Administration Expected US Would Be Welcomed in Iraq - Back-Door Draft Affects Marines – Call-up of 2500 IRR Expected

Administration Expected US Would Be Welcomed in Iraq - Back-Door Draft Affects Marines – Call-up of 2500 IRR Expected

In what is being called a “back-door draft” by Pentagon critics, the Marine Corp plans to recall members of the Marine Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) to active duty. In a press release from the Marines, IRR members have “expressed little surprise.”

Earlier this week officials announced the decision to involuntarily activate up to 2,500 inactive reservists for 12 to 18 months of duty. Staff Sgt. Dwayne Benjamin says “When you did your first time around (on active duty), you know it was a possibility, and knowing that it was a possibility, it’s something that they should have always kept in mind.”

President Bush authorized the call-ups of the 58,000-member IRR pool in July, allowing 2,500 Marines to be involuntary called at any one time. The affected Marines will receive at least five months notice before they are required to report for active duty, officials said. Comment on this Article on our Forum

Earlier plans called for a troop reduction in Iraq, from 138,000 to 100,000 by the end of the year. The increased violence in Iraq and Afghanistan has changed those plans. In a report from the China Daily News agency, the army has already sent 2,200 reservists back to the front of which only about 350 went voluntarily.

John Pike, director of GlobalSecurity.org, a military think-tank in Washington, says the plan to reduce the number of troops has been scrapped. Pike says "Instead, they might bump up the numbers even further They are going to do whatever it takes to keep a lid on this damn thing in Baghdad, because if there's anywhere it's going to fly off the handle it's in Baghdad. Comment on this Article on our Forum

According to Gary Anderson, a retired marine colonel and now a Pentagon adviser on Iraq, "Quite frankly some of these guys have gone to Iraq two or three times, and they feel they've done their bit. It’s going to put a strain on them. Both people and equipment are getting worn out. There's an old saying - long wars ruin armies, and I think that's an accurate statement."

Normally, the compulsory mobilization of the IRR is done only in case of national emergency. The problem is that there are not enough reservists volunteers to fill the gaps in the Marines.

A similar situation has occurred in the Army. The Army Reserve reports that about 14,000 soldiers on ''inactive ready reserve'' status have been called to active duty since the start of the war in Iraq in March 2003. The Army also has used ''stop-loss orders'' to keep soldiers even after their active-duty commitments are done.

Back in February of 2003, General Eric K. Shinseki told a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing that several hundred thousand troops would be needed to secure Iraq. This angered Pentagon officials who estimated that only 100,000 troops would be needed, according to a report in the Allentown Morning Call.

In a House Budget Committee back in February of 2003, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said that because there was no history of ethnic strife in Iraq and Iraqi civilians would welcome an American-led liberation force, 100,000 troops would be sufficient. Comment on this Article on our Forum

By Dan Wilson
Best Syndication Staff Writer

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