We should take all ‘non-combat troops’ out of Iraq. That is one of the compromises proposed as a resolution to the conflict in Iraq. The suggestion is that American troops will not be dying in Iraq. That sounds pretty good to most of us. But is there such a thing as ‘non-combat troops?”
The reality of troop deployment is there are nine support people for every “combat soldier.” This means mechanics, cooks, bottle washers, and office staff to keep track of everyone and their support equipment. Like professional sports, people working for a football team far outnumber the players on the field.
This is not bad or wrong. As Napoleon learned at Waterloo – if you cannot feed the troops you will not have any troops. But the question that begs is ‘what is the purpose of a military?” The simple answer is combat.
If we remove all combat troops from Iraq we will be left with the cooks and bottle washers to man the military base. Sound foolish? It is. The idea of having non-combat troops in Iraq is just as foolish. The rationale is one of education. The troops will be there simply to train the Iraqis to defend themselves. This was the premise that led to Vietnam. We sent military advisors to the South Vietnamese Government. When their lives were threatened by the ‘combat’ we were compelled to send in more troops to protect our military advisors. Then we sent in more troops to protect the protectors – and for every combat personell sent, nine others went along in support functions.
So here is the question, Is there such a thing as ‘non-combat troops?’