I wanted to
post this because its news that you will not receive from the Bush administration
or Neocon Bloggers. It seems that recent graduates at the U.S. Military Academy
at West point are choosing to depart active
duty at the highest rate in 30 years. Many military experts are concluding that
repeated tours in Iraq
are precipitately with the Army losing a significant portion of its top young elite
Now bear in mind
these statistics are from West Point, hardly a liberal source, of the 903 Army
officers commissioned upon graduation in 2001, nearly 46 percent left the
service last year -- 35 percent at the conclusion of their five years of
required service, and another 11 percent over the next six months. In addition,
more than 54 percent of the 935 graduates in the class of 2000 had left active
duty by this January, the statistics show.
mark the lowest retention rate of graduates after the completion of their
mandatory duty since at least 1977, with the exception of members of three
classes in the late 1980s who were encouraged to leave as the military
downsized following the end of the Cold War.
In most years
during the last three decades, the period for which West
Point released statistics, the numbers of graduates opting out at
the five-year mark were between 10 percent and 30 percent, according to the
exodus is blamed on a number of factors, including the economic lure of the
private sector. But interviews with former West Point
superintendents, graduates, and retired officers pointed to another reason: the
wear and tear on officers and their families from multiple deployments.
"Iraq is exerting very strong influence on the
career intentions of junior officers," said retired Lieutenant General
Daniel Christman, a former superintendent of West Point, who recently outlined
the war's toll on young officers in a speech to West Point alumni in North Carolina.
premier military academy has started offering graduates new incentives to keep
them from leaving active duty at their first opportunity.
For example, West Point now guarantees its graduates the home bases of
their choice, as well as a chance to go to graduate school, in exchange for a
commitment to serve at least three years beyond their five-year commitment.
Reed , a Rhode Island Democrat and a member of the West Point class of 1971,
said a more young officers are shying away from multiple tours in Iraq.
Much of the
drop in retention is the result of "the operational tempo," he said,
referring to the high pace of overseas deployments since 2001.
academy at West Point, N.Y., established in 1802, has provided top
Army officers for all the nation's wars. Along with a four-year degree and
military training estimated to be worth millions of dollars per cadet,
graduates receive the rank of lieutenant in the Army.
have been among the nation's most storied battlefield commanders, including
Union commander Ulysses S. Grant and Confederate commander Robert E. Lee in the
Civil War; World War II and Korean War hero General Douglas MacArthur; General
Creighton Abrams, the top field commander in Vietnam and namesake of the Army's
top battle tank, and Benjamin O'Davis, the nation's first black general.
In more recent
years, West Point graduates have carried a heavy load in America's wars.
One example is the class of 1966, which graduated at the height of the Vietnam
War and saw many of its graduates serve as platoon commanders in Southeast Asia.
By the early
1970s, "a full third of the class was out or dead," retired Colonel
Daniel M. Smith , a member of the class of 1966, said in an interview.
West Point grads have continued to stand out. The US
commander in Iraq,
General David Petraeus , graduated in 1974.
But the Iraq
War itself, with its repeated tours of duty and often-shifting military
objectives, appears to have dissuaded more graduates than in recent history
from continuing their military careers -- even as the Army has stressed that West Point training has become more important in an era
of high-tech warfare.
West Point spokesperson Francis J. DeMaro said he could not explain why more
young officers were opting to leave the Army, and declined to comment further.
sharpest increases in those leaving the military were among those whose
commitments expired in 2005 and 2006, as many units were going back to Iraq and Afghanistan for their second and
third tours. In each of those years, covering the classes of 2000 and 2001,
about 35 percent got out at their earliest opportunity.
The rate was
significantly more than the classes from 1977 to 1986, which averaged 18
percent. For those who graduated between 1990 and 1999, 29 percent left after
their five-year commitment.
rates of the classes of 1987, 1988, and 1989 dipped the lowest of all, but that
is widely attributed to the military's downsizing at the end of the Cold War.
shrinking the officer corps in the early and mid-1990s," said retired
General Wesley K. Clark, another member of West Point's
class of 1966. "Early release was one step. We screened officers and
encouraged them to get out."
the departure of recently minted West Point graduates to the situation during
the waning days of the Vietnam
era, when "at the five-year mark you were losing a lot of officers because
of the wear and tear."
percentages of recent graduates wanting to leave active duty may even be
higher. The numbers do not reflect those who may have been forced to stay
longer than five years under the wartime authority known as
"stop-loss," in which the president can order troops with critical
skills to remain on active duty.
also do not show how many of those who have left may have joined the Reserves
or National Guard, DeMaro said. A total of four graduates from 2000 and 2001
have died on missions in Afghanistan
Clark said the
departure from the ranks of West Point
graduates cannot be overstated.
a lot of development that goes into" molding these unique military
leaders, he said in an interview. "There is no way to get them back." Its sad that right wing extremist neocons just don't get it . Bush is ruining this country stop for a minute examine the world around you take a good look see whats going on, enlighten your mind don't be afraid look at the mass destruction around you that Bush has caused . America is your country too, do not allow Bush to ruin it . Join the democrats and add your voice to ours and demand Bush be impeached Yayyyyyyyy !