Protected by a podium, thousands of thorns in the world’s most beautiful rose garden, and a cordon of Secret Service agents, President Bush continued his retreat into a bunker mentality.
The House and Senate had just passed a $122 billion war funding bill that demanded US troops begin a systematic withdrawal from Iraq. Senator Harry Reid, majority leader, had said that Congress had finally acceded to the will of the people.
President Bush defiantly told the people that he would veto the bill and continue his war in Iraq. “Democrat leaders in Congress seem more interested in fighting political battles in Washington than in providing our troops what they need to fight the battles in Iraq,” said the President. If anyone could be accused of not providing soldiers what they need it’s the President and his Administration.
Soldiers are dying because the Administration didn’t provide adequate body armour, forcing families to privately buy the bullet-proof vests for their sons, daughters, fathers, and mothers.
The Bush-Cheney Administration also stands convicted of not providing enough armour to the thin-skinned Humvees that were forced to patrol booby-trapped roads. The resourceful soldiers had to “uparmour” their own vehicles, with their own resourcefulness. The Administration would claim that manufacturers couldn’t produce the better-protected Humvees fast enough. Several companies that specialise in providing war-resistant protection for Humvees for private use say they advised the Department of Defense about their companies’ abilities but never received contracts.
The Bush-Cheney Administration, once it decided to lie to the American people and invade Iraq, sent in too few troops. To questions of why there weren’t enough troops in Iraq to quell the rising violence and developing civil war, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld merely parroted the President’s naiveté: “The big debate about the number of troops is one of those things that's really out of my control.”
The President said he provided whatever troops the military leadership requested. General Colin Powell, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the first Gulf War and secretary of state at the time of the invasion, had stated that the troop level wasn’t adequate for invasion and occupation.
Denied and humiliated, General Eric Shinseki, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said as many as 500,000 would be needed.
Denied, and forced to retire early, General Tommy Franks, commanding general of Central Command, learned his lesson; he suggested “only” 250,000 troops would be needed.
Denied: even the recent surge of 21,000 troops, which President Bush said was enough to solve the problem, is a lie. The Budget Office estimates 15,000 to 28,000 more troops are necessary just to support the 21,500 combat troops.
The Bush-Cheney Administration stands convicted of sending soldiers into their third tour of duty in Iraq: in what is known as “stop-loss” enlistment it doesn’t allow soldiers to leave the military at the end of their contracts.
With large numbers of military families living at or below the poverty level, the Bush-Cheney Administration stands convicted of having tried to cut a Congressionally-approved pay raise for soldiers. Bush wanted to trim a 3.7 per cent raise to only 2 per cent, claiming the raise was too costly.
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