RealNews

Stretched Thin

The yellow ribbons along the main street of this coastal military town are tied to palm trees instead of oaks, but the idea is the same. They went up a year ago, as Camp Pendleton’s marines began deploying to the Kuwaiti desert. They hung as the troops fought and died during the assault on Baghdad. And they hung during the “Freedom Parade” (the name changed after the Pentagon forbade a “Victory Parade”), when returning marines marched triumphantly past the cheering families, past the diners, past the military surplus stores and pawn shops with “Welcome Home Marines” signs proudly displayed in the windows. More important, though, the return of the marines is a sign of a stark reality in today’s military: There are few people left to send. The U.S. military that cashed in the peace dividend at the end of the Cold War is now straining to pay the bills. It’s a problem not of money but of manpower. Full Story

OODA Analyst

OODA Analyst

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