Bushed military

On Meet the Press, Dean was off by 7% on his off-the-cuff guess as to the size of the armed forces. The resulting media elite chatter about Dean's foreign policy experience and supposed "hostility to the military" has been unceasing. But it's not the media elite that Dean needs to address - it's the military itself. And nowhere has Bush's hypocrisy and empty rhetoric - and outright betrayal - been more evident than the issue of supporting our troops.

via Billmon, from the 2nd Presidential Debate (Oct. 11, 2000):

It's time to have a new commander in chief who will rebuild the military, pay our men and women more and make sure they're housed better, and have a focused mission for our military.

Rebuild the military? Under President Bush, the military that Clinton built has been stretched far thinner on imperial adventurism than it ever was under Clinton. Nicholas Confessore's essential article in the Washington Monthly, GI Woe, details exactly how our armed forces are strained under the neocon-driven foreign policy that Bush, as Commander in Chief, must take ultimate responsibility for.

Pay our men and women more and make sure they are housed better? Ask the Marine Corp Times, which headlined: "House Republicans dig in against child tax credit for combat troops." Or ask the Army Times, which called the praise of the military by Bush and the GOP Congress "nothing but lip service". Army families are noticing- and reacting with anger.

Have a more focused mission for our military? What exactly are we doing in Afghanistan? Where are the WMDs that Rumsfeld knew for a fact were "in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad" ? Is there any coherence to our foreign policy whatsoever besides economic and strategic opportunism?

Then consider Bush's rhetoric for those who served - about veterans, Bush has said (at the VFW 2001 convention):

My administration understands America's obligations not only go to those who wear the uniform today, but to those who wore the uniform in the past: to our veterans. And at times, those obligations have not been met. Veterans in need of care have been kept waiting, and thousands of veterans' claims have been delayed, or in some cases lost in the bureaucracy.

Understands America's obligations to our veterans? Then why didn't Bush provide additional funding to VA by designating $5 billion appropriated by Congress as emergency spending, as he had promised? Why are veterans in the Priority 8 Group (including vets with incomes as low as $24,644, affecting about 520,000 veterans by 2005) being shut out of health services? Why doesn't VA have sufficient resources to meet its obligations to those who served? Why won't the Bush Administration put its support behind concurrent-receipt - allowing those veterans who incurred a disability while serving the nation in uniform to receive both retirement and disability benefits?

These broken promises are the wounds - but Bush's dereliction of duty, his clumsy propaganda of ingratiation, and his false and harmful bravado thousands of miles from the front, are the salt rub.

These are the simple facts. Bush is unfit to be Commander in Chief, and the GOP is brazen in its attempts to sacrifice the interests of our men and women in uniform for tax breaks for the rich. And armed with these facts, Dean can wipe the floor with any who dare to suggest otherwise. We don't even need Wesley Clark to be onboard to make these simple arguments. The facts speak for themselves. Bush can't hide from his record.

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