Saturday, November 11, 2006

24 Month Rule Scrapped: Our Guard Units May Be Sent Again

FOX News is reporting that the Pentagon is "reinterpreting" the rule by which President Bush sent national guard units to Iraq. Their new position is that under the authority by which Bush ordered a call-up of the Guard and Reserve after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, troops could be mobilized an unlimited number of times as long as each mobilization is no longer than 24 consecutive months.

Until now, Pentagon officials have interpreted that rule as 24 cumulative months.

In theory, the new interpretation means a unit could be sent to Iraq for 24 months, sent home for a few months, then redeployed for another 24 month stint.

Generals routinely make contingincy plans to send units that they latter cancel, so it is not certain they will be called up again, but the 39th Brigade here in Arkansas is one of the top units mentioned. There are about 3,500 men in the unit. This time, indications are the whole unit will be sent. Last time, smaller parts of it were sent in.

The lines between Army Reserve and National Guard have been obliterated by the demands of our foreign interventions. Perhaps states need to create another organization that is not subject to federal call-up in order to deal with the things that the National Guard was orignially supposed to deal with: riot, insurrection, natural disaster. If the National Guard is so often gone, perhaps we need a State Guard or Home Guard that we can count on to be here.

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