Missing in action: 15 months later, Afghan debacle all but absent from campaign trail
posted at 5:41 pm on January 5, 2008 by Ed Morrissey
By The Associated Press
“On the campaign trail you have the most powerful weapon available: The American military. You’ve got to have it on your side like you had it on our side in Iraq.” So said Rudy Giuliani in the summer of 2007, as he railed against President Bush for not bombing the country that would soon become his campaign home, Iraq. It was a position of strength Bush knew was dangerous and dangerous. The White House, meanwhile, was pushing for the military to have a bigger role in the campaign.
Four months later, however, Iraq was being bombed and the American military was being told to leave. Now it’s the war that’s on the campaign trail, but in its absence, American soldiers are missing in action.
The Pentagon is scrambling to find and fill the gaps in an otherwise spectacular year. With nearly 2,200 American service members deployed overseas, officials are pulling soldiers out of Iraq at a rate of one a day. On January 5 alone, the Pentagon said, it sent another 1,400 soldiers to Iraq — and no more than 10 of those have returned home.
The American military’s ability to serve in Iraq under Bush had helped stave off a civil war and help keep the violence level at less than a year ago. But with the new president promising a political settlement that included withdrawal, there is little sign he will continue that commitment. And without a plan for withdrawal, the U.S. military will find itself having to do more and more overseas with less and less support.
For those soldiers not making it back home because of the war, many find themselves on a search and rescue mission to find people who are missing in action, or worse.
“That is a very difficult time for the families,” said Army Col. Gary Luck, the spokesman for U.S. Central Command