Rolling StoneIt was said that we got into Vietnam to save Vietnam, but we got out to save the Army. Have we reached that point in Iraq?
[Rep. Jack Murtha] Yes, we have. The Army is broken. Today we're 112,000 soldiers short in critical specialties. They're paying bonuses up to $150,000 for a person to go into the service. The National Guard is meeting only eighty percent of its goal nationwide -- and to get the other twenty percent, they've lowered the standards to take those least qualified. All these things put together means an army stretched too thin.
Long-term, we've got a $50 billion shortfall in equipment. I've visited three bases: Hood, Bragg, Stewart. I found shortages everyplace. Infrastructure shortages. Equipment shortages. Troops going to Iraq were C4 -- that's the lowest state of readiness. The reason is, they didn't have equipment to train on. They didn't have radios, they didn't have vehicles they needed to train on before they left. The equipment is worn out.
I'm concerned for the future of the country. We couldn't deploy against a major conventional force if we had to right now. I don't know what the threat might be ten years from now, but we gotta prepare for that threat. And we're not able to because we've spent so much on this war.
This is the point the Republicans just don't get. You can't fight every war you might want to. But you better be ready to fight the ones you have to. Thanks to Iraq, we could not handle any other conflict. Thanks to Iraq, the army is no more than 6 months to a year from getting a case of Vietnam syndrome. Haditha may be a sign that it's already begun.