Pawlenty said he planned the tax payer funded trip to Iraq after about 2,600 Minnesota National Guard troops learned in January that they would be staying in Iraq for as much as six more months. They had been scheduled to come home this month. He said he wanted to thank them for serving under difficult circumstances...(naturally his trip shamefully made a good PR and a photo OP!)
Given that 72% of the troops in Iraq are having to do multiple tours (Beyond the Call of Duty), wouldn't it have been better to allow the troops to come home then Pawlenty to go there? Especially now that the top military generals are saying there is no military win to the Iraq war?
And the multiple deployments and extended tours of duty are taking a serious toll on our soldiers. Two-thirds of Army brigades are “not ready for wartime missions,” and one Pentagon survey found that troops in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from chronic shortages of armored vehicles, heavy weapons, and communications equipment.
In addition, an Army survey conducted last year found “U.S. soldiers serving repeated Iraq deployments are 50 percent more likely than those with one tour to suffer from acute combat stress, raising their risk of post-traumatic stress disorder”
But instead of drawing attention to these very serious issues and risks, Pawlenty, smiles and jokes and then comes back to Minnesota...Tell me Mr. Governor, are you going to do that next year and the year after that and the year....well you get the picture...we all have for the last four years. Minnesota and it's troops deserve more than a nice guy clown as governor.