Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Troop Faux Pas

On Tuesday, Barack Obama apologized for using the word "wasted" to refer to the lives of soldiers in a speech in Ames, Iowa.
"We ended up launching a war that should have never been authorized, and should never been waged, and on which we have now spent $400 billion, and have seen over 3,000 lives of the bravest young Americans wasted."
This faux pas is struck a similar cord as John Kerry's poor joke last November at Pasadena City College in which he said,
"You know education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."
This statement was unfounded according to a report by the Heritage Foundation, which shows that 98% of military enlistees have a high school diploma compared to 75% of the general population.

In both cases, the remarks have drawn quick criticism and quick apologies. The elephant in the room that no one is willing to talk about is the $466 billion US military budget that dwarfs all others in existence and any move that might be seen as not supporting the troops.

In the Senate, the debate over a non-binding resolution to increase troops in Iraq was stopped by a Republican filibuster last week. This week Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives face a similar challenge with their version of an Iraq resolution, and it will require wrangling moderate newcomers who are wary of casting any vote that might be seen as cutting off funding for the troops. All the while as Congress argues over non-binding resolutions, the White House as stated that there is enough money in the budget for President Bush to commit troops in Iraq with Congress possessing no viable way of stopping him.

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