News flash: London’s Financial Times says “U.S. Army stretched thin.”
Accurate? Yes. But is this news? No.

Well, at least not to many of us. What wonks “Inside the Headquarters” and those cozy inside the Beltway’s bubble know to be true may not be what journalists around the world or real Americans perceive as reality.Eyes worldwide are fixed on Washington as they often are. What will the power brokers do in the wake of yet another survey — this time of military officers — one using strong imagery like, “Dangerously thin” but not “broken,” and “Can’t fight another large-scale war”? Of course they won’t be swayed by the survey du jour, but it seems those who report the findings expect to exact some strong reaction. (The survey was conducted by Foreign Policy magazine and the Center for a New American Security.)

We know these results. We’ve heard and read them before. We’re sure everyone knows. Does it bear repeating? Its replicated utterance almost forces flashbacks of the Soviets in Afghanistan and maybe the crumbling French and British Empires before that debacle. (We saw it as a debacle, but did the Soviets?)

The reporter for U.S. News was writing from the bleakness before her and echoed what soldiers in Iraq were saying when she penned

“America as a nation is not waging this war …its military is.”This reality is the opposite of the survey results. The defense audience at-large knows resources are stretched; the public, not so much. BUT, the defense audience, to a degree, believes America is in this conflict thing with its military; the public, not so much. We’re not sure who told these soldiers America was at war. Maybe that perception was accurate in the days following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, but it was never a reality.

The heartbreak comes in the fantasy played out by U.S. servicemembers. As quoted by U.S. News:

“Our soldiers here are giving 100 percent for every American guy back in the States. It makes you wonder, does anybody really appreciate what that guy gave up today?” The answer is as easy as it is tragic. Probably not.We all live in a fantasy on some level.


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