Officers educated at the elite West Point academy are leaving at a rate not seen in 30 years, with the consequence that the US army has a shortfall of 3,000 commissioned officers
In today's issue of the Observer, Peter Beaumont in Baghdad reports that the US occupation army is enervated, all petered and in crisis: "Exhaustion and combat stress are besieging US troops in Iraq as they battle with a new type of warfare. Some even rely on Red Bull to get through the day. As desertions and absences increase, the military is struggling to cope with the crisis".
Excerpts : "The anecdotal evidence on the ground confirms what others -prominent among them General Colin Powell, the former US Secretary of State - have been insisting for months now: that the US army is 'about broken'. Only a third of the regular army's brigades now qualify as combat-ready. Officers educated at the elite West Point academy are leaving at a rate not seen in 30 years, with the consequence that the US army has a shortfall of 3,000 commissioned officers - and the problem is expected to worsen".
"The army's exhaustion is reflected in problems such as the rate of desertion and unauthorised absences - a problem, it was revealed earlier this year, that had increased threefold on the period before the war in Afghanistan and had resulted in thousands of negative discharges"
"In a radio interview, America's 'war tsar' Lieutenant General Douglas Lute has called for the nation's political leaders to consider bringing back the draft to help a military exhausted by wars in Iraq and Afghanistan".