I’m interested in yesterday’s House vote guaranteeing time at home for troops returning from Iraq for personal reasons. As I’ve written before, I have two brothers in the military. My 19-year-old brother is in the Marines. He just left for Iraq for the first time. This concerns me, even though he’s beyond excited about going. He’s in for a shock, of course. But this bill isn’t geared¹ to him.
My brother in the Navy left for Iraq on Monday. This is obviously an occupational hazard, so as much as he is realistic and uninterested in returning, he must follow orders. Within the context of the House’s bill, my brother is returning to Iraq six weeks after returning home from his first tour. He will probably not be in Iraq more than a few months, but he barely settled in and unpacked. How long do the president and the Congress think this can continue if most service members think like my brother in the Navy rather than my brother in the Marines?
¹ I understand that the bill is directed at one man only, President Bush. It’s a cowardly political move aimed at shaming Republicans rather than having Democrats lead. Democrats must stop believing the president’s rhetoric about presidential power for war-making.