The Cost of War
My addiction to MPR got me into trouble this morning. It had me listening to our president speak as I drove to work, putting me in the foulest of moods. My desire to be informed often keeps me from doing simple things like switching off the radio when I hear hateful, manipulative right-wing propaganda.
White House strategists are pulling out all the stops to blame the Democratic majority in Congress for a potential delay in funding the Iraq war. To punctuate this effort, White House aides have adopted a new gambit – referring to the number of days since Bush requested funding for the troops in an effort to keep up the pressure (today, 57).
During the reign of the 109th Congress, Bush submitted two major supplemental spending requests. Each request experienced a delay far more than 57 days with hardly a peep of anger from the Commander-In-Chief. The first, submitted on February 14, 2005, requested $82 billion, and was approved 86 days later on May 11, 2005 (86 days). The second, submitted on February 15, 2006, requested $72 billion, and was approved 119 days later on June 15, 2006.
After the 119 day delay, Bush did not say an “irresponsible” Congress had “undercut the troops” or that military families had “paid the price of failure.” Instead, Bush told the conservative-led Congress, “I applaud those Members of Congress who came together in a fiscally responsible way to provide much-needed funds for the War on Terror.”
If this 110th Congress fails to act soon, Bush said, “the price of that failure will be paid by our troops and their loved ones.” When announcing the press conference, the president was quoted as saying that the American people “will know who to blame when the troops run out of bullets”. That wouldn't be the opposing team, would it? The one who may steal the throne in November 2008?
Since the war began in March of 2003, 3257 American troops have died in Iraq - several thousand after "Mission Accomplished", several thousand after the capture of Saddam Hussein, several thousand after Bush began his second term in office. Almost 25,000 American troops have been wounded. The Iraqi death toll is staggering.
Take a look at a few more of President Bush's numbers. You might find this one relevant: 0 Number of minutes that President Bush, Vice-President Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, and Karl Rove (the main proponents of the war in Iraq) served in combat (combined). Or this one: 0 Number of memorial services for the returned dead that Bush has attended since the beginning of the war.
Another tidbit of this press conference I enjoyed was the bit about how Congress is now on spring break and has left work undone, spoken by the man who has taken more vacation than any other president in United States history. The White House has said the vacations "clear his mind," "it allows him to get back in touch with real America" and "he's earned it."
He's earned it. He's earned it on the backs and in the blood of U.S. soldiers (not to mention Iraqi soldiers, civilians and their families) as he sits at his ranch home and clears his mind. He's earned it pursuing a war on a word that allows him to invade and conquer wherever he pleases and alienate the international community.
But the Democrats are to blame.
And they just sit there and take it.
Where’s that revolution, folks?