Ole King George announced this week that he was adding 21,000 more troops to the blender that is Iraq. Since there's no draft, he'll have to increase tour length and reduce leave for current soldiers, and call up more National Guard and Reserves units.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported today that more than 80 percent of Wisconsin's National Guard members have already been deployed since September 2001, and the president's plan means that even those who have served a year or more on active duty in Iraq or Afghanistan may be redeployed soon.
Have you seen those billboards hanging on the backs of Milwaukee County buses in recent weeks, the ones that say, "Make every day count"? Theoretically, they're recruiting posters for the Wisconsin National Guard, but I find them a bit ironic. Given Bush's pronouncements this week about the troop surge, the ads just beg us to fill in the blanks:
"Make every day count because you never know when Bush will send you back to dodge IEDs in Iraq," or,
"Make every day count because the Defense Department has stopped counting how many days of active service you've already given us, so why not give us 365 more?"
The recruiters are working on all sorts of ideas to boost the number of available soldiers. There was even a proposal last week to eliminate the ban on gays in the military. That's just like straight people, isn't it? When you're desperate, call on a gay person. Can't dance? Call on a gay person. Hair and clothes a mess? Call on a gay person. Can't match your drapes with your furniture? Call a gay person. Can't find any more able-bodied, patriotic kids to risk life and limb in the Iraqi desert? Call a gay person.
Klinger, a character on the old TV show "MASH," tried for years to get ejected from the army by wearing a dress every day, back when homosexuality and male cross-dressing were considered synonymous. Putting a dress on didn't work for Klinger, but news this week indicates that you can get out by taking it off. An Air Force staff sergeant will appear in February's issue of Playboy, but she won't appear for roll call back at the base. Sgt. Michelle Manhart was relieved of her duties pending an investigation by the military for appearing in the magazine both partially clothed and nude in a photo spread entitled, "Tough Love."
Ready for takeoff, Wisconsin National Guard?
Jennifer Morales is an elected member of the Milwaukee Board of School Directors, the first person of Latino descent to hold that position. She was first elected in 2001 and was unopposed for re-election in 2005. In 2004, she ran for a seat in the Wisconsin state senate, earning 43% of the vote against a 12-year incumbent.
Previously, she served as the editorial assistant at the educational journal Rethinking Schools; as assistant director of two education policy research centers at UW-Milwaukee; and as the development director for 9to5, National Association of Working Women.
She became the first person in her immediate family to graduate from college, earning a B.A. in Modern Languages and Literatures from Beloit College in 1991.
In addition to her work on the school board, she is a freelance editorial consultant and a mother.