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Monday, November 19, 2007

Congress Goes On Vacation and Abandons Our Troops

Over the last few months as we have seen progress and success in Iraq finally being reported in the news, in papers like the NYT, here and here, Newsweek, Wapo, IBD, even pieces in liberal leaning blog, Slate, and most recent now one in the LA Times, we have also witnessed the Democratic politicians denying the reality of the progress in Iraq.

They failed in their 41st attempt to force an immediate withdrawal and they went on vacation without passing the bill to fund our troops in the field, even after Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned them what the ramifications of such actions would do to our military.

Basically they are determined to punish our troops for doing the unthinkable and succeeding in Iraq, which even the die hard liberal media outlets are blasting across their front pages because the progress is undeniable.

(Cartoon by Lisa Benson, via Townhall)

Where does that leave the Pentagon and our Military?

Congress's failure last week to agree whether and how to fund the war puts the onus on the Pentagon, at least for now, to find a way to cover expenses in Iraq, potentially forcing the Defense Department to close dozens of domestic military bases and imperil the livelihoods of tens of thousands of defense workers.

The congressional inaction may trigger Secretary Robert Gates to carry out his threat last week to furlough as many as 200,000 civil servants and defense contractors this winter, raising the stakes for Democratic lawmakers determined to tie war funding to a drawdown of US troops from Iraq.

In case the surrender monkeys in Congress that refused to pass the bridge fund without arbitrary timelines, don't understand, that is hundreds of thousands of voters they have just abandoned as well as leaving our troops in the field without what they need.

One of those voters, that happens to be the wife of one of our fine troops has some questions for Congress about this abandonment, via my comment section of a previous post:

Ahh, to be one of the elite press corp. So many questions for Mr. Gates, selfserving questions, but questions nonetheless.
How will this affect R&R? Will DoD still be able to fly our guys home for that coveted 18 days?
Is this why our COLA goes down every month, even though the dollar keeps dropping and prices at the commissary and PX keep going up?
What about our clinic, that is already stretched, are those some of the DoD workers who will be "laid off"?
What about our DoD schools?
Our preschools?
Our daycare?
Our commissary?
New housing? (section 8's have better housing)
New barracks?(worse then the housing)
What does this mean for us little people?
We already live in an uncertain world how much more uncertain is congress going to make it?
I know that the DoD will try to divert funds as much as they can to give our guys what they need. Congress seems to think that the DoD can just take money from elsewhere, maybe they can, I'm not privey to the inner workings of the budget. Even if congress is correct in their assumption of being able to move around funds, what price is going to have to be paid?
As I said, all this sounds/is self serving but what more can we military families give? How much more would congress like our guys to give ? Almost every member of congress voted to remove saddam from power. We did what you asked and now we're trying to put the country back on track and in case you haven't heard we're doing it. We have done what you asked of us, maybe not as fast as you would of liked or as smoothly as you would of liked, but we did it and are doing it.
We have given and done without. Some have given all. What more would you like from us? We will give it and more to ensure that the task you set for us back in 2003 is done.
Now, seems we have done all that has been asked and given so much of ourselves what will you give us? Robbing Peter to pay Paul? Is that what we get for all we have given?
ArmyWife | 11.17.07 - 4:52 am |

I believe Congress owes her some answers.

More from the CSM article

One Democratic measure, to provide $50 billion for war operations as long as the Pentagon aims to all but finish the redeployment of troops by December 2008, failed in the Senate on Friday. Another measure backed by Republicans, to provide $70 billion with no such deadline language, also failed, leaving the Pentagon uncertain about how to pay for the next several months of operations in Iraq.

That leaves the Pentagon with no choice, according to Secretary Gates, who said bluntly last week that the furloughs would be "the least undesirable" of the limited options if it runs out of money. The Defense Department would begin laying off nonuniformed defense workers, effectively shutting down all Army bases by February, followed by at least some Marine bases a month later.

The urgency stems from federal laws that require workers to be notified 60 days in advance that they might be furloughed in another month.

Not only abandoning the troops in the field in Iraq and Afghanistan, but by forcing the Pentagon to take drastic measures such as shutting down Army bases and Marine bases, they are also endangering us here at home should an attack occur.

At the Pentagon Thursday, Gates complained that an uncertain funding stream at best creates busy work for defense planners – and at worst negatively affects the troops.

"The high degree of uncertainty on funding for the war is immensely complicating this task and will have many real consequences for this department and for our men and women in uniform," he said.

Unlike during last year's budget showdown with Congress over war funding, the Pentagon this time has little wiggle room for moving money around, said Gates. The Pentagon currently can move only about $3.7 billion into accounts for war operations – roughly the equivalent of one week's worth of war funding.

That's largely true, says Rep. Joe Sestak (D) of Pennsylvania, a former Navy admiral who worked on the Pentagon's Joint Staff before retiring and running for Congress. "Money is only so fungible among various accounts," he says. "Congress makes it that way."

Representative Sestak voted in favor of the ultimately unsuccessful proposal to fund war operations at $50 billion as long as troops start leaving soon. But he says he doesn't want Congress to micromanage the war via its purse strings and says the better option for Democratic lawmakers is to put such goal-post language in an authorization bill instead of insisting that it be part of an appropriations bill. The distinction would give Pentagon planners a date to work toward, without directly affecting their ability to spend the money Congress appropriates for war operations.

So, do to our Democratic politicians inability to acknowledge the success that our troops are seeing for political reasons, our soldiers and military will have to do without.

Anyone still trying to claim that they "support" the troops?

If so, you will, rightly so, be laughed at.

Their Thanksgiving meals won't be the only turkeys at the table.