Third Party & Independents Archives

September 30, 2006

Republicans say: It's a mess!

Just weeks before the elections, some Republicans are coming forward and saying: On budget management, Iraq, the War on Terror, - It’s A Mess!

Fiscal Management: The cost of the War on Terror since 9/11 through fiscal year 2006 is 437 Billion. (PDF). Of that 437 Billion the Iraq War has cost 330.4 billion. The federal cost for Katrina 130 billion, of 200 billion estimated by 2009. Total federal allocation for 9/11 recovery, 20 billion.

That is a total federal outlay for Katrina, 9/11 recovery, and the war on terror of: 437 + 130 + 20 = 587 Billion dollars or, a little over 1/2 trillion dollars. The National Debt in 2001 when Bush came into office was about 5.65 trillion. Current National Debt 5 years later is 8.5 trillion. In other words, the national debt has grown by 3 trillion but the total cost of Katrina, War on Terror, and 9/11 has only cost 0.58 trillion. So where did the other 2.43 Trillion Dollars of deficit spending go?

Sen. Enzi (R) said on Sept. 27, "The American people are tired of overspending." The Republicans ran for election in 2000 and 2004 on the national security and fiscal responsibility issues. Republicans have increased the national debt by 2.43 Trillion dollars after excluding the emergencies cited above. This is not fiscal responsibility. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R) speaking on June 14, 2006 about the Gregg proposal for restraining spending said it "will bring spending under control in 4, 5, or 6 years, which we must do".

Is Sen. Alexander serious? Is he really asking the voters to give Republicans another 4, 5, or 6 years to get spending under control, after wasting 2.43 trillion dollars over budget already for non-emergency and wartime spending? This is absolutely ridiculous, and any voter who cares about fiscal responsibility has to be blind if they think this Republican Congress is being fiscally responsible.

Republican Sen. Coburn said in his amendment 4848 this year on defense spending, that "earmarks [are] partially responsible for emergency supplementals and rising debt. He goes on to say: " The amount earmarked as a percentage of the total in the defense appropriations bill has correspondingly increased from about 1.8 percent in 1994 to approximately 2.4 percent in 2006."

Earmarks are spending projects added to bills, (also, known as pork spending), most of which have nothing to do with the purpose of the bill at hand. Under Republicans, pork spending has grown by estimates of as much as 600% across all spending bills. Democrats have been criticizing that a disproportionate share of pork approved is going to Republican dominated states. Given Congress' propensity to buy constitutent votes with federal tax dollars costing the rest of Americans, it is a very plausible criticism, which Republicans would be launching at Democrats were they in control, no doubt.

Pat Toomey, head of the fiscal conservative group called Club for Growth, said about Congress' spending binge and the voters this November, "If they don't show up in big enough numbers to return a Republican majority, it will be because Republicans in Congress let them down." Well, Congress has let them down, and voters should not return them to office on Nov. 7. The tax cuts you received will be paid back double by your children when they enter the work force. That is what national debt does - it transfers the tax and spending burden to the next generation.

War On Terrorism and Iraq: The National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) clearly states the Iraq invasion has increased, not decreased, the terrorist threat in the world. This means only thing in light of our nation's porous borders, we are less safe today under Republican management than we were before we invaded Iraq. As we step up troop deployments in Afghanistan because of a growing Taliban and al-Queda threat there, it is clear we are not making the progress on the War on Terror campaigning Republicans and Pres. Bush want voters to think we are.

In testimony before an oversight hearing last Monday, Major General John Batiste, a lifelong Republican, testified Rumsfeld is not competent and does not know how to win. He said he retired rather than accept a third star on his shoulder because he did not want to be responsible for the fiasco, which Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was overseeing. And the President is depending upon Rumsfeld's incompetence to manage the war on terrorism and the Civil War in Iraq.

The hearing conducted by some Democrats and Walter Jones, a self-professed conservative Republican Representative of N. Carolina, heard testimony from Batiste, and two other military personnel who have served in this Iraq conflict, Major General Paul Eaton and Marine Col. Thomas Hammes.

General Eaton said the Administration fails to understand or develop the strategy and operational planning necessary and our forces have been undermanned from the beginning. He said the U.S. Army alone is short 60,000 soldiers for the tasks they are expected to accomplish, resulting in the "whack a mole" approach, which means pulling out of one hot spot to deal with another. Our soldiers are doing the very best but those at the top are mismanaging their numbers, tasks, and operations.

General Eaton, with two sons in the military, said failure to date is also partially due to Congress' absence of oversight responsibility and failure to call in the military command to inform them of how much more was actually needed in spending, manpower, strategy and tactics, and equipment and maintenance. He said the Pres. and Rumsfeld are still trying to fight these wars on the cheap and it is costing our military in preventable lives and casualties. He concluded by saying our Army and Marines are in poor shape now for the current tasks and the worsening situation before them. He said one of the best moves possible is to remove Rumsfeld from management of our forces.

Col. Hammes managed bases for Iraqi forces into 2004, and said the Administration failed to support our forces with the right equipment and manpower and under resourced every phase of the Iraq War from the beginning. One of the three gentlemen listed here, I believe it was Col. Hammes, said the VA is also under funded by 3 billion dollars to appropriately manage the increased load of military casualties, now 20,000 with serious wounds.

This testimony, combined with the NIE report is unequivocal in its assessment of how the invasion of Iraq and its management have failed both our soldiers and our overall war on terror.

A poll reported by the NY Times this month states: "With barely seven weeks until the midterm elections, Americans have an overwhelmingly negative view of the Republican-controlled Congress, with substantial majorities saying that they disapprove of the job it is doing and that its members do not deserve re-election, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll."

It is voter's responsibility and duty under our Constitution to vote out incumbents who are mismanaging the nation, voter's taxes, and citizen affairs. The need for voters to communicate this duty and responsibility to Congress could not be greater or more dire. American soldiers are dying and wounded by such incompetence and lack of responsibility. Our children will suffer under a crushing debt load growing in the hands of this Congress. It is long past time for a change. Make that change on Nov. 7. A vote for an incumbent, is a vote for more of the same.

Posted by David R. Remer at September 30, 2006 02:29 PM
Comments
Comment #185383

David:

This is an excellent and succinct appraisel of where the country stands five weeks before a critical off-year election. Of all the points you mention, this one jumped out at me:

[General Eaton]said the Pres. and Rumsfeld are still trying to fight these wars on the cheap and it is costing our military in preventable lives and casualties. He concluded by saying our Army and Marines are in poor shape now for the current tasks and the worsening situation before them. He said one of the best moves possible is to remove Rumsfeld from management of our forces.

The administration, I believe, has truly backed itself into a corner in Iraq. They have to make a first step in acknowledging that present policy isn’t working, that violence is escalating, that the whole shebang is teetering on the brink of all-out civil war. I think an important first step would be to ask for Donald Rumsfeld’s resignation. It has become abundantly clear that the Secretary of Defense has lost the confidence of the military and his own department. Whether the change in policy his resignation would engender is a rapid redeployment, or a measured withdrawal, or (god forbid) a dramatic increase in troops to Iraq, any policy course correction demands that he be gone.

This is not an easy thing for the administration. Rumsfeld is a key neo-con voice in policy formulation—dumping him would be a major admission of the failed neo-con, PNAC vision for the Middle East.

But I truly don’t see how there can be any constructive course correction that acknowledges the real carnage on the ground in Iraq, without a serious accounting for the people that perpetrated this policy. Rumsfeld epitomizes this Iraqi policy; consequently, there will be no serious rethinking about Iraqi policy (something that is long overdue) without a new Secretary of Defense.


Posted by: Tim Crow at September 30, 2006 03:18 PM
Comment #185394

In so many words, that was the opinion of all three of the military men who have served on the ground in Iraq.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 30, 2006 04:03 PM
Comment #185404

“One thing is sure. We have to do something. We have to do the best we know how at the moment… If it doesn’t turn out right, we can modify it as we go along. “

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Much of my disappointment with the Bush administration and this Republican Congress, is the utter lack of any modification of policy. Other than the outright law-breaking they perpetuate, this inability to frankly admit that a policy isn’t working, and having the gumption and courage to try something else, is a moral failing that is costing the country dearly.

Somehow, like a lot of us, Mr. Bush has equated modification of policy, or admission that a policy isn’t working, as some major human failing. He is forever admired for and admiring of a ‘sticking to his guns’ formulation, despite repeatedly bad outcomes. I wish someone would tell him that admission of mistakes is the ultimate in human courage and integrity—not just following a pig-headed approach that is demonstrably false.

Changing policy isn’t the end of the world—and it often elevates, in the world’s eyes, one of America’s more admired features—it’s level-headed pragmatism.

Posted by: Tim Crow at September 30, 2006 04:41 PM
Comment #185413

It is a very difficult thing for someone caught in the Peter Principle to admit they have been promoted to their level of incompetence. In fact, such a person is compelled by congnitive dissonance to never admit failing, which changing of course, would feel like. The moreso when people died as a result of one’s incompetence. Then, they must use every defense mechanism at their disposal and every bit of power they can muster to vindicate their decisions no matter how wrong, how failed, or bankrupt those decisions may have been.

I have seen this many times in my life happen to people caught in the Peter Principle. In an ever increasingly complex world and society, such folks become ever greater in number. We have Bush and Rumsfeld joined at the hip and sharing the same sinking ship as a result of this Peter Principle. This is why Bush can’t let Rumsfeld go. It would reveal Bush’s own incompetence in delegation authority and accumen.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 30, 2006 05:06 PM
Comment #185425
I wish someone would tell him that admission of mistakes is the ultimate in human courage and integrity—not just following a pig-headed approach that is demonstrably false.
He can’t. He’s too stubborn and deliberate. But, also, that would mean admitting he sent 2177 U.S. troops to their death (as of today, 9/30/2006) for the wrong reason(s), flawed intelligence, resulting in more terrorism and hatred of the U.S. To do so would be admitting to one of the very worst blunders ever. He will never do that, as long as he lives.

Too bad so many people had (and will have) to die and be maimed, for Bush to save face, and never admit a mistake.

With no WMD, there was NO justifiable reason to invade Iraq. Afghanistan? Yes. Iraq? No.

It is possible that things could have turned out different in Iraq. However, the long list of blunders that followed may have eliminated any possibility of that. And if you examine the reasons behind trying to fight the war “on the cheap”, and the many subsequent blunders, the pieces all start to fall into place.

And, to make things worse, Bush is running around calling those that point out these errors “Cut and Run” cowards and obstructionists. Bush denies any mistakes were made, or being made. He merely keeps repeating “it’s hard work”.

You bet it is, so why is Bush making it harder by sabotaging the effort? Heck, why did he get us into this war in Iraq in the first place?

It’s disgusting to the president now engaging in vicious attacks on Democrats, calling them obstructionists and cowards. I’m not a Democrat, but this is over the top. It’s just plain disgusting. I’m incredulous.

Americans need to reject this petty partisan warfare that Bush is trying to fuel. How dare Bush call those that oppose him “Cut and Run” cowards and obstructionists? By the way, is he forgetting that a large number of Democrats once supported him, and went along with the invasion of Iraq?

Bush might be able to delude himself, but we should not allow him to keep deluding others.

If any in Congress believe the intelligence used as an excuse to invade Iraq was flawed, then they need to come out and say so now.

If any in Congress believe they were misled, intentionally or incompetently, then they need to come out and say so now.

If any in Congress believe the mission in Iraq is a misuse of our U.S. troops, then they need to come out and say so now.

Otherwise, members of Congress are just playin’ along to get along, and that is what is truly cowardly.

And voters need to do their part, and stop re-electing the same irresponsible, bought-and-paid-for incumbent politicians that keep playin’ along to get along.

The News talks endlessly about which party is likely to get control of the Senate and House.
Forget party, and just vote for more responsible challengers, and the party majority won’t matter so much, because Congress, regardless of party, will have a newfound respect for the voters.

Posted by: d.a.n at September 30, 2006 05:42 PM
Comment #185427
It is a very difficult thing for someone caught in the Peter Principle to admit they have been promoted to their level of incompetence. In fact, such a person is compelled by congnitive dissonance to never admit failing, which changing of course, would feel like. The more so when people died as a result of one’s incompetence. Then, they must use every defense mechanism at their disposal and every bit of power they can muster to vindicate their decisions no matter how wrong, how failed, or bankrupt those decisions may have been.

Well said. You’re background in psychology gives you the ability to describe it much better. Stubborness and pride (defense mechanisms) are a dangerous combination. Add arrogance, narrowmindedness, and the deaths of thousands Americans to it, and it must be a truly heavy burden.

have seen this many times in my life happen to people caught in the Peter Principle. … . We have Bush and Rumsfeld joined at the hip and sharing the same sinking ship as a result of this Peter Principle. This is why Bush can’t let Rumsfeld go. It would reveal Bush’s own incompetence in delegation authority and accumen.
It is increasingly obvious, isn’t it?

It doesn’t bode well for the next two years.

Posted by: d.a.n at September 30, 2006 05:59 PM
Comment #185447

The final pinnacle of this ‘cut-and-run’ deception? That an Iraqi War veteran running for Congress, who lost both legs in combat, is disparaged indirectly by a self-indulgent, pampered President who walked out on his National Guard commitment, a ‘commitment’ which was really an elitist entitlement to avoid Vietnam.

If that isn’t the epitome of hypocricy….

Posted by: Tim Crow at September 30, 2006 07:07 PM
Comment #185456

I admire her mettle.
Major Tammy Duckworth would most certainly receive equal consideration of all candidates, and my 1st choice over any irresponsible, bought-and-paid-for incumbent politicians (especially any responsible for sending her there).
I wish her luck in the 6th District of Illinois.

Some had the gall to criticize her by saying she has no experience in government.

I personally see that is a huge plus!
In fact, perhaps it should be a prerequisite?

Who needs experience at being FOR-SALE, bought-and-paid-for, doing nothing, peddling influence, fueling petty partisan warfare, and being irrespnonsible?

Posted by: d.a.n at September 30, 2006 07:52 PM
Comment #185465

I just have a couple of questions.

If we are to send more troops, where are they going to come from?

If we don’t send more troops, what is the alternative?

I wonder if there are folks contemplating about what effect another attack on the US would have on the elections?

And, what if there should be another place in the world where our troops are needed before this is over?

What happens with another Katrina, or an earthquake or any other catastrophe?

I just have a feeling we are ill prepared and getting worse.

I know I don’t know the answers. I do think that at this point, even if the Democrats appear to many not to offer (frankly I don’t think that’s true) what they consider substance, what could be worse than we have now? Do we let them keep this up for at least two more years?

My GOD!!

Posted by: womanmarine at September 30, 2006 08:38 PM
Comment #185466

Oh they’re just pandering.

When it came down to it, the Senate UNANIMOUSLY approved the Pentagon bill for $448 BILLION.

Both sides will mouth enough contrarian rhetoric to appease the swing voters who read newspaper headlines, but aren’t aware of whats going on in Congress.

Posted by: Matt Goldseth at September 30, 2006 09:00 PM
Comment #185468

Matt, and 8 billion of that was non-defense pork spending. The pork is how they get the votes for this stuff. A little trade here, a little trade their to insure reelection while America goes broke under a vast burden of debt.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 30, 2006 09:06 PM
Comment #185471

Womanmarine, you ask the 64,000 dollar question. The two generals and colonel were all about putting in sufficient troops to get the job done right. But, implicit in their remarks was this fact: Now that the Civil War is well under way in Iraq, we don’t have sufficient troops to get the job done right and in a reasonable time period without pulling forces out of S. Korea (which would make the S. Koreans delighted - we are despised there now) and other strategic theaters. One option that is no longer available is a coalition of international forces, the other nations who aren’t there, don’t want to be, and the one’s who are, are anxiously looking for their pullout opportunity.

So, it is what I have been calling it since 2004, a quagmire, a quicksand in which doing nothing different makes the situation worse for Americans, and trying to muster additional forces, some 60,000 more minimum, is not in the cards, without reinstating conscription - a bridge Bush already burned behind him.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 30, 2006 09:12 PM
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