Pentagon Fires Back at Bush on Military : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread

Pentagon Fires Back at Bush on Military Readiness

By Charles Aldinger

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon fired a broadside at the Republicans on Friday, denying charges by GOP presidential candidate George W. Bush (news - web sites) that U.S. military readiness and morale are plunging under Democrat Bill Clinton.

Defense Department spokesman Ken Bacon, in an interview with Reuters, said spending on military pay, benefits, weapons and training were now increasing under President Clinton and denied that two Army divisions were unready for deployment.

``Our military is low on parts, pay and morale,'' Bush charged in his nomination acceptance speech to the party's national convention in Philadelphia on Thursday night.

``If called on by the commander-in-chief (president) today, two entire divisions of the Army would have to report: 'Not ready for duty, sir!','' Bush said.

``All 10 of our Army divisions are fit to fight and ready to deploy as required by our war plan,'' Bacon shot back in response to questions. He said previous questions over transportation of those two units had been addressed.

Bacon also said that under Clinton and Defense Secretary William Cohen -- the only Republican in outgoing president Clinton's Cabinet -- ``we have increased military pay and benefits and increased money for arms procurement and training.''

``Morale is high, and the best sign of that is that retention is going up and the recruiting problem that we faced last year has largely been repaired.''

Analysts Say Charges Exaggerated

Military analysts told Reuters that the Republican charges were exaggerated, although morale had been battered in the past decade by force cuts. They also agreed that the military has been slow in changing its shape from a cumbersome Cold War machine designed to fight the Soviet Union into a more agile force for new challenges from peacekeeping to terrorism.

On Wednesday night, Bush's running mate was even more harsh in his criticism of the treatment of the military by Clinton and Vice President Al Gore (news - web sites), who will face Bush at the presidential polls in November.

``For eight years, Clinton and Gore have extended our military commitments while depleting our military power,'' said Dick Cheney. ``Rarely has so much been demanded of our armed forces, and so little given to them in return.

``George W. Bush and I are going to change that...''

The charges and proposed fixes by Bush and Cheney, who was Defense Secretary during the 1991 Gulf War, have been short on detail except to warn that a smaller military is stretched much too thinly with peacekeeping and other non-combat operations around the world.

The battle of words has thrust the military onto the political stage ahead of November's presidential election and the Republican charges come despite recent boosts in military budgets and pay along with signs of improved troop recruiting.

``It's sheer politics,'' John Steinbruner, director of the Center for International Security Studies at the University of Maryland, told Reuters.

``One can always argue for better planning discipline. But U.S. military equipment, training and readiness is so far in front in the world that there is nobody even close,'' he told Reuters.

``Kernel Of Truth''

Michael O'Hanlon, an expert on military personnel and procurement and technology at the private Brookings Institution, said there was ``a kernel of truth'' in the Republican charges because morale had plunged in the last decade because of troop and budget cuts.

He said that morale and readiness was now improving because of recent pay raises and changes in deployment schedules to areas such as the Gulf and Bosnia.

``Unit military readiness today is about what it was under (former President) Ronald Reagan, but probably less than it was during the Gulf War,'' O'Hanlon told Reuters.

Others pointed out that the House of Representatives and Senate, both controlled by Republicans, recently passed a $310 billion defense spending plan for the 2001 financial year. It included a 3.7 percent military pay raise requested by Clinton and would finance the purchase of a wide range of high-tech arms.

It is about $21 billion more than is being spent now and would be by far the biggest defense budget since the Cold War ended more than a decade ago.

-- Newsman (, August 05, 2000


Maybe they should consult the troops and their families. The lying generals are all subject to Clinton's heavy hand.

-- GI Joe (, August 05, 2000.

What was the story last week, the one about getting military personnel off food stamps

-- Hiway (, August 05, 2000.

Yeah, enlisted ranks are below the poverty line in America. But hey, their pay is going up. Pay always increases, however, those increases don't amount to sqwat, maybe 1 to 2%. Big deal.

Big smoke screen. Of course, we can't let the world know our vulnerabilities. The pentagon had to counter that way.

-- Maria (, August 05, 2000.

That was a "brilliant" utterance by Shrubya. How stupid can somebody be that, if it were true two divisions could not be deployed, he would get up on a world stage and broadcast a weakness to all possible enemies.

Maria may be right; why then, maria, do you not take your candidate to task for doing something so strategically stupid? That goes for the rest of you folks, who are replying to this post with the same nonsense you responded to the pollies with; whatever the pollies were posting was government propoganda, and even if it was true-it was not true.

For all you brilliant folk who know so so much, here is the challenge:

Post the statistics-you make a claim that military pay is below poverty level. Post the official Poverty level and the grades of pay for enlisted folk. Also, post the statistics of troop strength that prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that we have two divisions totally unfit for combat. How many troops make a division? Show the statistics from 1992 and 2000. And do not come back with the lame claim that I am supposed to disprove your point.

You are the folks that are claiming this article is bullshit. It is encumbent on you to disprove it.

-- FutureShock (gray@matter.think), August 05, 2000.

Reptilians aren't quite as smart as us humans.

-- No Reptiles in 2000 (Gore@and.???), August 05, 2000.

FS, military pay is a matter of public record. When I was in the military, it was posted, all ranks and time in grade versus pay. I knew exactly what everyone made, including civilian grades. Sorry sweetheart, I can't find it and you don't have to believe a single thing I post. Based on that pay scale, some enlisted ranks did not even make minimum wage. The military compensates for that in other ways and benefits but it still doesn't amount to much.

Now, stop being so antagonistic for a minute and think about it. The military budget has been cut to balance the budget. Military stopped procuring any new equipment. Sorry once again I have no links, only the fact that the military DoD contractors I worked for have lost most of their employees from a lack of jobs and there are no more contracts awarded. You see I've been there and done that. OK so now we have no funding for the military and the current administration spent what was in reserves for the little wars he choose. What do you think is left? Not much.

Now, think about our enemies. Do you think Iraq would love to know about the state of our defenses? Absolutely. Do you think Iraq would use this knowledge to move against us? Absolutely.

These are the points I'd like to make. Sorry no links, just knowledge gained from my background and experiences. You can choose to ignore or not; Freedom is a wonderful thing.

-- Maria (, August 05, 2000.

The Russians and Chinese have a pretty good picture of out military capability and undoubtedly share it with our enemies whenever it suits them. If the women in our "new" military were like Cherri and Maria, I wouldn't be concerned at all. Unfortunately this isn't the case. When soldiers are busier making love than practising for war, sooner or later we're going to get an unpleasant surprise. Unfortunately for the next president, this has been set up by the Clintons.

-- Hacker2 (H2@war.isn', August 05, 2000.

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