DailyKos maintains that
We know that recruitment is at crisis levels. We know that deaths and injuries are depleting our ranks. We know that at least 5,000 soldiers have deserted.
And the bad news keeps on coming.
Last year, Army lieutenants and captains left the service at an annual rate of 8.7% -- the highest since 2001. Pentagon officials say they expect the attrition rate to improve slightly this year. Yet interviews with several dozen military officers revealed an undercurrent of discontent within the Army's young officer corps that the Pentagon's statistics do not yet capture.
Young captains in the Army are looking ahead to repeated combat tours, years away from their families and a global war that their commanders tell them could last for decades. Like other college grads in their mid-20s, they are making decisions about what to do with their lives.
And many officers, who until recently had planned to pursue careers in the military, are deciding that it's a future they can't sign up for.
There's a word for what's happening to our military: "hollow army". We experienced it after Vietnam, and Bush is busy recreating that experience.
But despite the personnel crisis faced by our armed forces, the War Preachers, War Politicians, War Pundits, and the 101st Fighting Keyboardists still refuse to call for sacrifice. They refuse to urge their followers and readers to enlist in their cause. They, themselves, refuse to serve. They'd rather others suffer the consequences of their neocon fantasies.
We no longer have a volunteer army capable of meeting the requirements of their military adventures. Yet they refuse a call to arms.
How do pro-war conservatives respond to the shortfall the Army is experiencing? Well, we have a start by the Commander-in-Chief, who spoke to young people graduating college:
"As your generation takes its place in the world, all of you must make this decision: Will you be a spectator or a citizen?" Bush asked about 900 seniors graduating from this liberal arts college.
In his commencement speech, Bush mentioned advancing freedom around the world and voiced his support for faith-based, or religious, groups getting involved in social service.
Bush's actual call for young people to devote themselves to community service is not reproduced, but it's clear that he was not asking people to sign up for military service. The piece is mainly concerned about the protesters who marred the ceremony and only minimally about what Bush said. The site I reproduced a section from below, Newsmax, doesn't seem terribly concerned about the Army's manpower shortage either. Here are their top stories of the day for 23May05:
Evangelicals Targeting Ivy League
Pirro Moves to Challenge Hillary Clinton
Mass. Justice: I 'Cherish' Judicial Activism
Charge Your Credit Card for Israel
Steve Roberts: DeLay Deserves Jail
Tillmans: Army Disgraced Memory of Pat
Sex Offenders Get Medicaid Viagra
Tim Russert Rips Howard Dean Apart
Clinton Criticized for Charging Charity
Poll: Byrd Vulnerable in 2006
Frist Said to Have 'Nuclear Option' Votes
Ethics Committee to Probe Harry Reid
DA Pressured to Quit Over DeLay Remark
Al-Jazeera Nixes Saddam Pics
Schwarzenegger on Fund Drive
And just for the fun of it, here are what their individual writers had to say
LeBoutillier: Major Political Issues
Farber: Civilized vs. Uncivilized
Metcalf: Don't Expand Patriot Act
Weyrich: Bush Apologizes for Yalta
de Borchgrave: On a Terrorist List
Horowitz: The End of Time
Williams: Muslim Women Enslaved
Putnam: Supporting Tom Tancredo
Estrich: Frist, DeLay Move GOP
Navrozov: Thoughts on Hitler
Not much about the manpower shortage there. Let's see what Free Republic has to say:
Latest on Newsweek's Treasonous Koran Scandal
Latest News on Hillary Scandals
Latest News on Tom DeLay
Latest News on Bolton Confirmation
Well, how about their News / Activism, Front Page News section?
Anti-Hijab Party Wins Elections, Schroeder Calls Snap Polls (Germany May Be Waking)
Chavez considers breaking US ties (There's One Born Every Day)
Nelson Mandela’s son-in-law wanted for rape in Connecticut (judge let him leave the country)
CRYING FOR STANDARDS - Kosovo
Rather Praises Mapes, CBS News: "Kingdom of Journalistic Knights"
U.N. Forces Using Tougher Tactics to Secure Peace
Sticky wicket in Koran story
Court Dismisses Death Row Rights Appeal
India's BJP sees ISI hand in theatre blasts-'Blasts are a conspiracy': Sikh group
The price of Asian conflict
What are TownHall's most emailed articles of the day?
Ann Coulter: Newsweek dissembled, Muslims dismembered!
Michelle Malkin: It's not just Newsweek
Thomas Sowell: Big-time bigotry
Jeff Jacoby: Why Islam is disrespected
Dennis Prager: Newsweek and the rioters
Thomas Sowell: The Senate's 'Dirty Harry'
Thomas Sowell: Newsweak?
Mike S. Adams: The University of Nude Caucasians at Wilmington
Mike S. Adams: Silence that kills
Phyllis Schlafly: Bush buries the shame of Yalta
Jonah Goldberg: Invasion of the America Snatchers
Brent Bozell: No riots for Hollywood
Mona Charen: Caution: Muslims easily inflamed
Charles Krauthammer: Nuclear? No, Restoration
Walter E. Williams: Ripping off the system
Caroline B. Glick: Israel's immigration idiocy
Rebecca Hagelin: The power of parenting
Doug Giles: Developing the Disaster Master Mind
Marvin Olasky: Unanswered questions about Newsweek's false story
Seems their main concern is that Newsweek isn't toeing the line, that Newsweek is proving to be an insufficiently patriotic citizen and failing to do it's part to convince everybody that things are going swell in Iraq. In short, it's only the progressives/liberals/leftists who appear to be concerned about the manpower shortage that's now breaking the Army and that's leaving it a hollowed-out force. The problem here is that officers, both commissioned and non-commissioned, are not produced overnight. The Navy has requirements for making rank that can get a person advanced rapidly, but "Time in Rate" is also an important consideration. An officer or petty officer needs to spend time in the job, grasping the subtleties of leadership and the technical aspects of his or her job before they become good at it. If people drop out of the service and go off to pursue other careers because the Army is looking like a lousy place to raise a family from, where casualties return to the USA in the dead of the night, without the traditional recognitions they deserve, where the wealthy don't sign up to join their less-fortunate brothers and sisters, where the war just appears to be grinding down people with no end in sight, it's not terribly surprising that the Army will start showing signs of severe strain over the next decade or two as a thinned-out officer corps takes command after the next several years.
For those of us who advocate for a stronger military, part of the problem is the actual physical shape of the Army, the hollowed-out force that we're now defending our country with. The other part is that if the Army feels that it's being carelessly used with no consideration for it's people (See complaints about lack of armor for Humvees) then morale will go down and effectiveness will go down with it.