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How Bush supports the troops

Considering what a screw-up this president regarding the treatment of those serving our country — not enough body armor or re-inforced Humvees, shoddy equipment, atrocious conditions at Walter Reed, the latest bottom of the barrel thinking coming out of this admin is par for the course:

3.5% raise too much for Bush.

With President Bush’s popularity scraping bottom in opinion polls, with U.S. casualties rising in Iraq in a force surge that has stretched tours to 15 months, the Bush administration has said it “strongly opposes” key military pay and benefit gains tossed into the fiscal 2008 defense bill.

…Like the House, senators favor a 3.5 percent military pay raise for 2008 versus the administration’s proposed 3 percent to match private sector wage growth as measured by the government’s Employment Cost Index or ECI. The White House calls the extra half percentage point unnecessary and notes that basic pay has jumped by 33 percent since 2001. The added cost of the bigger raise, $2.2 billion through 2013, is money “that would otherwise be available to support our troops,” said the OMB letter.

Can you even imagine the outcry if a Democratic president proposed such BS while flagging military conflicts were going on? All these Yellow Elephants and neo-cons who beat the war drum but don’t step up to serve would be on Faux News 24/7 talking about how the Dem destroyed the military.

I’m sure they’ll have nothing to say about the sociopath-in-chief, who doesn’t give a damn about what military families are going through. This administration is tone deaf and amoral.

And how much are some of those contractor guns-for-hire getting paid compared to our men and women in uniform?

The 145,000 active-duty U.S. forces are nearly matched by occupation personnel that currently come from companies like Blackwater USA and the former Halliburton subsidiary KBR, which enjoy close personal and political ties with the Bush administration. Until Congress reins in these massive corporate forces and the whopping federal funding that goes into their coffers, partially withdrawing U.S. troops may only set the stage for the increased use of private military companies (and their rent-a-guns) which stand to profit from any kind of privatized future “surge” in Iraq.

…According to the Government Accountability Office, there are now some 48,000 employees of private military companies in Iraq. These not-quite GI Joes, working for Blackwater and other major U.S. firms, can clear in a month what some active-duty soldiers make in a year. “We got 126,000 contractors over there, some of them making more than the secretary of defense,” said House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman John Murtha. “How in the hell do you justify that?”

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding