Retired General Barry McCaffrey testified before Congress today that the U.S military is overstretched to the point of putting the nation in strategic peril. As reported here by Reuters
, General McCaffery said that the armed forces are too small, that its equipment is in disarray, and that it will take as long as five years to fix the problem.
Testifying in favor of Bush Administration's $100 billion military appropriation request, General McCaffrey said that delaying the funding would be "monumental bad judgment." However, he spared no criticism for the Pentagon's policies, which he complained had left the U.S. Army too small, with its equipment in disarray and lacking a fallback position should a challenge come from somewhere like Iran, Syria or North Korea.
The Bush administration plans to permanently increase the size of the U.S. Army and Marines by about 92,000 troops over the next several years, but McCaffrey felt increases were not happening fast enough.
"It is my judgment we are in a position of strategic peril that is going to take us three to five years to get out of," McCaffrey said.
It is remarkable to recall that during the Vietnam War, with a draft, of course, the United States was able to keep over 500,000 troops in the theater for an extended period of time, and still maintain more troops in Europe, Korea and other bases worldwide than are posted abroad today. To my mind, that fact proves up McCaffery's case for an enlarged army. However, one may question whether we can reach the necessary troop levels without a draft.