Editor and Publisher reports that "two soldiers killed in Iraq in February may have died as a result of friendly fire," but even more disturbing is the following:
"One of the soldiers died just hours after arriving in Iraq -- and was one of those troops rushed to the country in the "surge" who did not receive full training." (underline added)
That's right. Our troops are not receiving proper training and are currently being "surged" to the fight nonetheless. And according to AP's Robert Burns, this is not an isolated incident:
"The strains of fighting in Iraq have forced the Marine Corps to forego training in jungle warfare and other skills that are the traditional backbone of the Corps, the Marines’ top general said Wednesday."(update) And the list goes on:
"'We’re not training for the other kinds' of combat that could arise at short notice, Gen. James T. Conway, commandant of the Marine Corps, told a group of Marines at the U.S. naval headquarters for the Persian Gulf."
"Three Army combat brigades have just been ordered back into Iraq less than a year after they left, and two brigades that were headed for Iraq were unable to take their customary four weeks of desert training at Fort Irwin, Calif." MSNBC
"'When you only have one year or less between deployments, instead of the two that you would like to have, you then do not train to what we call full spectrum.'" General Pace | April 5, 2007
This is unacceptable, as the majority of Congress is aware. The Iraq spending bill passed by the House of Representatives two weeks ago contains provisions to remedy the situation:
"The legislation prohibits the deployment of troops who are not “fully mission capable” as defined by the Department of Defense – in other words, troops who are fully trained, equipped and protected. This a reaffirmation of current Department of Defense standards."
"The President can only deploy “unprepared troops” if he certifies, in writing, to Congress, that deploying those troops is in the national interest."
Unfortunately, President Bush (who argues that the legislation does not support our troops) plans to veto the bill - and House Republicans say they'll sustain it.