflated.
    5. There are too many rules of engagement. Very frustrating for a soldier.

  4. #4
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    [QUOTE=Jetdawgg;4025425]This report won't stop or even slow down the warmongers[/QUOTE]

    I agree - Obama should do something.

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    [QUOTE=Green Jets & Ham;4025448]
    You see to end a war it takes both sides putting down their weapons, otherwise you're just a sitting duck.[/QUOTE]

    the jihadists are 6000 miles away. if we leave them alone they will leave us alone.

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    [QUOTE=bitonti;4025501]the jihadists are 6000 miles away. if we leave them alone they will leave us alone.[/QUOTE]

    Never Forget.

    I guess you already have.

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    [QUOTE=Revi$_I$l@nd;4025509]Never Forget.

    I guess you already have.[/QUOTE]


    contrary to popular belief

    the jihadists didn't just wake up one day, decide they hate our freedom and wanted to make 9-11.

    it was revenge for years of our meddling in their affairs... the USA has been involved with the middle east since 1930... not in good ways... We betrayed Bin Ladin when we fought a proxy war through him and the mujahadin against USSR. and then abandoned him after the Berlin wall fell. there was a time Bin Ladin was a trusted Ally. We armed and trained his troops.

    it's been revenge ever since...

    never forget became never stop waging war

    read the top article, it's not a valid strategy
    Last edited by bitonti; 05-10-2011 at 02:06 PM.

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    I'm glad you live in a world filled with sunshine, rainbows and kittens...

    Enjoy.

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    [QUOTE=Revi$_I$l@nd;4025537]I'm glad you live in a world filled with sunshine, rainbows and kittens...

    Enjoy.[/QUOTE]

    read a history book sometime

    time didn't start in 2001.

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    [QUOTE=bitonti;4025539]read a history book sometime

    time didn't start in 2001.[/QUOTE]

    So there's something in a history book that's going to tell me if we leave the ME, they'll never attempt to inflict terror upon this nation...

    I wish I had your outlook on life. Sadly, I live in reality.

  11. #11
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    [QUOTE=bitonti;4025529]contrary to popular belief

    the jihadists didn't just wake up one day, decide they hate our freedom and wanted to make 9-11.

    it was revenge for years of our meddling in their affairs... the USA has been involved with the middle east since 1930... not in good ways... We betrayed Bin Ladin when we fought a proxy war through him and the mujahadin against USSR. and then abandoned him after the Berlin wall fell. there was a time Bin Ladin was a trusted Ally. We armed and trained his troops.

    it's been revenge ever since

    [/QUOTE]

    Bin Laden was never a trusted ally. The CIA had allies in Pakistan who pulled the strings in Afghanistan, but none of then were ever "trusted". The dynamic between the CIA, the ISI, and the Afghan rebels was one of constant suspicion in the 80s. Our intelligence guys were able to count on some of them, but Bin Laden was part of the radical jihadists from the beginning, issuing fatwas and expanding his influence through media. The problem was, the CIA never took radical Islam seriously. Ironically, it was the Soviets who were most worried about the spread of fanaticism.

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    [QUOTE=palmetto defender;4025438]A couple of observations.
    1. We redeploy our men back to the combat zone too frequently and too many times. Should be [B]at least[/B] a two year period between deployments. When I served, there were no back to backs unless a person volunteered for it - lots of extra money.
    2. This survey is flawed. Half the troops could not have killed someone because only about 20%-25% of a force ever sees combat. The rest are support troops. It has always been this way.
    3. This is not the longest war featuring volunteers. That would be the Indian Wars which lasted from whenever you would define them from before the Civil War untill the mid 1880s. Their situation and conditions are a lot worse than the current soldiers.
    4. I believe the fact that it is an all volunteer force is a problem. You're just not getting the best people and their expectations are inflated.
    5. There are too many rules of engagement. Very frustrating for a soldier.[/QUOTE]

    That number is accurate for the Marines. 70%-75% of the Marines see combat action and a great deal have killed someone over there.

    The Marines fight battles, the Army fights the sustainable war. Therein lies the difference in troop combat activity.

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    [QUOTE=quantum;4025442]I agree - Obama should do something.[/QUOTE]

    He will, we will fight Pakistan next

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    [QUOTE=Jetdawgg;4025569]That number is accurate for the Marines. 70%-75% of the Marines see combat action and a great deal have killed someone over there.

    The Marines fight battles, the Army fights the sustainable war. Therein lies the difference in troop combat activity.[/QUOTE]


    I was an Army guy, never a Marine. My father was a Marine. Other family members were Marines. They have a slightly higher percentage of combat people but it is still well below 50%.
    I admire Marines but I always believed they did not do their people justice.
    Marines have always been sent into battle with inferior equipment. Marines are always younger than their Army counterparts - that includes enlisted men as well as officers (for the units they command). I found Marine officers to be underprepared.
    KIA ages (and ranks) for Marines are always younger than the other services. Cannon fodder. I always thought it was criminal bravado by the Corps leaders.

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    [QUOTE=Revi$_I$l@nd;4025562]So there's something in a history book that's going to tell me if we leave the ME, they'll never attempt to inflict terror upon this nation...

    I wish I had your outlook on life. Sadly, I live in reality.[/QUOTE]

    is there something in a history book that says if we stay in the ME forever they'll never attempt to terrorize?

    there are no guarantees in life... all we can look at is history... those that don't recognize the mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat them.

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    [QUOTE=Jetdawgg;4025570]He will, we will fight Pakistan next[/QUOTE]

    Well, that's what happens when you launch military operations in a foreign country w/o that country's permission. I'm sure there will be calls for a war crimes trial...

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    [QUOTE=quantum;4026170]Well, that's what happens when you launch military operations in a foreign country w/o that country's permission. I'm sure there will be calls for a war crimes trial...[/QUOTE]

    Let's invade Pakistan by sending millions of teenagers over there to run their gas stations and we will ask them to leave if they are not "buying anything from my store"...

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    [QUOTE=palmetto defender;4026014]I was an Army guy, never a Marine. My father was a Marine. Other family members were Marines. They have a slightly higher percentage of combat people but it is still well below 50%.
    I admire Marines but I always believed they did not do their people justice.
    Marines have always been sent into battle with inferior equipment. Marines are always younger than their Army counterparts - that includes enlisted men as well as officers (for the units they command). I found Marine officers to be underprepared.
    KIA ages (and ranks) for Marines are always younger than the other services. Cannon fodder. I always thought it was criminal bravado by the Corps leaders.[/QUOTE]

    Good chat here. The numbers that they are stating is the total number of Marines that go the war theaters. Not the total number of the aggregate USMC.

    The USMC is not a place for justice:D

    A great deal of the equipment is more than likely older than the Army equipment. The budget is less, significantly less.

    Marines are generally younger. You cannot enter the USMC if you are older than age 29 without prior service or a special waiver. I think that the Army is now 42 years of age.

    There are a few Marine officers that are generally bullies to E-4's and below because they can get away with it. Funny that after I became an E-5 those officers that did not know me, treated me a lot different. Moreover, the officers that I meet now that I am out tell me a lot of things about being a Marine officer.:yes:

    KIA's are again due to the youthfulness of the USMC. Plus once again, we fight battles (Fallujah, Helmond Province, Al-Anbar, Iwo Jima, Tarawa, Belleau Woods) and not the sustained battle. It is our mission to go in and clean a place out.

    In football there are run stoppers. In war, there has to be bullet stoppers. America calls them Marines. It is the smallest branch. It has the lowest life expectancy in combat. The most difficult to become a member of. We get the smallest amount of the DOD budget.

    It is a strange breed of men and women:yes: When there is no war, most Marines will get out. When there is a war, we have the highest enlistment rate. Go figure.:confused:

    Thanks for your service.

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    [QUOTE=PlumberKhan;4026173]Let's invade Pakistan by sending millions of teenagers over there to run their gas stations and we will ask them to leave if they are not "buying anything from my store"...[/QUOTE]

    can we "weeze the juice"?

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    [QUOTE=quantum;4026170]Well, that's what happens when you launch military operations in a foreign country w/o that country's permission. [B][COLOR="Red"]I'm sure there will be calls for a war crimes trial[/COLOR][/B]...[/QUOTE]

    If Bin Laden did not get killed the republicans would be all over that:D

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