This effect of the Iraq war deserves a lot of discussion:
Until now, the Pentagon's policy on the Guard or Reserve was that members' cumulative time on active duty for the Iraq or Afghan wars could not exceed 24 months. That cumulative limit is now lifted; the remaining limit is on the length of any single mobilization, which may not exceed 24 consecutive months, Pace said.
In other words, a citizen-soldier could be mobilized for a 24-month stretch in Iraq or Afghanistan, then demobilized and allowed to return to civilian life, only to be mobilized a second time for as much as an additional 24 months. In practice, Pace said, the Pentagon intends to limit all future mobilizations to 12 months.
The burden of the war is already disproportionately borne by Reserves and Guards. Citizen-soldiers have a certain set of expectations, and when those expectations are changed, it will change who wants to sign up for duty. Much better to increase the number of active-duty personnel to make our military strength match the seriousness of what the government is doing with the military. I know from experience that one year in a war zone is a good stretch even for the regular military.