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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Bush to Increase Military Numbers

The numbers is the focus of this post, no only the numbers of the size of the military but other numbers will be covered as well.

Last night a Wapo article came out from a 25 minute interview in the Oval Office where the President made it clear that our military needs to increase its numbers.

President Bush: Listen, a couple of things before we get going. Obviously, I've been thinking about -- and talking to a lot of people about -- the way forward in Iraq and the way forward in this ideological struggle. I want to share one thought I had with you, and I'm inclined to believe that we do need to increase our troops, the Army, the Marines. And I talked about this to [Defense] Secretary [Robert M.] Gates, and he is going to spend some time talking to the folks in the building, come back with a recommendation to me about how to proceed forward on this idea. I want to give him a little time to get his feet on the ground. And so I'll be addressing this after consultations with him. I just want to share that with you before we get going.

Now, according to the second Wapo article, the Democrats seem to agree that increasing our military strength is vital.

Democrats have been calling for additional troops for years. Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) proposed an increase of 40,000 troops during his 2004 campaign against Bush....

Democrats pounced on Bush's comments. "I am glad he has realized the need for increasing the size of the armed forces . . . but this is where the Democrats have been for two years," said Rep. Rahm Emanuel (Ill.), the new House Democratic Caucus chairman. Kerry issued a statement calling Bush's move a "pragmatic step needed to deal with the warnings of a broken military,"

Others have weighed in and it seems to be agreed all around that the military needs to increase in numbers.

The incoming chairman of the House Armed Services Committee spoke out forcefully today for increasing the size of the Army and Marines, noting that their leaders describe the services as "stretched and strained." "We're going to have to pay attention to this," Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) told reporters. Saying the two services are "bleeding," he added, "I think we have to apply the tourniquet and strengthen the forces. I think that will be a major part of our work."

Hat Tip to Dan Riehl for the email where he shows us how the military numbers have dwindled and although it has risen over the last few years, it is still lower than it needs to be.

But the really damning numbers are here.

Scroll down for different measures. You can also click on the graph above to enlarge, or see it at the link.

During the Clinton years military spending dropped over ten percent in terms of discretionary spending and it hasn't come back. Even worse, we spent the lowest percent of GDP in our history under Clinton and that hasn't come back up completely, either.

Look at the Carter years versus the Reagan era with the transition eventually to Clinton. We won't be able to fight a global war against terrorism if that number doesn't continue to rise. And I don't foresee the incoming Congress being helpful in that cause.
Year %GDP 1976 5.2
1977 4.9
1978 4.7
1979 4.6
1980 4.9
1981 5.1
1982 5.7
1983 6.1
1984 5.9
1985 6.1
1986 6.2
1987 6.1
1988 5.8
1989 5.6
1990 5.2
1991 4.6
1992 4.8
1993 4.4
1994 4.0
1995 3.7
1996 3.5
1997 3.3
1998 3.1
1999 3.0
2000 3.0
2001 3.0
2002 3.4
2003 3.7
The Political Pit Bull has more.

Bottomline here is our military, our first line of defense has not been maintained and year after year, spending has been cut and defense of our country has increasingly become the last thing on the list of things to do.


Now there was something else I read last night, quoting a whole different set of numbers and I consider this a must read, from Amy Proctor.

Let me tell you a few things about Amy first, so you can understand her justifiable anger.

She left her job as a paralegal with a State Bar Association to raise her children and focus on family life. In 1993, her husband Johnny joined the US Army and has served with 4th ID, 101st ABN DIV (Rakkasans), 2nd ID (Korea, DMZ) and the 82nd ABN DIV (2nd BDE). He has been deployed to Haiti, Korea for a year and Iraq for a year during the expeditionary phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The Proctors love being an Army family and supporting their country.

Amy's achievements as an Army wife include citations from both the 101st Airborne Division, 187th Infantry (Rakkasans) as Family Readiness Group leader & 82nd Airborne Division, 325th Infantry Regiment for outstanding support to military families. She also received the Dr. Mary E. Walker Award (11/01) while at Ft. Bragg, NC, the highest award going to a military spouse for supporting & improving the quality of life for soldiers and their families. She has also received recognition from Ft. Jackson for support of soldiers.

You can see more about who Amy is here.

She does not just talk the talk, she actually walks the walk. She backs up her opinions with facts and figures and experience.

Her latest post deserves to be seen, it is well written and well researched and she is understandable upset at Bill O'Reilly, I suggest you read the whole post, but I will excerpt a few things that I read.

Case in point is this interview O’Reilly conducted with LT GEN Martin Dempsey, commander of Multinational Security Transition Command in Iraq. LT GEN Dempsey is responsible for assisting the Iraqi government in the development, organization, training, equipping, sustaining the Iraqi security forces.

In this interview, O’Reilly seems either incapable or unwilling to believe the general’s assessment of the state of Iraq, refusing to believe the situation isn’t completely hopeless despite what the commander says in the interview. Watch the Interview .

You can recall LT GEN Dempsey’s answers from the video interview, but here in part of the transcript are some of O’Reilly’s questions and comments that need addressing:

O'Reilly: The perception in the Untied States is that this is a loser, that things are not going well for the United States. Is that reality?

LT GEN Dempsey: No, I don’t think so at all. There’s a great deal of progress. I do understand the feeling that things aren’t going well here, but the reality is that there is a real pulse not only at the national level but also in the security forces.

O’Reilly: Can you understand that after four years most Americans are exhausted, they don’t want to hear about Iraq, they don’t care about the Sunni and Shia, they just don’t want American soldiers being killed?

O’Reilly: But we’re talking 4 years now, this adventure here in Iraq, and you’re telling me that you’re still working hard, you’re optimistic but am I looking at another 4 or 5 years? How much sacrifice, blood and treasure is America supposed to extend to this country?

O’Reilly: 3,000 American dead, 15,000 wounded or something, Americans are saying “not worth it”

LT GEN Dempsey: It is absolutely worth it. Left unchecked, we would have been doing this 2025 or so, but it would have been a far more horrific experience for all of us and far more casualties.

The good LT GEN was way too polite. Mr. O’Reilly, factor this:

It’s a shame the American public is tiring of Iraq. Oh, yes, it’s quite exhausting turning on the news every night for 20 minutes and being an armchair quarterback. It’s pretty exhausting watching the United States military do all the work for you and fighting an enemy who wants to kill you. If you’re that exhausted, turn off the TV and go for a ride in you’re air conditioned vehicle and go to the local mall for some Christmas shopping while the troops, who repeatedly re-enlist to actually fight this war, carry on. Note how they don’t complain of being too exhausted. No, they sign up, they re-enlist, they give their lives and they work for a year at a time, 24/7.

Now for the numbers I was talking aboout earlier. I see articles saying we have been in Iraq longer than World War II, but Amy points out the differences.

Mr. O’Reilly, While over 3,000 American soldiers have lost their lives over the past three years in Iraq, 408,306 lost their lives during World War II in the same amount of time. The north lost over 363,000 and the south over 199,000 in the American Civil War in four years. We lost over 81,000 in about six weeks at the Battle of the Bulge and over 6,500 in one day at Iwo Jima. Most significantly, Mr. O’Reilly, we lost almost 3,000 in one day on 9/11.

Mr. O’Reilly, exactly how much “ sacrifice, blood and treasure is America supposed to extend to” Iraq? How much have we spent on a failing War on Poverty over the last 42 years, and how many casualties have there been? Have Americans noticed a debit in their paycheck designated “war in Iraq”? How much sacrifice are Americans really required to make? None. It is soldiers and their families who commit to sacrifice and blood and they volunteer over and over again. God bless them for it.

Well said Amy!!!!!!!!

Again, you should read her whole article, it is excellent and from a woman who knows what the word sacrifice is.

We need our military, we need to win the war on terror and we need the American people to understand that lives just weren't lost on 9/11 but WAR WAS DECLARED ON US. Not from a country, not from a nation but from Extremists that will give their lives happily to destroy as many of us, Americans, as they can kill.

Our military doesn't just deserve our "funding" them, but they deserve our respect, our thanks and our moral support. They are not asking YOU to pick up a gun and fight, they are willing to do it for you...... is it so much to ask that we support them?

Right Truth has an excellent piece on whether we are safer yet.

Others discussing this:
The Blogs of War.
Blue Crab Boulevard.
Captain's Quarters.
Don Surber.
A Blog for all.
Hot Air.
The Political Pit Bull.
Jules Crittenden.

More discussion from both sides of the aisle here.