Monday, November 9, 2009

Who Will Be Sent to Afghanistan?

by Dahr Jamail, Sarah Lazare, and Tom Engelhardt, November 09, 2009

"....As the Obama administration debates whether to send tens of thousands of extra troops to Afghanistan, an already overstretched military is increasingly struggling to meet its deployment numbers. Surprisingly, one place it seems to be targeting is military personnel who go absent without leave (AWOL) and then are caught or turn themselves in.

Hidden behind the gates of military bases across the U.S., troops facing AWOL and desertion charges regularly find themselves in the hands of a military that metes out informal, open-ended punishments by forcing them to wait months – sometimes more than a year – to face military justice. In the meantime, some of these soldiers are offered a free pass out of this legal limbo as long as they agree to deploy to Afghanistan or Iraq – even if they have been diagnosed with severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).....

While the Obama administration decides how many thousands of troops to send to Afghanistan, service men and women are already facing repeated deployments, oftentimes while having already been diagnosed with medical conditions that should render them unfit for deployment.

Nothing has changed for these beleaguered troops, except the venue of their maltreatment and the desperation with which the military is now struggling to make the necessary deployment numbers as it continues to fight two endless wars......"

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