Saturday, January 06, 2007

Army ask dead to return to service

Bush needs more troops and the Department of Defense is on the job. Recently it sent letters to a few servicemen killed in Iraq asking them to return to duty. A story by the AP reports:

The Army said Friday it would apologize to the families of about 275 officers killed or wounded in action who were mistakenly sent letters urging them to return to active duty.

The letters were sent a few days after Christmas to more than 5,100 Army officers who had recently left the service. Included were letters to about 75 officers killed in action and about 200 wounded in action.

Could you imagine being a family member and getting a letter saying the military wants you back, except the loved one in question is dead or wounded? I would write more about this, about how incompetent this seems, not to mention disrespectful, this blunder could be satirized all day long, except for the simple fact that there are deceased and wounded soldiers involved. I'll just ask this: would you want your life in this department's hands? Yes, the military needs your help, never mind the fact that it cant even determine who's dead or alive anymore.


John Steinberg said...

wow. shame on the military.

Michael said...

I agree they couldn't have made a worse PR move right now. I just can't fathom how those families must feel getting those letters in the mail. The army stated that they usually use the updated database to send out messages and somehow this old version was used. Are there no redundancy checks? Doesn't the army revolve around redundancy checks. When I wrote my blog earlier this morning I was far less critical of the army than I should have been because I was more struck by pain for the families the outrage took a little longer to set in.

maven said...

Thanks for leaving that comment, Michael. I hate to sound so harsh, I know the army is very stressed and over-reached. I'm a former servicemember myself and it's an incredibly huge and complex operation. Honestly, I'm amazed at how much it does get done.

That said, they deal with handling lives--taking lives or keeping lives safe. It requires a lot of oversight. I think gaffs like this, while obviously poor for PR, also show that we should not take complex operations like war with Iraq lightly. The military may be comprised of heroes, but it's only as good as its logistics. If it has trouble sending out invite letters, imagine what it's like down the line when it comes to body armor and coordination.

Harry Homeless said...

What's everyone all in a tizzy about? Don't they realize it was the army of dead that saved Aragorn and Middle Earth from Sauron! It's a perfect recipe for victory! All of the White House's plans are drawn from fantasy. (There's a satirical posting in there somewhere)