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" May No Soldier Go Unloved "

   
 
Wednesday, July 16, 2003
 
Boston.com / Latest News / Washington / US forces should expect year-long duty in Iraq, commander says: "US forces should expect year-long duty in Iraq, commander says
By Associated Press, 7/16/2003 14:39
WASHINGTON (AP) U.S. forces should be braced for spending a year on duty in Iraq, the new U.S. commander for the region said Wednesday.
Gen. John Abizaid said military planners are working to bring home some units quickly, such as the Army's 3rd Infantry Division. But yearlong deployments are a possibility, at least until the situation in Iraq becomes more stable, he told reporters during a Pentagon briefing.
''Looking at what I contemplate being the force levels for a while, probably for the next 90 days, we need to probably say to our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines, 'Here's the maximum extent of your deployment. If we can get you home sooner, we will,''' Abizaid said.
Year-long deployments, a norm during the Vietnam War, have been rare in recent years. The 1st Armored Division served in Bosnia for a year during the 1990s, Abizaid said.
''So we've done it before, and we can do it again,'' he said.
The vast majority of the Air Force and Navy units that fought in the war left the area weeks ago. The 3rd Infantry's return is an especially sore point, because soldiers and their families believed they would return home once major fighting in Baghdad ended. Abizaid said the infantry would definitely be out of Iraq by September"
 
Boston.com / Latest News / Washington / US forces should expect year-long duty in Iraq, commander says: "US forces should expect year-long duty in Iraq, commander says
By Associated Press, 7/16/2003 14:39
WASHINGTON (AP) U.S. forces should be braced for spending a year on duty in Iraq, the new U.S. commander for the region said Wednesday.
Gen. John Abizaid said military planners are working to bring home some units quickly, such as the Army's 3rd Infantry Division. But yearlong deployments are a possibility, at least until the situation in Iraq becomes more stable, he told reporters during a Pentagon briefing.
''Looking at what I contemplate being the force levels for a while, probably for the next 90 days, we need to probably say to our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines, 'Here's the maximum extent of your deployment. If we can get you home sooner, we will,''' Abizaid said.
Year-long deployments, a norm during the Vietnam War, have been rare in recent years. The 1st Armored Division served in Bosnia for a year during the 1990s, Abizaid said.
''So we've done it before, and we can do it again,'' he said.
The vast majority of the Air Force and Navy units that fought in the war left the area weeks ago. The 3rd Infantry's return is an especially sore point, because soldiers and their families believed they would return home once major fighting in Baghdad ended. Abizaid said the infantry would definitely be out of Iraq by September"
 
FRANCE FREAKING STINKS
New York City - France Unwilling to Send Troops to Iraq: "France Unwilling to Send Troops to Iraq
Refusal attributed to lack of UN order leading occupation

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By Timothy M. Phelps
Washington Bureau Chief

July 16, 2003


Washington -- France Tuesday joined a chorus of countries unwilling to send troops to Iraq, even as military analysts said some U.S. forces' morale was reaching a breaking point.

French President Jacques Chirac said sending French troops to Iraq 'cannot be imagined in the current context.' India shocked Washington Monday by refusing to send an expected division of 17,000 troops, joining Germany and other countries that have not been identified by the Pentagon.

According to a senior European diplomat in Washington, the French refusal, like those of Germany and India, was based on the lack of a United Nations mandate governing the military occupation of Iraq.

Also Tuesday, the Pentagon continued to issue contradictory statements about when the Army's 3rd Infantry Division, which spearheaded the assault on Iraq in March, would return to the United States. Parts of the division were first deployed in the Middle East last fall, and its soldiers originally had been expected to come home shortly after Baghd"
 
Yahoo! News - GIS: WHY CAN'T WE COME HOME?
Op/Ed - New York Post

GIS: WHY CAN'T WE COME HOME?
Wed Jul 16, 3:50 AM ET Add Op/Ed - New York Post to My Yahoo!


By JONATHAN FOREMAN

IN THE towns and sub urbs around Fort Stewart, Ga., there are banners welcoming home the heroes of the Army's 3rd Infantry Division.


But the "3ID" - the mechanized division that raided and captured the center of Baghdad back in April, bringing the war to a close six weeks earlier than Central Command expected - isn't coming home any time soon.


Yes, on July 9, Donald Rumsfeld told the Senate Armed Services Committee (news - web sites) that the 3ID would at last be home by September.


But four days later, the Pentagon (news - web sites) suddenly, quietly changed its mind, informing the stunned troops and their shocked families that the return home of its 1st and 2nd Brigades has been postponed "indefinitely."


The wives of the men in these units are up in arms, sending letters to congressmen, the media and anyone who will listen.


"We've contacted senators, celebrities, even companies like Harley-Davidson," Spreanna Pomroy, whose husband is in the division's 1/9 Field Artillery, told The Post.


The reason she and others are so angry is that this is the second postponement of the division's departure. These 9,000 men and women, most of whom have been in the Persian Gulf since September, were due to come home by the end of May.





And the fact is that with the exception of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, most of the units that played a key role in the war's big battles have come home.


But because they had done such a good job stabilizing key areas of the Iraqi capital, the Army delayed the division's departure for 90 days and sent them to pacify the restive towns of Falluja and Habbaniyeh.


There, too, they have done a superb job, their prior peacekeeping experience in Bosnia and Kosovo as well as their combat experience during the war, enabling them to win hearts and minds while intimidating would-be resisters.


But now these men are exhausted.


E-mails and phone calls received by The Post from troops in the 2nd Brigade as well as their wives tell of whole units being put on suicide watch.


A "to whom it may concern" letter presumably written by a 3ID officer or noncommissioned officer, and signed "the soldiers of 2nd Brigade, 3rd ID" is being circulated by wives of the men in the Iraq (news - web sites).


The soldier writes: "Our morale is not high or even low. Our morale is non-existent . . . The 3rd Infantry Division soldiers feel betrayed, and forgotten."


The 3ID has done a great job, but it's hard to believe that no other unit can take its place. As one Army wife said to me, "Can't they just bring them home for 90 days of stabilization leave to see their families and then send them back?"


(Jonathan Foreman was embedded with troops attached to the 3rd Infantry Division from March to May)


 

 
   
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