Thursday, April 5, 2007

Bogged Down in Iraq, Marine Corps Readiness Suffers

The war in Iraq is degrading the readiness of the Marine Corps, the nation’s number one leatherneck, General James T. Conway, repeated on Wednesday, speaking to a group of Marines in Bahrain that were recently deployed to the Persian Gulf and will soon be headed for battle in Iraq.

“We’re not training for the other kinds” of combat that could arise at short notice, Gen. James T. Conway, commandant of the Marine Corps, told a group of Marines at the U.S. naval headquarters for the Persian Gulf.

“We are the nation’s shock troops,” he said, stressing that Marines have to be prepared to make amphibious landings and conduct operations that require training they are not getting now because Marine infantry and air units returning from Iraq have time only to get ready for their next tour of duty there.

“We’ve simply got to get back some of those skills,” like firing artillery, he said.

Four years of desert warfare have depleted personnel and materiel, and compromised the ability of the American forces to respond to threats both to the homeland and to other vital interests abroad.

Responding under current conditions would be more difficult and more costly than need be – in terms of both lives lost and the financial cost – and it would take much longer to respond and prevail.

[Originally posted at Watching Those We Chose]

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