The Pentagon's Manpower Crisis
The Pentagon is continuing to fight the war in Iraq, by controlling the way it is perceived at home in the press. I have a plea to the people of the press who read this: PLEASE DO NOT LET THIS SLIP OUT OF THE NEWS! This is a very important story -- much more important than the Michael Jackson trial -- (the top story right now on cnn.com, intentionally not hyperlinked).
Military recruiting numbers are deep into the Porta-Potty. We have a manpower crisis on our hands. The Army is already 16 percent short of its year-to-date goal. Mark my word, when the Pentagon does release the May figures they are going to be bad--real bad. The Army will miss its numbers for the fourth straight month in a row.
They were short last month by a whopping 42 percent. Let's break that percentage down. For April, the active-duty Army was short of its target of 6,600 by 3,379. Think about that. 3,379 short. It's not like we need millions of bodies here. Just 3,379. We are at war, we have a population of over 290 million people, and we can't get 3,379 people to join the fight? Wow.
We would have an easier time convincing parents to send their kids to the Neverland ranch for a sleepover party.
The all-volunteer military has been run into the ground and is now broken. Don't let the Pentagon deceive you. There is indeed a manpower shortage. A "special skills draft" could be right around the corner. All you doctors, computer experts, pilots, police officers and firefighters had better take notice.
But the Pentagon and White House continue to piss on our heads and tell us that it's raining:
"Military recruiting is instrumental to our readiness and merits the earliest release of data. But at the same time, this information must be reasonably scrutinized and explained to the public, which deserves the fullest insight into military performance in this important area," Air Force Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke said.
Huh? This lady must have graduated from the Donald Rumsfeld School for the Intentionally Disingenuous.
This is total bullshit. What the statement really means is that the Pentagon has a strategy to spin the bad numbers and release them when they want to. This entire story is an example of damage control to the fullest. Krenke and her buddies in the Pentagon have the power of a total stranglehold on information given out to the media. They used that power to delay the release of the data until today, June 10.
Wondering why June 10?
Because today is a Friday. That is always the best day of the week to release bad news. On Friday most reporters are leaving work early, going to softball games, or doing time for protecting sources. The story about the Army missing their numbers will run on Saturday, June 11 (probably on page 12, with the names of the dead), when nobody is reading the newspaper or watching TV. It is by far the lowest newspaper circulation day of the week. So by the time Monday the 13th rolls around, and everybody is back to reading the paper and watching the news, America will have a much different, much bigger story to be force-fed, like the latest development in the case of the "runaway bride."
And you won't even notice that we don't have enough people to fight our wars.
Paul Rieckhoff is the executive director and founder of Operation Truth, and a veteran of the war in Iraq, where he served as a platoon leader with the Third Infantry Division.