Thursday, September 14, 2006

Who's bad for defense?

Although things may have started to change lately, one area that Republicans have had an edge over Democrats lately in the polls is national defense. New evidence shows that this is one more area in which Republicans can't be trusted.

Here are a few of the facts:

* Fully two-thirds of the active U.S. Army is officially classified as "not ready for combat."

* The National Guard is "in an even more dire situation than the active Army but both have the same symptoms; I just have a higher fever."

* The Army has almost no nondeployed combat-ready brigades at its disposal.

* The equipment in Iraq is wearing out at four to nine times the normal peacetime rate because of combat losses and harsh operating conditions.

* The total Army--active and reserve--now faces at least a $50 billion equipment shortfall.

* After failing to meet its recruitment target for 2005, the Army raised the maximum age for enlistment from 35 to 40 in January--only to find it necessary to raise it to 42 in June.

* The number of Army recruits who scored below average on its aptitude test doubled in 2005, and the Army has doubled the number of non-high school graduates it can enlist this year.

* Basic training, which has, for decades, been an important tool for testing the mettle of recruits, has increasingly become a rubber-stamping ritual. Through the first six months of 2006, only 7.6 percent of new recruits failed basic training, down from 18.1 percent in May 2005.

* Thousands of white supremacists may have been able to infiltrate the military due to pressure from recruitment shortfalls.

Howard Dean used to point out that the Republicans can't be trusted with our money. Now we know they also can't be trusted to keep our people safe.


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