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Democrat Wars vs. Republican Wars


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The Army You Have . . .

. . . Under Bush and Rumsfeld couldn’t care less if your humvee is armored with cardboard

by Harold Meyerson - LA Weekly

 

In January of 1942 — one month after the Pearl Harbor attack plunged America into war — Franklin D. Roosevelt went before Congress to ask for funds for his "Victory Program," which was the name he gave to the government’s program for wartime production. Roosevelt called for building 45,000 military aircraft that year and 100,000 in the following one. Considering that just 19,000 had been built in 1941, and just 4,000 in 1940, that was asking quite a bit.

 

But the aircraft manufacturers — working out of converted auto factories and new aircraft plants — delivered the goods. Under a national program coordinated by the Pentagon (itself a brand-new building), they turned out 44,479 aircraft in 1942 and 81,028 in 1943; by the end of the war, the total reached 260,000. At the same time, America’s shipyards increased the size of the Navy’s carrier fleet from 7 to 144 (including smaller escort carriers) and the destroyer fleet from 171 to 520. Thousands of landing craft were built to land armies in Normandy and on Pacific islands. Hundreds of thousands of young men were taught to fly planes and navigate ships. Total enrollment in the armed services grew from several hundred thousand to more than 11 million soldiers, sailors and marines. The armed forces were required to fight on several huge fronts simultaneously, with more than a couple million men in harm’s way by late 1944. All this growth occurred in the little more than three-and-a-half years from Pearl Harbor to the Japanese surrender, and in a nation whose population was less than half what it is today.

 

And today — in a nation that is incalculably richer than it was in the 1940s, in a nation that is the world’s unchallenged superpower — U.S. soldiers are scrounging through garbage heaps for armor to affix to their Humvees as they dart around Iraq. Our force in Iraq is minuscule compared to the forces we deployed in World War II — currently just 135,000 soldiers, marines and National Guards; the total will rise to 150,000 as the January elections draw near. We have been fighting in Iraq for 21 months now — enough time, by World War II standards, to build whole damn fleets of ships and planes and tanks.

 

But today, in Iraq, we have 19,389 Humvees in which we move our troops around the country. Of these, just 5,910 are fully armored; 9,134 have bolted-on armor; and 4,345 have no armor at all. Which is why, when National Guard Spc. Thomas Wilson asked Donald Rumsfeld in Kuwait last week, "Why do we soldiers have to dig through local landfills for pieces of scrap metal and compromised ballistic glass to up-armor our vehicles?" the hall erupted in applause. Blame war movies or the History Channel or even the public schools, but somewhere in the collective consciousness of our troops there is a dim memory of a time when the United States sent its forces into battle actually equipped to meet the enemy.

 

Of course, as Rumsfeld responded, "You go to war with the Army you have." Franklin Roosevelt went to war with the army he had, at a moment not of his own choosing but rather that of the Japanese Navy. He managed to build the most remarkable army the world had ever seen in an astonishingly short time.

 

George W. Bush went to war at precisely the moment of his own choosing, with the army that he and Rumsfeld had insisted on. The head of that army, Chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki, had argued that we needed a different army in Iraq, one of no fewer than 200,000 soldiers to handle the difficult occupation, but Shinseki was the subject of one change in the army that Bush and Rumsfeld wanted and got: For daring to suggest that the administration’s plan for war was inadequate at best, Shinseki did not have his term as chief of staff renewed.

 

And in the 21 months since we’ve been in Iraq, we just haven’t gotten around to armoring our vehicles there. The chief U.S.-based contractor for armoring Humvees, O’Gara-Hess & Eisenhardt of West Chester, Ohio, actually announced earlier this month that it was working 22 percent under capacity and that the Pentagon hadn’t asked it to step up production. Beyond Defense Department fecklessness, though, there’s the problem of our declining manufacturing sector. All the army’s medium-size trucks, Newsweek reports this week, are made by a single, Texas-based manufacturer. The administration exhibits equal indifference to the survival of our soldiers and the survival of our manufacturing base.

 

If this were a Democratic administration, you can be sure there would long since have been calls for impeaching the president and defense secretary. Imagine how Bob Dole would react if a Democratic president were as unconcerned about the safety of our troops as Bush and Rumsfeld plainly are. As things stand, though, John McCain can declare on Monday (as he did this Monday, in fact) that he has "no confidence" in Rumsfeld, and the Tuesday papers either ignore the story or bury it with the quilting-bee news.

 

It’s not hard to understand how Rumsfeld can survive his responsibility for the Abu Ghraib atrocities and the abuses at Guantánamo. The Geneva Conventions have never loomed large in the minds of American voters. But blowing off the concerns of American troops in harm’s way by noting, as Rumsfeld did, that even fully armored vehicles sometimes blow up should be another matter. (By that logic, why weigh down the heads of our men and women under fire with those clunky helmets?) Yet the silence of such ostensibly pro-military right-wing media goons as the boys at Fox News has been as deafening as it is predictable.

 

For decades, Bob Dole has complained about "Democrat Wars" — attributing both World Wars, Korea and Vietnam, at minimum, to his rival party’s partisan machinations. Say what you will of the Democrats, though, they at least cared enough to build armored vehicles. In Republican Wars, you may go out of this world as naked as when you came in.

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This is dishonest. In actual fact, Rumsfeld first said that the Army was buying armored humvees as fast as they could be produced, and discussed the numbers. Then he said the bit about you go to war with what you have.

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This is dishonest. In actual fact, Rumsfeld first said that the Army was buying armored humvees as fast as they could be produced, and discussed the numbers. Then he said the bit about you go to war with what you have.

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You obviously can't read. The writer stated that the company in Ohio armouring the Humvees was operating at 22 percent below capacity and that the Pentagon had not asked it to step up production. The LARGER point, if you failed to grasp it, was that the Bush administration, in 21 months of war, had not bothered to gear up to wartime production in many respects, unlike Democratic administrations in the past.

 

Why should they, one might ask? Their skins aren't on the line (and never have been, since neither Bush, Rumsfeld or any of the senior planners of this war has ever fought under arms nor do any of their children). Ditto most of the Senators (apart from John McCain, who has expressed "no confidence" in Rumsfeld).

 

This is reminiscent of the last days of Rome, when the corrupt emperors ordered circuses to distract the population from the hordes at the gates.

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As Republican senators begin to question Rumsfeld's track record, one Republican senator comes up with the usual excuse when backed in a corner - "It's Clinton's Fault!!"

 

http://www.muskogeephoenix.com/news/stories/20041217/localnews/1754818.html

 

James Inhove made a speech blaming the lack of armour and other materials in Iraq on the Clinton Administration. It's amazing how powerful Clinton is! He's been out of almost almost four full years, and, he still gets blamed for every Republican screwup. On the other hand, I've not heard any applause for leaving the Republicans a huge budget surplus they could distribute to the highest income people in the country.

 

amazing . . .

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It's nice to know that there is a debate taking place on this thread about which political party has caused the most wars. Since the thread was about a remark made by Secretary Rumsfeld as to the question of body armor. In some ways the debate has shifted in a different direction.

 

Since we're on the topics of wars. Let's not forget the casualites of wars are still human beings. A debate can be about politics of war, but lets not forget the costs of a war in human terms.

 

A mention of President Bush and Secretary Rumsfeld was made in a previous about the lack of genuine care that these two gentlemen have shown towards the Armed Forces. I dont think it is fair to say that at all. I personally believe that Mr Bush has genuine compassion as to the fate of US troops in the battlefield. At first and foremost he's a human being. Let's not forget that a President has to meet families who have lost loved ones on the war front. In the last four years, I've never seen Mr Bush show rudeness to these families. There was a mention of former President Clinton, the same can be applied to him when he was in the White House. He showed great compassion to families whose loved ones were taken away from them.

 

I'm more keen on blaming the bureaucracy in Washington. That's why things never get done in the Washington beltway. It's always been that way, I dont this will change anytime soon. I think every President regardless of political affiliaton will have to endure the trials and tribulations of a certain sect of the electorate who will always believe in their heart of hearts that a sitting President in or way or another do not seem to care for the troops. This wheel will just keep churning.

 

Rohale

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>A mention of President Bush and Secretary Rumsfeld was made in

>a previous about the lack of genuine care that these two

>gentlemen have shown towards the Armed Forces. I dont think

>it is fair to say that at all. I personally believe that Mr

>Bush has genuine compassion as to the fate of US troops in the

>battlefield. At first and foremost he's a human being.

 

I don't believe it for a minute. They (and most of the other top figures in this administration and in the Republican Congress) show every sign of being sociopaths. Sociopaths can be very good at faking charm and sympathy, but it's all an act. The only thing sociopaths care about is themselves and power. If acting charming and sympathetic can get them power, then that's how they'll act. But this gang has a very thin sort of charm. Even Ted Bundy was more appealing!

 

 

>I'm more keen on blaming the bureaucracy in Washington.

>That's why things never get done in the Washington beltway.

 

People who believe this don't understand how government really works. Career bureaucrats don't make policy, at least not the kind that's keeping armor from our troops. Politicians and political appointees do. If BushCo had listened to career bureaucrats in the C.I.A. and in the State and Defense Departments, we wouldn't be in this catastrophe. The decision to go to war unprepared and unequipped was Bush's, and Bush's alone. Even if he isn't one day brought to justice for his criminal malfeasance, the judgement of history will be harsh on him, indeed.

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One Hundred Thousand Planes ....

 

The bigger point, both in posting this, and I believe in the authors opinion, is one that has been made by both a few Republicans and a few Democrats: there is a war on, not simply in Iraq, but as Mr. Bush is so wont to state, a war against terrorism.

 

In these wars, very little, if any sacrafices are being called upon. While thousands of individuals made donations to the fire fighters, police officers and families of the victims of 9/11, this was voluntarily done and not at the request of the government.

 

Prior to WWII, this country was not even in the top ten of armed forces. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, FDR set as a target the building of 50,000 airforce planes, which was considered unrealistic and undoable. To accomplish this goal required a great deal of sacrafice: automobile production was completely halted, construction steal was rerouted, factories were retooled and redirected from manufacturing goods for consumption to manufacturing tools for defense and for war.

 

By FDR's target deadline, one hundred airplanes had been built for the Navy and Airforce. No such comparable or even minimally identical effort is being made, or worse yet, is being asked to be undertaken to date.

 

 

http://www.gaydar.co.uk/francodisantis

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>The Dems should be better at war. They have had more

>practise: WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam....

 

Was that the best you can come up with??? How about finally admitting that there is something wrong with how this administration has planned for this war? You dont have to change parties to admit their is a problem.

 

Your rsponse is petty and sounds like the words of a school yard child.

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>What angers me the most is how little Bush and his

>administration cares about the people they put in harms way

>for their own personal reasons.

>

>They just don't care.

 

 

Remember when Dubya flew to Iraq at Thanksgiving a year ago, holding a plastic turkey and posing with the troops? The plastic turkey wasn't the only prop for that reelection bid photo-op, the troops were no less than props themselves for the road show production of Dubya's "I'm a War President". It's painfully obvious he could care less about the troops. They're merely toys in his infantile fantasy-come-true.

 

I hear enlistment numbers are way down for the National Guard. Wonder when we'll hear about Jenna and Barbara enlisting, knowing what great patriots the Bushes are.

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