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Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Who Really Supports The Troops?

Since the statuate of limitations for the classic "Blame Clinton" defense has expired, you can count on conservatives to search out another scapegoat in order to compensate for their own ineptitude. The newest foil for the Iraq debacle is the former democratic challenger.

I don't have to defend John Kerry. The purportedly non-partisan website Factcheck.org does it for me. As some of you may recall, this is the website Cheney attempted to mention in his debate with John Edwards. If it's good enough for Cheney, I would hope that it would be good enough to convince my earstwhile conservative readers.

According to the fact checkers, the Bush ads about Kerry voting against equipping the troops was deceptive and unfair. Republicans often ridiculed Kerry over his comment,

I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it

The fact checkers provide context to this quote:

Kerry was referring to a measure he co-sponsored that would have provided the $87 billion while also temporarily reversing Bush's tax cuts for those making $400,000 a year or more. That measure was rejected 57-42.

For the first time in history, an American president was lowering taxes during wartime, and Kerry was right to sponsor the bill he did. The current fiscal time bomb we're sitting on is a testmony to the folly of the Republican-sponsored bill. Does it make sense that the tax rebates of those making 400,000 a year was more important than Kevlar vests?

In addition, the fact-checkers further articulate the context:

...But it's also true that as many as 40,000 US troops were sent to Iraq without the best-grade body armor. Frontline troops had the new vests, containing ceramic plates that can stop assault-rifle bullets, while others had only older designs that offered protection mainly against shrapnel and lower-velocity projectiles.

Read it:
http://www.factcheck.org/article177.html

The appropriations bill did pass, without Kerry's vote, but who deserves the blame for the current state of affairs? Shouldn't the fools who sent troops off to battle without sufficient armour deserve scrutiny, rather than the member of their relatively powerless political opposition?

In the right-wing bizarro world, Kerry is more to blame than Bush. You know who we should ask "Who supports the troops"? The Disabled American Veterans. Here is what they have to say about the Bush Administration:

The President's budget for FY 2005 proposes deep cuts in funding for veterans' programs. The President recommended only a $310 million increase for veterans' medical care, which would represent about a 1% increase over the FY 2004 amount but would actually amount to a net reduction in funding because it does not cover the costs of inflation. The Administration's budget again seeks legislation to increase co-payments and impose a $250 annual fee for medical care. The budget would reduce staffing in the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) by 540 full-time employees (FTE) and would cut funding for medical and prosthetic research by $50 million.

Read it:

It all comes down to who you believe. As for me, I tend to not put much stock in the veracity of political advertisements, no matter who the candidates are. A nonpartisan citizen's advocate group, such as the Disabled American Veterans, seem far more trustworthy.

It's very clear to me who doesn't give a damn about our soldiers: The Bush administration. I will gladly, and politely, welcome all challenges to this assertion.

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