NO WAY OUT. A friend of mine was upset to learn that her son's deployment in Iraq has been extended, and now he won't be able to return in time to attend law school in the fall as he had hoped. Her son, who enlisted before September 11, is one of the many National Guardsmen whose tours have been extended to supply troops for the surge. It's important to remember that real families and soldiers will have to make sacrifices.
She forwarded me a notice sent to family members of National Guardsmen. Here is the full text of the email, which was sent out within hours of Bush's speech:
From: "Swanson, James L LTC NGMN"
Sent: Wednesday, January 10, 2007 9:27 PM
Subject: FW: EXTENSION OF 1 BCT OF MINNESOTA ON BEHALF OF MAJOR GENERAL SHELLITO (UNCLASSIFIED)
I have been made aware that the 1/34 BCT will be extended in Iraq for an unspecified period of time. We have not yet determined how this decision will affect the mission of the BCT, but will provide as much information as possible once the unit has been able to analyze any mission change and determine what information is appropriate to disseminate while maintaining operational security.
The President has given his message and the troops currently in Iraq are being extended. This includes 1st BCT!
Is this a raw deal? Of course! We have every right to be angry, but the reality is that the long awaited homecoming will be pushed back.
The message I want to give is that now, probably more than ever, is the time to reach out to each other and through mutual support, weather this set-back. I will be asking the State of Minnesota to step up to help the families of our soldiers. My hope is that this would help ease the burdens.
I am so proud of our soldiers and airment and their families. We owe all of you so much and will do our utmost to help you through this change and disappointment.
Please be sure to send this information to as many family members as possible so that they are receiving the information from our family vice hearing about it through the media.
Larry W. Shellito
MG, The Adjutant General
Minnesota National Guard
It's clear that even the higher-ups know the surge is a "raw deal" for an over-stretched military force and a bad idea all around.
-- Kay Steiger