With Military Depleted, Bush Forces Marines to Return to Duty


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Wednesday, August 23, 2006 - 12:30am

With Military Depleted, Bush Forces Marines to Return to Duty

The Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) is a phrase you will get to know very well in the coming years.  For that is the name for American military forces who have returned to civilian lives, but can still be called back at any time.  See, there is an obscure rule when you sign up for the military that requires you to serve four years, but be available for up to eight.  That is the IRR.  It is used only in emergencies.


   That is the issue.  You don't tap into the IRR unless you absolutely have to.  Such is the case today.  President Bush approved of the involuntary Marine recall that will bring back 2.500 troops, but allow for many more.  The reason for this recall is a shortfall in the number of Marines that are needed.


Therein lies the problem.  I have no problem with the recall itself, but it exposes a glaring problem for the American forces.  They are stretched incredibly thin and are not able to fill all the positions they need. 


That fact should frighten all Americans.  The simple fact is that in times of war, less people volunteer to join the military.  Since we have been at war for nearly 3 1/2 years, that strain is beginning to show.  Less people are joining the armed forces and the military has had to expand the age requirements to make more people eligible and they've had to tap the IRR.


The longer the war goes on, the more stretched the military will become.  The eight year commitment that troops sign up for will expire and many will not re-up.  Many will continue to serve and we all must respect that, but it will not be enough.


The danger is not immediate, but if we do not get out of Iraq in the next few years, the days of the all-volunteer military will be over.  With such a large troop commitment in Iraq and elsewhere, the U.S. may be forced to re-institute a draft.  This will not happen tomorrow, but it will happen in the near future if things do not change.


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