National Guard: One Weekend a Month…And Two Years in Iraq

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Guard units who have already served their year in Iraq are headed back yet again. No one is surprised by redeployments at this point. But 14,000 National Guard troops? That’s a heck of a lot of one-weekend-a-monthers who have to, again, leave their real jobs and homes and lives for another tour of duty.

To date no National Guard brigades have been redeployed. Why? The Pentagon’s policy, in place since the Iraq invasion began, has been for Guard and Reserve units to be deployed for a maximum of 12 months every five years. The rest of those years the Guardsmen and women are supposed to be available to secure the homefront.

But when Bush announced his surge plan in January, that policy was obviously scratched. They’ve already sent active-duty troops back again and again, have increased incentives and slashed standards for recruits, without a draft where else would they turn?

Guard troops are not the only one’s suffering of course. Active duty troop deployments are now on the fast track. On Monday, the Pentagon said it would send about 4,500 active duty troops to Iraq within a year of their last deployment. The Pentagon’s goal for active-duty troops is two years at home for every one year deployed.

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