Bush and Rumsfeld’s Destruction of the National Guard
One of the less-talked-about consequences of George Bush’s mishandling of our national defenses: the disintegration of the National Guard as an institution.
The unit knew it would soon be shipped to the front. Some soldiers responded by deserting. Others got drunk and fought. In response, officers locked the unit in its barracks, allowing the troops out only to drill, not even to smoke a cigarette, until it could be put on the transport that would take it into combat.
It sounds as if I am describing some third echelon Soviet infantry regiment in, say, 1942. In fact, I am talking about the 1st Battalion of the 178th Field Artillery Regiment, South Carolina National Guard, in September 2004.
Here’s the Washington Post story that Lind talks about, too — it’s by Thomas Ricks, an excellent reporter on national security issues.