Democrats & Liberals Archives

On Body Armor, Bush is Vulnerable

A consistently galling aspect of the Bush reelection campaign is its brazen attempts to tar Kerry in areas where any reasonable examination of the facts shows that Bush is the vulnerable one. Itís the concept of preemption applied to the campaign. It was the Bush administration that rushed to war and put our troops in the field in the spring of 2003 without the proper body armor.

Cheney claimed on March 17 of this year,

ĒWell the facts are that - that at the outset of the campaign there was only one factory producing the latest, newest state-of-the-art body armor. . . . So the main problem had been just the sheer capacity to produce these items early on.
and yet well into the next year the parents of troops were buying the expensive ceramic plated body armor on the open market. Why, I ask, could the parents buy what the U.S. Government could not? The defense department didnít need the famous $87 billion bill in order to procure what should have been standard issue equipment. And yet the Bush campaign has the gall to impugn Kerry as uncaring because he refrained from supporting a financially unsound version of an appropriations bill, a tiny fraction of which designated the purchase of body armor. Kerryís objection had nothing to do with the troop support portion of the bill. He co-sponsored an amendment to the bill which would have paid for its entirety by rescinding tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, and supported another amendment which would have made the $20 billion reconstruction portion of the bill a loan to Iraq, rather than a grant. The administration itself threatened to veto the bill including the body armor if that amendment passed, so Kerry voted nay on the unamended bill.

Consistently our administration has given priority to concerns that multinational corporations be able to take all of their profits from reconstruction contracts out of Iraq, while foundering on making sure our wounded in action get the care they deserve when they arrive back in the states. Small wonder that good soldiers like Richard Murphy admit to some resentment when on their 20K salaries they are asked to guard truck driving contractors earning three to four times as much, who can walk away whenever they want.

Those who decry the war protesters as shamefully not supporting our troops, should be looking instead to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for culprit number one in failing to support our troops. From putting them in harmís way on false pretenses, to not caring for their safety, to trying to lower their pay, to creating stop loss orders forcing battle weary troops anticipating the end of their duty back into action, to not taking care of the wounded in action when they return to this country, this administration consistently shows a callous disregard for the welfare of those who put their lives on the line. Any normal person would be embarrassed by such a record, but this administration brazenly accuses their opponent of the very things that they are guilty of. Itís sickening.

Posted by Walker Willingham at September 29, 2004 12:19 AM