"Do we ask too much of these men and women who go back deployment, after deployment after deployment after deployment -- and that's not an exaggeration," Smith wondered.
"Yes. No," Powell responded. "We are asking a lot of them. I've heard of some of them going back six and seven times. We are asking more of them than, even, the World War II generation because, in some previous wars, you might have some periods of quiet and then the battle comes, but in these two wars,the battle is there almost every day.
Right. A guy who volunteered on the day after Pearl Harbor, goes straight into the infantry or Marines, is swept up straight to Basic, then AIT, then deployed to the southwest Pacific or North Africa, never seeing his family for as long as three and a half years, fighting in a bloody attrition warfare where one day's casualties dwarf the entire Afghan and Iraq casualties put together.
Look, my son is now on his third tour of Iraq. He was with the 101st for the invasion and the surge and is now with 1st Armored. He was divorced after coming home to a faithless wife after his first tour. The stresses of multiple deployments are many, yes, but each time between deployments our troops get to come home, to decompress, to get "normal". With multiple deployments our kids can get in as much combat time as the WWII veterans, but Powell is comparing apples and oranges, I think. "Asking more of them" than the WWII generation? I don't think so. As much, in a different way? Perhaps. More? No.