<\body> Stories in America: How Does the Bush Cabal Support the Troops?

Monday, December 11, 2006

How Does the Bush Cabal Support the Troops?

Halliburton's profits are out of control, but our government can't find the funds to pay utility bills at military bases?
During a recent visit to a military family center at Fort Hood in Texas, Joyce Raezer was dismayed to find a sign in a restroom stall asking women to clean up because janitorial service had been cut back.

"What message does that send to a family member when they walk into a family center?" asked Raezer, director of government relations for the National Military Families Association.

At Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri, swimming pools closed a month early this fall, and shuttle vans were sharply curtailed in an effort to trim spending. At Fort Sam Houston in Texas, unpaid utility bills exceeded $4 million, and the base reduced mail delivery to cut costs.

Belt-tightening at the bases is only the beginning. As the United States spends about $8 billion a month in Iraq, the military is forced to cut costs in ways big and small.

Soldiers preparing to ship to Iraq don't have enough equipment to train on because it has been left in Iraq, where it is most needed. Thousands of tanks and other vehicles sit at repair depots waiting to be fixed because money is short.

At the Red River Army Depot in Texas, at least 6,200 humvees, Bradley Fighting Vehicles, trucks, and ambulances were awaiting repair because of insufficient money, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported in October.

There is a virtual graveyard of tanks and fighting vehicles at the Anniston Army Depot in Alabama. The depot expects to repair 1,885 tanks and other armored vehicles during the fiscal year that began Oct. 1, spokeswoman Joan Gustafson said. That would be up from the 1,169 and 1,035 vehicles repaired in the previous two years.

Some of the depot's contractors haven't been able to supply enough parts in time to make all the repairs, Gustafson said. The depot is trying to reduce the time for getting parts from 120 days to 60 days.

Tanks and helicopters are one thing; the toll on America's warriors and their families is another.

Post-traumatic stress disorder and problems such as drug abuse and depression have been diagnosed in more than 73,000 soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. That's enough people to fill a typical NFL stadium.

Internet blogs by soldiers or their wives tell of suicide attempts by soldiers haunted by the horror of combat, civilian careers harmed by reservists' deployment and redeployment, and marriages broken by distance and the trauma of war.

"Back-to-back war deployments have changed both of us - to where it's as if a marriage does not exist anymore," wrote a woman calling herself Blackhawk wife on an Iraq war vets Web site. "We just go through the daily steps of life and raising children as best we can."

The length of the war in Iraq has strained all aspects of the armed forces, said Dov Zakheim, the Pentagon's chief financial officer from 2001 to 2004.

"In 2003, I don't think anybody predicted it would go as long as World War II and the wear and tear on equipment would be as intense," said Zakheim, a vice president for global strategy consultant Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. "When I left the department, we were spending less than $4 billion a month on Iraq. Now it's pretty much doubled."

The length of the Iraq war surpassed that of World War II last month. The costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the global fight against terrorism are expected to surpass by spring the Vietnam War's $536 billion in inflation-adjusted costs. That's more than 10 times the Bush administration's $50 billion prewar estimate.

Through the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, Congress authorized about $436 billion in war spending, according to the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress.


At 12/12/2006 9:15 AM, Anonymous jack boo said...

This odd (and repeated) use of the word "cabal" as in, "The Bush Cabal," reminds me of Vizzinz's constant and inappropriate use of the word "inconceivable" in the Princess Bride.

You really need to find a dictionary and look up the definition of the word.

At 12/12/2006 9:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not odd at all. Maybe odd to a Bush apologist

At 12/12/2006 12:12 PM, Anonymous jack boo said...

I'm well aware of the popularity of the word, especially among those who are attracted to conspiracy theories and the like. When someone uses the word "cabal," they pretty much declare themselves to be using words in their emotive rather than logical senses. It's essentially a marketing term for the far-left. (Although Pat Robertson used the term to describe various Democrats for the same purpose.)

Ignoring for the moment the entomology of the word and it's anti-Semitic roots (And no, I certainly don't expect THAT to give anyone here pause before using the word), the use of the word "cabal" always assumes some sort of Shadow Influence (TM)...usually having to do with Dick Cheney and/or the neo-cons "hijacking foreign policy." Of course, the last I looked, Vice President outranked State Department chairman in the White House's organizational flow chart and it surely outranks bureaucrats in the State Department. But if you had something else in mind when you used the word I'd be interested in what that might be.

But yes, I know this is water of the backs of ducks. For ideologically driven people like Pat Robertson and many on the left a higher purpose is served by using emotive words like "cabal," with all of it's sinister implications.

But hey, as long as you're not looking for credibility outside your immediate circle of True Believers I suppose there's little harm done.

Besides, apparently cabals are accepting everyone nowadays. Even liberals like Michael Totten...



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