Monday, July 19, 2004
( 8:53 AM )
Bye Bye Oregonians
100 More Oregonians have been called up for service in Iraq this week. They will be gone (supposedly) no longer than 18 months.
Oregon has lost an inordinate amount of troops this year, in comparison to our population. Of course, most of these Oregon National Guard troops are coming from rural areas - places without established support services for their families, places where their families will struggle financially without their spouse's income, and places where it's easy to ignore (of course till more coffins come home). Oregon's governor has been one of the only to attend every single funeral of a killed Oregonian in Iraq - and he's been busy the last few months. These additional call-ups further thin our police, fireman and other first responders - the people who are most often in the Guard and Reserve.
The deployment is part of the Pentagon's efforts to rotate fresh troops into Iraq, Braibish said. Tasks the soldiers will undertake include providing security for convoys, conducting weapons sweeps and looking for improvised explosive devices.
"It is very dangerous duty they are facing," he said.
The latest deployment, combined with previously announced deployments of G Troop, 82nd Cavalry and the 3rd Battalion, 116th Cavalry, will increase the total number of Oregon National Guard soldiers serving in Iraq to more than 1,300 by late fall or early winter.
In fact, Gov. Kulongoski has called attention to the fact that the further depletion of our Guard troops will make it very dangerous for our state during forest fire season. If other disasters or calamities happen, we are strapped for Guard and Reserve help. The modern purpose of the Guard has been usurped to fill in the gaps for troops in Iraq because of Bush's poor planning and bad ideas. It is the rural and sparsely populated states like Oregon who will suffer most because of Bush's war.