Thursday, September 22, 2005

"Nothing Is More Important In The Face Of A War Than Cutting Taxes" 

The Onion? Saturday Night Live? The Daily Show? None of the above?
From National Journal’s “Congress Daily PM",
Wednesday, March 12, 2003

“Meanwhile, Majority Leader DeLay today brushed aside arguments that the Bush administration should hold off plans to attack Iraq until it has secured approval from the United Nations, saying the international body has become irrelevant and outlived its useful life. ‘They can talk until they're blue in the face over at the U.N.,’ DeLay told an America's Community Bankers meeting today. ‘I think the days of the United Nations have come to an end ... because they can't do anything.’ DeLay also said it was Congress' duty in a time of war to significantly cut taxes. ‘Nothing is more important in the face of a war than cutting taxes,’ he said.”
As you no doubt remember, that was our Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, responding to a question from Specialist Thomas Wilson of the Tennessee National Guard, who was serving in Iraq at the time, December 9, 2004. (LINK)

Here was Les AuCoin's response at the time:
The lack of body armor in Iraq has been known for two years and yet little has been done about it—despite protests from officials like Oregon Congressman Peter DeFazio, who can’t stand the—what? Arrogance? Ineptitude?—of sending young Americans into combat without the standard means of survival.

What I’d like to know is why the news media was missing in action on this story. Why should the story of inadequately protected soldiers depend on an obscure Army specialist to be told in all its disgrace? I’ll tell you why: it’s because the Washington press corps was too busy inside the Beltway trying to find out if Rumsfeld would stay for a second term, if he helped push Colin Powell out, and if he had been up to mischief on the so-called intelligence reform bill.

The other thing a lot of Americans would like to know is why Rumsfeld gave a misleading answer to the Army soldier’s question. Rumsfeld suggested that overloaded production lines were the cause of the armor shortages.

This turns out to be untrue. The Florida-based maker of fully armored Humvees announced last week that the company has been waiting for more purchase orders from the Pentagon.(LINK)

Here's what Tony Blankely had to say about Rumsfeld's statement at the time:
It is often observed that certain brilliant people "don't suffer fools gladly." But the more common experience of mankind is that fools don't suffer brilliant people gladly.
An excellent example of this phenomenon is the current attack on Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld by a legion of Washington little people: a pack of has-beens, never weres and wannabees. In other words, sitting senators, retired generals and journalists who, whether sitting or standing, are, regrettably, never retiring.

What they all have in common is a consuming hatred of logic (of course one often hates that with which one has no familiarity). And, what Donald Rumsfeld has in vast supply is logic: cold, undeniable, cruel, inexorable.


Several senators and congressmen who have been in town for decades hate Mr. Rumsfeld's logic that you fight a war with the Army you've got. They prefer the illogic that cutting the size of our Army in half between 1990-2000 should have no bearing on the size of the Army you have in 2001. How dare Mr. Rumsfeld point out the consequences of their defense budget cuts.


Mindlessly echoing Mr. Rumsfeld's Pentagon and Capitol Hill opponents are the empty suits and skirts (credit to Michael Savage for the phrase) who report the news. When two or three of these people have shared their illogic with each other, it constitutes a reportable condition called "a buzz" that Rumsfeld is in trouble for not doing his job properly.

He is , in fact, doing his job just fine. But we live in age of fraudulent sentiment and paralyzing political correctness. In such a time, Don Rumsfeld1s greatest mistake is not sweetening his logic with sentimental treacle.
By all means, read the whole thing here; it'a classic.

"Only Connect," said the liberal, Edwardian novelist. So, let's connect then and now.

DeLay's expressed attitude toward the UN, and by implication, doing what is necessary to keep allies at one's side, is the major reason we have never had sufficient troops on the ground in Iraq to prosecute an intelligent, well-planned, humane, temporary, and internationally supported occupation, which would have required immediately securing borders, and those huge weapons caches that were locatabreconnaissancelite reconnaisance, plus, at the same time, immediately providing civil order, well, one could go on and on. The flypaper strategy continues to be a total failure, except to the extent that it has worked to keep us stuck in a morass of our own making, with almost no options left to get us outdamagingl not be dammaging both to us and to Iraqis.

Faced now with a "homeland" catastrophe, Republicans' first instinct is to protect tax cuts for the wealthy at the expense of everyone else, including the men and woman doing the fighting, and their families, aSirotang to David Sorota, who found the story in the Navy Times:
They say we need to pay for reconstruction not by asking the wealthiest to sacrifice just a little bit, but by massive cuts to spending. And now we see what that means: The Navy Times today reports that those cuts "include trimming military quality-of-life programs, including health care." This, while troops are in battle.

The Republicans have put their cutting efforts in military terms, calling it "Operation Offset" - a further insult to the men and women in uniform they are now trying to screw over. The specifics are ugly. They are, for instance, asking troops to "accept reduced health care benefits for their families." Additionally, "the stateside system of elementary and secondary schools for military family members could be closed." In the past, this idea "has faced strong opposition from parents of children attending the schools because public schools [in and around bases] are seen as offering lower-quality education."

None of this, I suppose, is all that surprising. In the past, we've seen tax cuts put before making sure troops have adequate body armor heading into war - a tax/budget decision that very likely increased U.S. casualties. We've also seen Republicans vote down efforts to reduce tax cuts for the very wealthy in order to restore cuts to military family housing. And we've seen tax cuts come as the White House has refused to adequately fund a variety of other programs for troops. The truth is, the GOP has in moments of candor admitted that they care about cutting taxes for the wealthy far more than they care about the troops.
Read the rest here; David gives links within the post that nails what he claims is going on, like this one to Democratic Rep. George Miller's congressional page; good stuff about really bad people.

Watch for the Bush administration to ask congress to cut funds for all military newspapers.

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