General John Abizaid, the new chief of U.S. Central Command, raised a ruckus yesterday when he acknowledged that American troops were facing a "classical guerrilla-type" war in Iraq.But lost in the fuss over Abizaid's comments was an interesting bit of news: the Army may soon be sending its controversial, high-tech Stryker light armored vehicle brigade to help combat the Iraqi insurgents.Light, mobile, and packed with the latest communications gear, the eight wheel drive Strykers would seem to be a perfect fit for the intermittent, free-flowing fighting going on in Iraq.But the vehicles -- the first new armor to be introduced into the Army since the Abrams tank in the 1980's -- have had a rocky recent past. During the Millennium Challenge 2002 war game, for example, soldiers complained that the Stryker was susceptible to flat tires, couldn't hit targets on the run, and would get unbearably hot inside -- 120 degrees and higher.And that was during testing in California. Imagine how toasty the Strykers will get in the heat of the Mesopotamian desert.THERE'S MORE: Two National Guard brigades may also be called up to Iraqi duty. And Phil Carter isn't too happy about it.
America's National Guard has already been stretched thin by consecutive homeland security deployments since Sept. 11, known as Operation Noble Eagle. In the California Army National Guard, nearly every combat arms unit has already deployed once. The units which have deployed have returned in deplorable condition, with most soldiers opting to leave the Guard. There are a number of National Guard units which have been left alone for homeland security, and these are the likely units to deploy to Iraq. However, even that is a finite supply. If America is to stay in Iraq for the long haul, this solution won't work.