Here's a copy of the email I just recieved from one of my Senators. We should be so LUCKY that ALL of our representatives in Washington DC were as concientious and hard working as Patty Murray.
February 20, 2007
The White House
Washington D.C., 20500
Dear Mr. President:
I am writing to you in regards to the needs of our men and women in uniform serving in Iraq.
I have been clear on my position on the floor of the U.S. Senate and in committee hearings. The United States must take steps to disentangle itself from the civil war in Iraq. I recognize this will not happen overnight and to protect our national interests the U.S. must carefully consider what will be left in the wake of troop redeployment. However, your plan to deepen U.S. military involvement in Iraq through the surge of troops is the wrong path forward.
With that said I am deeply concerned by reports that your surge proposal will send service members into harm's way without the necessary training, equipment, and ground support to carry out their mission. A January 25th report from the Department of Defense Inspector General outlined deeply concerning shortages for troops already serving in Iraq. With this in mind, your surge proposal, which according to the Congressional Budget Office significantly underestimates the total number of troops to be deployed, raises many more questions about the safety of our troops in battle.
Extended tours and early deployments are causing an unplanned overlap of troops who demand increasing amounts of equipment and support. I am concerned about reports of troops arriving in theater only to be faced with shortages of trucks, radios, and jamming devices to protect against improvised explosive devices. I question whether proper plans have been made to alleviate such equipment shortages, and expect to hear how you are addressing these shortfalls.
In my home state, for example, Fort Lewis is home to the 4-2 Stryker Brigade, which I understand is preparing to deploy three weeks earlier than planned. In addition the 3-2 Stryker Brigade, also based at Fort Lewis, is deployed on a 12 month mission, which I understand will be further extended. I am concerned both brigades may face equipment shortages, reduced levels of support troops and abbreviated training schedules.
Currently troops in the 4-2 Stryker Brigade are in mission rehearsal exercises at Fort Lewis. There was not enough time to send them to the Army's National Training Center as originally planned. I have no doubts about the Brigade's capabilities, however I am concerned they will deployed without the benefit of this training.
The men and women of the United States Armed Forces have volunteered to serve and have done so bravely. They deserve to pursue their mission without undue risk presented by the lack of necessary training, equipment and support. We owe our troops these valuable and life-saving resources.
It is my sincere hope that as Commander in Chief you are working toward the goal of ensuring our service members have the equipment, support and training to fulfill their mission. I look forward to your response in this matter.
United States Senator