National Guard should stay home

National Guard troops are most likely going to face deployment to Iraq soon because U.S. forces need to be replaced, according to an April 6, NBC News article, “National Guard Likely to Head Back to Iraq.” Changes have been made as to how long the National Guard can be deployed overseas, and although they are needed to relieve U.S. military troops overseas, the deployment could cause more problems than it would fix. The National Guard is being misused.Previous policies about mobilizing the National Guard have been revised three times since the global war on terrorism started in 2001, according to the Department of Defense. These changes are due to strains placed on active duty units following the Sept. 11 attacks.

Although changes can be expected in times of war, the changes that are being implemented now are not beneficial. The National Guard went from being required to serve no more than one year on active duty with a maximum of six months overseas to guardsmen serving no more than 24 months active duty, according to the current policy of the Department of Defense. National Guard units can be mobilized at any time by the president to help out when armed forces are wearing thin.

Maybe these drastic changes are a sign the military is being over worked. The U.S. military is being stretched between wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid criticized the National Guard Plan and said the National Guard would not be prepared for emergencies at home if it is mobilized.

“Our military is stretched too thin, and our troops are returning to combat too soon and with too little training,” Reid said.

Sophomore finance major Blake Billings said sending less experienced troops overseas is a big mistake because more formally trained troops currently in Iraq are struggling to control the occupation. This war is spiraling out of control, and it is not right to keep fueling it with unprepared soldiers.

“Sending less-prepared troops overseas when most American’s don’t want them to be sent could propel the war in Iraq to a greater level of disaster than already exists,” Billings said.

National Guard troops are expected to be sent overseas at the end of 2007, according to the NBC News article. Many Americans are looking for an end to the war. People want soldiers to be done fighting, and with National Guard troops not even leaving until the end of 2007 with 24 months of active duty to fulfill, there does not seem to be an end to the war anywhere in sight.

“Sending the National Guard troops at the end of 2007 may be an even bigger mistake because the majority of American’s want to see troops coming home, not going to Baghdad,” Billings said.

The war in Iraq is a tough subject. Troops need relief, and that is what the National Guard can provide for them. However, the war has gone on for too long now. To include more Americans in the fighting who are not well-prepared seems like a death sentence.

Michelle Anderson is a sophomore broadcast journalism major from Tyler. Her column appears Fridays.