19 October 2004

Global Limits

Oil production is nearly at its peak. Yet that shouldn't worry most readers today: the more pressing problem is the US military, which has clearly peaked and reached its limit.

Item 1: US military persuades UK troops in the south of Iraq to move up to the north, where most of the action is. Parliament will debate on this issue during the week (and I'll be updating on it).

Item 2: The elite force of the US army has just been despatched to Iraq. It's a little like sending your Top Henchman into battle after all your goons are slaughtered by some gung-ho fighter. Or sending Captain Freedom to finish off Arnold Schwarzenegger in the Running Man, because the entire cast of heroes have been killed...

As the Los Angeles Times puts it,

For years, The Box has been a stage for the Army's elite "opposition force" — soldiers expert at assuming the roles of enemy fighters, be they the Taliban or Iraqi insurgents. Their mission is to toughen new soldiers with elaborate simulations — staging sniper fire, riots, suicide car bombings and potentially dangerous culture clashes.

Staging such scenes has long been the work of the fabled 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, or Black Horse Regiment. But starting next month, the 3,500-member unit will begin shipping out to Iraq from the Ft. Irwin National Training Center, near Barstow. Deployments are nothing new in the Army, of course, but there is a special sense of urgency about dispatching the Black Horse to tackle situations that it has trained roughly 500,000 soldiers to handle since 1994. Now the bombs and bullets they encounter will be all too real.

"No one ever thought the Black Horse would be taken out of the National Training Center; they are just too valuable here," said Maj. John Clearwater. "But the Army is stretched too thin, and Iraq is a big mission."

The bottomline: a draft is imminent in America. It will happen regardless of who wins on 2 Nov. But maybe Kerry would have the decency to beg the United Nations and the Arab League to send in their soldiers.

No comments: