Friday, August 26, 2005

Everybody Loves The Military, Why Can't We have One

On the face of it, you wouldn't think anybody would lve the military as much or more than President George W. Bush. But for somebody that purports to have such respect, devotion, and love for the armed services Bush has a funny way of showing it. In fact, he doesn't seem to want them anywhere in sight.

First, he sends them off to fight in an ill-advised ar without the proper strategy to speak of, in insufficient numbers to even hope to get the job done, and without the body armor and other protectons needed to prevent them from being killed to the tune of, as of this writing, 1864 dead, and countless otehrs wounded and incapacitated, some for life.

He has, or his administaton has, instituted a "stop-loss" policy in order to prevent troops from leaving the military at the end of their normal term of enlistment.

He refuses to adjust his strategy in any significant way which might bring about a reversal of our fortunes, andhasten an end to the conflict.

He has almost torpedoed the Iraqi constitutional process by insisting th eIraqis adhere to an artificial timeline for adopting their constitution which, as it stands now, has some serious flaws. Yet, he stubbornly refuses to consider any kindof timeline for withdrawing our troops, and in fact has constructed bases that at elast give the impression we are engaged in a permanent occupation.

Moreover, he has reduced veterans benefits. This, as they say, is the most unkindest cut of all. A little salt in that wound, soldier?

Finally, this week saw the culmination of a plan to begin reducing cost by closing military bases here in this country. More than 500, in fact, have either been closed, are targeted for consideration to be closed, or are faced with the prospect of substantial reductions. Just today, word was received that Walter Reed Army Hospital, ws one of those that will definitely be closed, after being opened since 1909, and tending to the care of wounded veterans since at least the days of World War I. This is all the more troubling, as Walter Reed went out of it's way to care for wounded veterans in a comprehensive fashion, taking into account their considerable mental and emotional needs, as well as the physical. Still, it has been decided it would be cheaper to shut it down, and build another extension to the Bethesda Naval Hospital, than to conduct needed repairs on the old hospital.

And there is yet more to come. Many in Bush's own party ae furious at this, as these bases contribute to the local economies of their respective areas, many of which need all they help they can get, again thanks in large part to Bush's policies.

Some areas, it should be noted, have benefited from base closings. One such community has turned the area into a model of econmic revitalization, with shopping malls and other business investment opportunities. But it should be pointed out that this was a base that was clsed in the mid 1990's, during the more economicaly vital and successful Clinton era.

True, some present ay base closing areas may fare as well. But I am very much afraid there will be few, if any, that will match this success, and in mos tcases the reverse will be the rule, not the exception.

Thus, while an ever growing number of our military personnel will now be stationed overseas, leaving our borders relatively unguarded and unprotected (to say nothing of our airspace, by the way, and our coastline), an ever growing number of our communities now are faced with the prospect of thousands of job losses, and resulting economic recessions.

Amazing. But this is one military miscalculation and potential fiasco the voters will be unable to blame on the democrats.