According to a source that is usually reliable, we had 1,664,014 people in the uniformed armed forces in 2006. I doubt it is any smaller this year, in fact I believe it is a bit larger.
About 160,000 are in Iraq. I can't find a number for those in Afghanistan, but I'm going to use 35,000. That's a total of 195,000 of our troops.
Where are the other 1,469,014?
Seriously. Where are they? That's not a rhetorical question. With under 12% of our military deployed in Iraq we are overstressed and have no reserve forces. Why? What are the other 88% doing?
No, they aren't the famous "tail" that is washing dishes, cooking meals and painting the barracks. That's now done by civilian contractors. Part of the answer is that another 8% is getting ready to return to Iraq.
So 20% of our troops are making multiple deployments into combat in Iraq while the other 80% do what?
Why is that 20% deployment rate "breaking" our military?
No, this is not to denigrate the military. Far from it. It is to suggest that there is a huge, ongoing military mission that is being concealed from the American people. Or that isn't being talked about anyway. What that 80% is doing is manning more than 725 foreign bases. 725. Most Americans don't know that. They think that our forces are heavily involved in Iraq.
What we don't know can hurt us.