Real Wealth Society

Thursday, December 21, 2006

I’ve been thinking about deployments By Fred Cederholm

Column for on/after Dec. 17th, 2006

I’ve been thinking about deployments. Actually I’ve been thinking about 2006, activations, the election promises, Baker-Hamilton, “Greetings…,” and Peace on Earth. Around Christmas time I tend to reflect on what transpired since the prior Yuletide. As we approach the end of calendar 2006, the old maxim “the more things change, the more they stay the same” seems to sum up this year that just was.

You see, the word “deployment” appears innocuous enough, but there serious implications and ramifications far beyond the core dictionary definition of some generic movement and/or allocation of personnel and equipment. Deployment is now the buzzword used by Uncle $ugar’s talking heads and those of the media to refer to an activation, a re-activation, or a re-re-activation to military duty in the guerilla killing zones of the Middle East. 20,000 US troops in Afghanistan and 152,000 US troops in Iraq just isn’t enough to do “the job” – whatever “the job” is now. We have gone from terrorist stopping to dictator ousting to democracy building to keeping the lid on things until we can (find somebody else to take over and let US/us) get out. Now we are told that more troops are required to complete “our mission.” Current scuttlebutt is that an additional 20,000 to 50,000 more troops will be activated and deployed in the coming weeks and months. Notifications of this escalation are already in the works.

We just got thru a national election which bordered on a civil war (of words, ideologies, and philosophies). The public was not pleased with where we were and where we were headed as a nation so the congressional majorities shifted from the party of the elephant to the party of the donkey. I thought the election had just showed a groundswell of voter dissatisfaction with “management” of our national finances, with “management” of our domestic disaster relief performance, with “management” of our nation’s image in the world at large, and with “management” of our undeclared wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Did I miss something because I don’t see a whole lot of changes on the horizon for any of these?

We are told that Congress left DC for the Christmas/New Year recess approving only an interim funding resolution to keep the government “operating” thru February. We are told nothing about what was going to be done about the 100’s of thousands of victims “deployed” elsewhere in the aftermath of Katrina/Rita. We are told nothing about restoring our national reputation/ image within the wider community of nations. We are told – however - that the Department of Defense needs an additional (and immediate) $100+ Billion in funding to continue these undeclared wars. We are also told that to cut back on our troop deployments we will first need to activate and “deploy” an additional 20,000 to 50,000 service men and women. Just what has changed? It seems just more of the same old, same old to me.

The report of the bi-partisan Baker-Hamilton commission on Iraq was finally made public. There were loads of photo ops, sound bites, and pundit ink generated because of it. I wonder how many of these beltway bodies read it and thought about what the recommendations and fact summaries said. Sure… there were a bunch of “polite” thank you’s from the President (and his remaining cohorts) as well as the old (and new) congressional leadership; yet… when you don’t get the answer you want from an “outside” source, why is the response always: “needs further evaluation, study, or consideration?”

The salutation “Greetings…” appears on so many holiday cards, in so many print fonts, and in so many colors. The message it portends should instill a sense of love, of joy, and of happiness. But… there is a darker side to the “Greetings…” messages which will arrive at thousands of addresses across the land during this holiday season of 2006. If perchance the missive comes from the Department of Defense’s military branches (or from any of the fifty state’s reserve units), it will more than likely NOT be received with the same warm emotions as one from family, friends, or neighbors. In this case, it will signify activation to duty, a deployment, a re-deployment, or a re-re-deployment far away from home, hearth, and loved ones. I remember when such “Greetings…” routinely appeared in the mailboxes of my generation some thirty to forty years ago. Back then, a local draft board could also be the sender.

Christmas celebrates the historical birth of the Prince of Peace over 2,000 years ago in the little town of Bethlehem. The birth of any child brings smiles, hopes, and dreams; but the birth of Jesus the Christ embodies so much more for those of the Christian faith. Central to the festivities are thoughts of “Peace on Earth” and “Goodwill to (all) Mankind” – at least they should be. How have we gotten so far astray from those messages this Christmas of 2006? We the People… spoke loudly on November 7th, has anybody been listening? I’m Fred Cederholm and I’ve been thinking. You should be thinking, too.
Copyright 2006 Questions, Inc. All rights reserved.

To “audit this column and to learn more about the subjects discussed, please check out:

US Forces Order of Battle

With Military Straining In Iraq, Troop Limits Affecting Strategy

Army Moves to Reduce Strain on Troops

Powell Says: “a temporary U.S. troop surge probably would not help.”

Congress's Inaction Threatens Funding

Most relief funding has yet to reach Katrina victims

Looming Iraq funding bill to test Democrats,1299,DRMN_16_5182571,00.html
Despite a $168B budget, Army faces cash crunch
Pentagon eyes $468.9 bln budget for fiscal 2008
Options Weighed for Surge in G.I.’s to Stabilize Iraq
A Call to Hussein-Era Soldiers: Iraqi Premier Urges Members of Disbanded Army to Join New Force

Baker-Hamilton Report – The Iraq Study Group Report (full text – pdf file)

Baker-Hamilton Report (Google search/web) – 2,080,000 entries

Baker-Hamilton Report (Google search/news) – 13,500 entries


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