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THURSDAY, AUGUST 24, 2006
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EDITORIAL

Marine call-up another sign war goes badly

Once a U.S. Marine, always a U.S. Marine. Marines may serve their hitch and get out, or stay long enough to draw a pension. But they are always Marines.

Unfortunately, though, thousands of Marines who thought they had served their country and were moving on with their lives may get called back to active duty because of the war in Iraq.

The Corps said this week that it will call Marines on inactive duty back 2,500 at a time. The deployments could last from 12 to 24 months.

A Marine who served four years, went to college and is now pursuing her ambition as a newspaper writer at THE DAILY turned pale at hearing the news Tuesday.

So did another employee who is the father of a Marine who spent his time in Fallujah and then went back to college.

President Bush said this week that the war is beginning to strain the American psyche. If the reaction to the call-up across the nation is like that in our newsroom Tuesday afternoon, the psyche is strained. People are worried about the war.

The war strains the lives of civilian soldiers in the National Guard and the lives of their families; the war strains the standing army here at home because it isn't adequately equipped. Anxious mothers are coming home to toddlers they haven't seen in months.

But the war goes on. Rather than reducing the troop level in Iraq, the Pentagon pushed the number up to 138,000 because of continued violence.

Daily, Americans are backing away from the idea that the war in Iraq keeps terrorists from staging a repeat of 9/11. A new poll shows that 51 percent of the people polled see no tie between the war on terrorism and Iraq.

The strain is everywhere.

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