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Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve no doubt heard for
years now that the military is suffering readiness problems under the
Clinton administration.

Because of stupid, near-sighted deployments; raunchy recruitment
levels; iffy logistics funding; countless numbers of experienced
personnel getting out; military “feminization”; poor civilian
leadership; and a laundry list of other complaints, the U.S. military –
downsized as it is — has been reported to be in bad shape.

Well, now that GOP nominee George W. Bush has made mention of the sad
state of the U.S. military, the socialist mimes in the military
hierarchy — obviously “Clintonized” to the point of being unable to
recognize reality — have “fired back” at Bush, claiming he lies when he
says major components of the military are not fit for combat.

According to an

article
in Monday’s

Salon magazine,
Bush’s charge that two of the Army’s 10 divisions (we had 18 combat divisions when Jr.’s pop — and running mate — ran the military during the Gulf War) are not combat ready are simply not true.

Pointing out Bush’s alleged misguidance in its “Lie of the Week” section, Salon went on to pad the universal Clinton administration military line: Forget all of the compelling and documentable evidence; things are just fine.

Why? Because the administration said so.

Oh.

According to Salon, Bush’s statement during his acceptance speech last week at the Republican National Convention — when he said, “If called on by the commander in chief today, two entire divisions of the Army would have to report, ‘Not ready for duty, sir,’” — is not only untrue, but intended to misguide Americans about the real state of the military.

“Last October the commanders of the 1st Infantry Division and the 10th Mountain Division did temporarily downgrade their divisions’ readiness. But Bush was guilty of more than being off by a few months. His clear intent was to create an image of jeeps with fenders dangling, tanks and helicopters ground to a halt for a lack of spare parts and so forth,” Salon’s Joshua Micah Marshall said in his column.

Well, Josh, that’s close — the military doesn’t use “jeeps” anymore; they use “Hummers,” and believe-you-me, I want one.

But just how “ready” are U.S. Army divisions? Commanders — prevented from telling the truth by selfish self-interests and promotion dreams — couldn’t be honest about the current state of the military because to do so would end their careers. Those few who have tried to speak out honestly about the sad military state these days have been made examples of.

But, hell, Josh, why quibble over such mundane details? Clearly the evidence is on Bush’s side.

To hear Salon tell it, not only is the military “Four-oh” but it is A-OK because Gen. Hugh Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says it is A-OK.

Like Gen. Shelton, a political appointee of Clinton’s, has no stake in backing up his commander in chief; as if Gen. Shelton wants our potential adversaries to actually know how bad a shape our services really are. There are distinct reasons why Shelton wouldn’t want to say Bush was right.

But he doesn’t have to say a thing because here are the facts, and they speak for themselves:

  • All branches of the service, with the exception of the Marine Corps, have not been able to recruit and retain enough personnel to meet congressionally-mandated strengths.

  • Hordes of experienced fighter pilots, senior NCO’s, officers, and skilled personnel have quit the service rather than re-enlist, most citing prolonged (and unnecessary) overseas deployments, “feminization” and politically correct mandates, and general disgust with their leadership (which is coming from guys like Shelton). By “hordes,” Salon, I mean more than normal. During the Bush and Reagan years, recruitment levels were always met — with an armed force nearly 800,000 personnel larger.

  • The lack of spare parts, hurt by continuing budget cuts, have plagued the services for years. This is especially true of the Air Force, which has had more fighter planes crash due to “training accidents” than have been lost in combat. The defense budget figures since 1992 bear this out.

  • Salon’s Marshall virtually blamed the entire military drawdown on Cheney and retired Gen. Colin Powell: “(Bush) failed to note that this was a result not of Clinton administration neglect but of the post-Cold War military restructuring that was organized by two men you may also have heard bashing the Clinton administration’s defense policies last week: Dick Cheney and Colin Powell.” Mr. Marshall, please — civilian appointees and military commanders do what they’re told and Congress passed the measures mandating the Cold War drawdowns by ordering the cuts and deleting funding for the items it ordered cut. Besides, the Clinton administration continued this trend (remember the late Defense Secretary Les Aspin’s now infamous “Bottom-up review?” And the 18 U.S. Army rangers who lost their lives in Somalia under the Clinton administration’s military genius?)

Besides, given current troop and funding levels, it is impossible for our services to be completely combat ready when they are spread out — by the Pentagon’s own admission — in over 100 locations around the world.

No, Salon has it wrong, and Bush-Cheney have it right. The U.S. military is in a near-dangerous and sad state of affairs. Thank God our nukes still work.

Marshall wrote: “Bush has every right to take up this issue. But the question of military readiness is about more than troop strength and spare parts. …”

No, it isn’t. Chinese or Russian or North Korean soldiers can only be killed with superior firepower and numbers of troops; it’s just as simple as that.

Nevertheless, having said that, Marshall concluded: “(Military readiness) is also about credibility, specifically the president’s credibility. And for Bush, playing fast and loose with the facts is not a good start.”

Bush is playing “fast and loose with the facts?” Now, that’s a good one. Clinton has never done anything but play “fast and loose with the facts” since he’s been in office; everyone knows that. So, why are we to believe his military’s hierarchy when they tell us — as they routinely have — that “everything’s just fine?”

Questioning the Bush team’s military veracity and experience — as well as its record — while “conveniently” forgetting two terms of Clinton foreign policy sickness is almost a crime in itself. Clinton never met a country he couldn’t bomb, in order to keep the domestic heat off his back. Besides, there is a big difference; Bush Jr.’s team under Papa Bush beat the world’s fourth largest army; Clinton has had difficulty beating Somalian warlords, Haitian thugs, and Sudanese aspirin factory managers, let alone a third-rate power like Yugoslavia.

Bush and Cheney will fix the military because Republicans have always known what it takes to defend a nation. It’s just that simple.

And, if Americans want to keep their rosy, soft-to-the-touch lifestyle intact, they’re going to have to fund a military capable of defending it. “Beefing up” Medicaid, HUD, the EPA, and “education” — as Gore would do — won’t cut it.

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