Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, a Democrat, is critical of the administration’s new plan to extend the tour of duty for U.S. Army troops from 12 to 15 months. Harkin says the extension "is just another example of the failure of this administration’s war in Iraq." Harkin says it shows the military is stretched too thin and the president’s actions are only making the problem worse. Harkin says extending the tour of duty will cause more problems for soldiers.
Harkin says: "We know from experience that soldiers can only serve so long in a combat zone for before we have severe problems. And I think that’s why you’re seeing that so many of our returning veterans from Iraq are seeking mental health help when they come back."
Harkin says you can’t continue telling soldiers they’ll be serving for one period of time and then extending the tour, so they don’t have adequate time for rest and retraining before being sent back again. Harkin says the extension is another indication the troops are spread too thin and the U.S. needs to pull its troops out of Iraq.