As President Bush pushed for a surge of troops in Iraq, the drain on U.S. troops and readiness continued to mount. Six years after the invasion of Afghanistan and four years after the invasion of Iraq, the all-volunteer Army was almost broken. The situation for the National Guard and Reserve was even worse. The chairman of the congressionally appointed Commission on the National Guard and Reserves had recently reported that, "We can't sustain the [National Guard and reserves] on the course we're on." Even when troops returned home, they did not receive the treatment befitting veterans, as evidenced by the recent revelations of poor conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), member of the Armed Services Committee, discussed the condition of the U.S. Armed Forces and what could be done to rebuild them.
Photography by Ralph Alswang