Bush Campaign Lies

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Bush Campaign Lie #8: John Kerry Cast Multiple Votes Against 'Funding Our Troops' 

As with lie #3, the Bush campaign has isolated a single one of John Kerry's votes and used it to argue that he is against 'Funding Our Soldiers', 'Body Armor For Troops in Combat', 'Higher Combat Pay' and 'Better Health Care for Reservists and Their Families'. This is the claim of an ad released on March 16.

On September 30, 2003, Congress introduced an $87 billion supplemental appropriations bill for Iraq and Afghanistan, and Kerry did vote against it. However, his reasons had nothing to do with the fact that he is 'Wrong on Defense'. Instead, he explained that while he was 'prepared to spend whatever it takes to win the peace', he could not support the $87 billion spending bill:

"It is imperative that we succeed in Iraq. But to do so, we have to tackle the challenge of rebuilding Iraq an effective way, not the Bush Administration’s failed way. We need a detailed plan, including fixed timetables and costs, for establishing civil, economic and political security in Iraq."
Kerry took a principled stand on really supporting our troops, not to mention protecting taxpayer dollars, and the Bush campaign is using it to make him appear soft on defense. Kerry had good reason to take this stand; although those in the Pentagon with actual combat experience and knowledge about how to conduct a war draw up detailed plans for the aftermath, Don Rumsfeld intentionally ignored them. Our soldiers were basically sent in to Iraq and told to wing it. According to acting Army Secretary Les Brownlee, 'I also regret that we were not more farsighted here. We simply were not prepared for that kind of a counterinsurgency that attacked our convoys and our soldiers in the rear as it has proven to be.'

And of course, as a result of Bush's refusal to plan for the occupation of Iraq, the situation is still bad and deteriorating rapidly. Even senior military commanders are speaking out about how badly the war has been run, and some are calling for Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz to be fired.

Had Bush taken his responsibility as commander in chief seriously, there would not have been a shortage of body armor 6 months after the start of the conflict. Had Bush been willing to change course and actually present a detailed plan for dealing with the insurgents, Kerry would have voted for the bill. But Bush wanted almost $7 billion of the money to be spent at the discretion of the Pentagon and the military.

It's possible Kerry would have supported the bill in any event if it contained the amendment he co-authored, which would obtain the $87 billion from a partial rollback of tax cuts for those in the highest bracket. But the amendment was tabled and, as the Bush camp is eager to point out, the bill passed by an 87-12 margin.

So our troops are still there, and the Bush team is still winging it. Some National Guard members are still shipping off to Iraq without body armor.

Once again, I can't help but point out some Bush hypocrisy. Bush's proposed FY 2005 budget contains zero funding for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Pennsylvania Republican Curt Weldon has described this request as "outrageous" and "immoral", because an estimated $10 billion will be required to fund the occupation for the next five months. One item which will go unfunded, unless Bush 'flip-flops' and makes a supplemental funding request, is $40 million for body armor.

Another shameful hypocrisy involves combat pay for troops. But the worst hypocrisy is that Bush himself threatened to veto the $87 billion funding bill if it stipulated that Iraq would have to repay part of the money.

Gee, does that mean that Bush is also against 'Funding Our Troops'? Or maybe it simply means that Bush and Kerry disagree about the best way to do that?

11:12 PM