Why Won't Bush Support The Troops?

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Appearing at The Blogging Curmudgeon, My Left Wing, and the Independent Bloggers' Alliance.

Betty B Support Troops

This is what President Bush had to say about the now vetoed funding bill passed by a Democratic Congress:

I recognize that many Democrats saw this bill as an opportunity to make a political statement about their opposition to the war. They sent their message, and now it is time to put politics behind us and support our troops with the funds they need.

It appears that giving the troops what they need does not include little things like wages. As that same Democratically led Congress tries to get our troops a slightly higher wage increase, the response from the White House is a flat, "No."

The House was set to vote for a 3.5 percent basic pay increase for January 2008. That’s 0.5 percent higher than proposed by the Bush administration. The House would continue a string of annual raises set 0.5 percent higher than private sector wage growth through at least 2012.

A 3 percent raise next January would be enough to keep military pay competitive, said the White House’s Office of Management and Budget in a “Statement of Administration Policy” on the bill, HR 1585, released May 16.


“When combined with the overall military benefit package, the President’s proposal provides a good quality of life for servicemembers and their families,” said the OMB letter to committee leaders.

Oh, really! A "good quality of life." As of now, the base pay for an E1, the lowest pay grade, is $15, 616.80 a year. I'm not going to factor in the BAH (Basic Housing Allowance) because that figure varies tremendously. Many salary estimates include them, resulting in inflated estimates. BAH varies based on number of dependents, if any, and location. And BAH is only paid to those troops who maintain off-base housing. In other words, if you're deployed into a war zone, and have no dependents requiring housing, you receive no BAH.

Basic Allowances for Housing (BAH) can vary from as much as $3,464 monthly for married officers in an expensive location (such as San Francisco) to a low of $428 monthly for a single enlisted E-1 living in a less expensive location. Basic Allowance for Housing rates, or BAH rates, are determined by surveys of the civilian housing market in over 350 U.S. locations. In 2006, BAH rates increased by 4.4 percent, ranging from $1,429.20 monthly for a general to $285.30 for an E-1 without dependents.

Having lived with my Marine Corps Officer husband in one of those more expensive areas, I can tell you that the BAH is frequently inadequate to cover true housing costs.

There are other factors that add to the base pay, such as combat and hazardous duty pay, for those troops who are deployed into a war zone, but no matter how you slice it, our troops are paid less than the average teacher. And while I think teachers are hideously underpaid for their labors, they are not uprooted every couple of years -- which severely limits the earning potential of non-military spouses -- nor does their job involve taking enemy fire... generally speaking.

Congressional Democrats want to see our currently very strained troops receive fairer compensation.

Top Democratic leaders vowed to continue their efforts to enact a larger raise, arguing that members of the armed forces and their families deserve annual pay raises higher than the private sector due to the dangers of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But, in a move unsurprising to those of us who have been actively observing Bush Administration policy, the White House is endeavoring to put the kibosh on any thought of even this nominally higher pay increase.

As I have said many times, the lavish funding the Pentagon receives does not trickle down to the men and women who are actually putting their lives on the line. It goes to the care and feeding of the the military-industrial complex.

Congress often adds money to the annual White House spending request for military programs. Yet the newly elected Congress, which is controlled by Democrats, has placed more emphasis on increasing funding for military personnel than for weapons programs such as missile defense systems, according to MacKenzie Eaglen , a national security specialist at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative-leaning public policy think tank.

"This bill [passed by the House] promotes the softer spending -- such as healthcare, compensation, and readiness -- rather than equipment and weapons," she said.

She said she worries, like the White House, that too much spending on compensation and other personnel costs could unduly drain funding from vital weapons systems.

Worse. The companies making billions in Pentagon contracts are not necessarily those who build the better mouse trap. They're the ones with the best political connections. Which is why, for instance, the Osprey is still flying clumsily along and why Dragon Skin body armor loses out to Interceptor from Armor Holdings. (Hat-tip: occams hatchet) So while people like, say George "Slam Dunk" Tenet, line their pockets, our troops are making crap wages to take enemy fire in insufficient body armor.

In addition to its desire to keep military pay raises to a minimum, the Bush White House has expressed an interest in raising the Tri-Care (health insurance) fees and eliminating drug price controls for retired military. Because, you know, our veterans don't get fucked badly enough now.

None of these cynical maneuvers should come as a shock. This is the same Administration that cut its funding request in half for research on and treatment of the signature injury of our current conflict; brain damage. It's the same Administration that slashed impact aid funding, which pays for the education of children of military families, at the outset of the war in Iraq. It's the same Administration that turns a blind eye to Iraq Vets who return to the US to live on the streets. Here is but a partial list of funding cuts for both active duty and veterans advocated by the Bush Administration. Remember that next time Bush scolds his detractors for failing to support the troops.


Anonymous said...


Given what I've read here, why in FUCK would ANYONE, (and I do mean ANYONE) want to wear any uniform representing our so-called "American values"?? Huh?? WHY?? For "freedom"? Oh fuck off. We have lots' and lotsa nukes. Who, exactly, is supposed to be taking this "freedom" away from us? I find it hard to have ANY sympathy even for the troops for two reasons:

1. Just spend 10 minutes watching GWB on TV whenever he appears, ok? Just 10 minutes. Unless he's got a teleprompter, he can't get through shit. Now I ask you: what would possess ANYONE to put on a military uniform, and follow the orders of a dimwitted, illiterate, moronic bullshitter, who can't even articulate the language language (let alone a thought)? Fuck, I look at him, and think to myself, "Wow. If that RETARD can get elected, then fuck being a buck private; I'm gonna run for HIS job; shit, this public will vote for ANYONE!"

2. They signed up for this shit. AND....a majority of them signed up for bullshit self-serving reasons (i.e. college education, health care, couldn't get a normal job, benefits, GI Bill, etc) It sure as fuck wasn't for "God, love of country and Moms apple pie". And now they're off getting blown up in a pointless, useless war, started by a fuckin' lying retard; and worse yet, some back here call them "heroes". Well, if following a retards orders and getting yourself killed because of that makes someone a "hero", then keep on being heroic, boys. See, my father was in Vietnam (1st Air Cavalry, '68-'69). He was in a Huey that took ground fire and crashed, and whilst waiting for dust-off, he managed to keep his crew alive in a smoldering wreck, while holding off an entire VC platoon trying to get to them. He turned down every single medal and decoration they tried to give him, and told them all to fuck off. To this day, he'll gut you if you try calling him a "hero". And know what the sad part is?

He IS one.

And the young fuckheads wearing the uniform NOW, in Iraq, are just a bunch of ignorant little shitheads, who couldn't get a job, and probably can't even spell their own names.

Kinda like the guy who sent them there in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Dude, I can totally share your sentiment, and I feel like I should shake your father's hand, he IS a hero, whether he wants to admit it publicly or not. :)

I have to disagree with you about not having sympathy for the troops. not all of them knew what they were signing up for, and YES they signed for self-serving reasons... because they would be comfortably under the POVERTY LINE if they didn't get a college degree from somewhere. And when you are born into lower middle class, finding a decent education is hard, let alone trying to pay for it. When the government tells you they will give you everything you need to get out of poverty, pays millions to advertise it, even smart people who can read and write will get suckered in. And just because someone is retarded to the degree that they can't write their own names (I know, it's annoying, and worse when they feel cocky and empowered by the license to kill for supposedly noble reasons), doesn't mean you should necessarily without sympathy for being LIED TO and SENT TO DIE. That's too harsh... but that's only my take on it. I mean no insult to you or your father, like I said, I would call him a hero too. but he doesn't see it that way because he was LIED TO and SENT OFF TO DIE just like the people you just belittled as having no sympathy for, due to stupidity or naivete. You do your father just as much disservice to belittle those people who were thrown on a sword in -this- needless war.

Now, I don't mean we should all go putting stupid commercial magnets on your car (like that helps anyone but yourselves, so you can look cool at church with your cronies), I just mean that its too reactionary to say those people deserved to die.. the whole point about being anti-war was BECAUSE people are dying needlessly, and not just our own countrymen.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I get what you're saying and I know I sounded kinda harsh there, so I'll try a different tact here:

The main point I was trying to make was that my Dad was DRAFTED; he saw a couple of his buddies blown to bits and almost got killed himself, because he was FORCED to do his bit in a war that shouldn't have even gotten off the fuckin' ground. So his attitude is, like, "Don't go labelling me a fuckin' 'hero', just because I had to do what I could to live and save my buddies, in a pit I had no business in being in the first place"; I guess what's really driving my anger, is that these fucks in our "all-volunteer" army and marine corps are getting labelled as "heroes" for sweet fuck-all. What, they're heroes just cuz they got killed? Ya, like fuck. To me, a hero is someone who does something that goes "ABOVE-AND-BEYOND THE CALL", or so something EXCEPTIONAL----but not just for fucking going over to Iraq and simply getting killed. See what I mean? What's next? We start giving out the Medal of Honor to traffic fatalities? It drives my Old Man batshit to see another generation get fucked over by bullshit and lies, and they're STILL signing up to enlist. This is what I meant when I called them "retarded" because they're CHOOSING to go, whereas guys like my Old Man didn't have that option. Besides, I've seen quite a few of these "soldiers" on various outlets, (the media, youtube, various blogger sites), and they look, sound, act like a bunch of ignorant backwoods mojos. Shit, remember when all that shit abotu Abu Ghraib broke out? Well, that VERY SAME DAY that the news broke, my Dad mutters to himself "fuckin' G-2 spooks gettin' kids to do their dirty work; fuckin' assholes" ("spooks", of course, being the slang word for intelligence operatives). And he was right. Totally right. And then he says, "Watch and see how many many fuckin' spooks go down for this." And he was right again. To this day, not ONE member of our glorious intelligence services (you know, the same ones who fell asleep at the switch on 9/11) has ever stood trial for that shit. So he was right again. So based on what my Dads experiences and observations were, and how it bugs be he's very rarely wrong about this shit, you can see why I'm a little bit, oh I dunno, SKEPTICAL AND A LITTLE MYSTIFIED WITH THESE RETARDS WHO KEEP SIGNING UP, GETTING KILLED, AND BEING CALLED HEROES FOR IT???

I hope this makes a little more sense.

Curmudgette said...

anonymous said...

I guess what's really driving my anger, is that these fucks in our "all-volunteer" army...

And next time you see one, remember to say "Thank-you," because their choice to serve is allowing you or someone you love to avoid being drafted. Many of them are absorbing multiple and extended tours, so that you can have that privilege.

This is what I meant when I called them "retarded" because they're CHOOSING to go, whereas guys like my Old Man didn't have that option. Besides, I've seen quite a few of these "soldiers" on various outlets, (the media, youtube, various blogger sites), and they look, sound, act like a bunch of ignorant backwoods mojos.

Nice. Well, my husband is a college educated man who grew up in an upscale suburb. He's currently completing his doctoral thesis. But I suppose you can him a retarded, ignorant, backwoods mojo, if it really makes you happy. He's tough. He can take it. (All officers have college degrees, actually. It's requirement.)

And I hate to tax your obviously superior intelligence with little things like facts, but there isn't a country in the world without a military, except some really small countries who arrange for protection from another military. Every country lives under military protection, because those that don't, don't last very long. Read a history book some time. No, really. Try it.

Anonymous said...

Oh by the way, not to get long-winded here, but here's one more story from my Dads "The- War-Not-To-Speak-Of-At-The-Dinner-Table" files (but which I overhear sometimes when he's talking to an old army pal):

He'd been in-country for about 2 months, right? (this is before the Huey incident). So, he and his squad are on one of what they used call 'search-and-destroy' assignments. They're walking through ville after ville, looking for VC. It's like, fuckin' 150 degrees in the shade. It was always the same: walk a lot; talk to the villagers; ask the same fuckin' questions, i.e. "you VC? Dund-lai! You VC?" (it always scared the shit outta me as a kid for some reason, when he talked vietnamese). Anyways, on one of their passes through a ville, a group of little kids comes running towards Dad and his squad with baskets loaded up with fruit, bannanas, mangos and shit. They're, like, all happy and shit, saying "GI! GI! GI good! VC no good!" My Dad, being a young fella at the time, thinks, "Awww, how cute. That's awful nice of them." As beat and tired as he was, he could still appreciate little kids coming up to him, giving gifts and saying hello. Suddenly, one of these kids yanks a fucking grenade outta their fruit basket, and tosses it at my old man and his squad. All hell fucking breaks loose. The grenade goes off; booby-traps in the ville go off; and when all was said-and-done and the dust had cleared, only my Dad and one other guy in his squad were left that were still in one piece. They send Dad off to recupe on a few days R&R; one month later, it's a new squad, but the same mission: search-and-destroy; walk a lot; talk a lot; sweat a lot; drink a lot; piss a lot; shit a lot. Again, they're going through a ville, and fucking sure enough, a kid comes running out with a goddamn basket. This time, my Dad warned the kid to stay away, and when he didn't, dad pulled the trigger, and cut the kid in half. The kid goes face-first into the dirt, and the kids' fruit basket goes sailing outta his hands, into the dirt. Know what spilled out of it?


Just fruit.

Now I know what my Mom meant when she said before she passed away, that Dad died over there, and never came back.

I guess you can file this story under the "Lets-Fight-Them-There-So-We-Don't-Have-To-Fight-Them-Here" category.

Thanks, Uncle Sam.

Thanks a-fuckin' trillion.

Anonymous said...

No disrespect intended to you personally, curm, but you kinda missed my whole point. You say:

"there isn't a country in the world without a military"

Correct. But OUR military has had no fucking business being in ANYONES backyard since the end of WWII. Period. And if we STILL have young men who are signing up to go in those backyards, then what does that make THEM? "Patriotic"? "Loyal"? Yeah, sure, we a have a huge military, but we don't seem to have the brains to go with it. All brawn...no brains. And in spite of this, you say I'm supposed to say.....what, exactly? "Thank you"? Okay, I'll make you a deal: when our kids finally come home from getting killed and maimed, I'll be the first one to say "Thank you for coming home." How's that? You're husbands got a college degree and he's an officer. Fine. He has decided to put his trust in a total stranger: a man sitting at a big desk in a big white house, who your husband believes will have his best interests at heart. Okayyyyyy, fine. Whatever you say.

I DID (and DO) read histiry history books, thanks very much.

And it wasn't the same cultural brainwashing propaganda that we've fed our kids for the last gazillion years (i.e. American Way = Good; All Other Ways = Bad")

Curmudgette said...

You're husbands got a college degree and he's an officer. Fine. He has decided to put his trust in a total stranger: a man sitting at a big desk in a big white house, who your husband believes will have his best interests at heart.

No, he chose to serve and protect the US Constitution, and put his trust in our elected representatives in Congress to, you know, represent. They failed... miserably... and unconstitutionally gave the President the right to declare war. He did, perhaps, make the error of trusting that our democratic institutions were still functioning in some form or fashion, but then, he joined the Marine Corps during the Clinton era. But, even now, I think a lot of people still think this is a functioning democracy. Can't fault them, really. Letting such illusions die is a very painful process.

Anonymous said...

"Letting such illusions die is a very painful process."


Couldn't have put it any better.

And it saddens me to say that.

Anonymous said...

Me again.

(Sorry, but I actually enjoy the interaction here, mostly because I haven't been banned from your site yet, and there can be still be a discussion in spite of my, shall we say, abrasive manner. Shit, even your little jabs at urging me to "read a history book" and "taxing my superior intelligence" are entertaining; how's THAT for twisted?)

Couple of questions here, re: the whole 'why we serve-what we serve' thingy, relating to "The Uniform" and the concept of (as good ol' Superman used say) truth, justice and the American Way:

1. What is it with this "God Bless America" stuff? Why this insane belief that HE/SHE has a glorious monopoly on "blessing" OUR nation? Like, if HE/SHE blessed any country, wouldn't kinda be a place like, I dunno......Switzerland? You know, because they have lower crime, strict gun-control laws, higher educational standards, low unemployment, the Alps, universal health care, no riots and a military suited strictly for domestic purposes? Sounds to me like we got short-changed in the "blessing" department, don't it?

2. I'll be the first one to admit that the Constitution Of The United States is a very noble, a very great piece of work (even in spite of my own admitted cynicism about the "System" in general); BUT....haven't we already seen how that document has been perverted, twisted and bent, with the ink on it not even being dry yet? Like, in spite of it, we've invaded how many nations without the described Declaration of War? How many governments have we overthrown ("regime-change") because they were at-odds with our business interests? (I count two dozen, just off the top of my intellectual head, in spite of our "Constitution")? Fuck, we even tried it with CANADA, fer chrissakes, and they burned down the White House as payback. Is there ANYONE we haven't bothered or pissed off in some way by messing in their shit?? I think if you go back far enough, you'll see that our "Constitution" was circumvented many, many years ago. Hell, Thomas Jefferson once shot a man on the White House lawn, because of what he believed was treason on the gentlemans part. Maybe he had the right idea, come to think of it.

3. Many of our fun-loving gun-nuts, (i.e. the NRA, right-wing zealots, etc) always claim that under the Constitution, "every American has the right to bear arms", right? W-R-O-N-G. It says, "every Amercian who is a part of a well-regulated militia, has the right to bear arms." This was because the Founding Fathers wanted the local citizenry to take up arms against the British, and augment the fledgling Continental Army. Had the Founding Fathers realized that successive generations of idiots and morons would twist that out-of-context and give guns to EVERYONE, they woulda tossed it out in a heartbeat, or at the very least, put STRICTER language in it.

4. The days of clearly-uniformed, opposing armies squaring off against one another on a battlefield are long over; that stopped with Korea. Now, it's all about guerilla warfare; hit-and-run; melt in with the locals; plant bombs; bleed the enemy dry slowly. Have WE grasped this simple fact? Nope. We STILL waltz into places with guns blazing, flags waving, decorations on, whistles blowing, with rank and unit insignias proudly displayed. All that's missing on our troops is a huge bright target on their backs, that says "I'm an American. Please shoot me here". Fuck. We must look like a bunch of clowns to the world. And did I mention we have a "Constitution"? Wow. I feel so much better.

5. Given what I've said, would be fair to say that our Constitution has now evolved into nothing more than a "Mission Statement"? Or a "Goal of Principles"? As opposed to an actual document that was designed to build a strong, healthy nation? Yeah, I think so. 'Cuz somewhere along the line, it fell off the tracks a long, long time ago; and things ain't been right since.

6. Separation of Church and State? Jerry Falwell's dead. Don't even get me started on THAT.

Curmudgette said...

anonymous said...

Sorry, but I actually enjoy the interaction here, mostly because I haven't been banned from your site yet...

Why doesn't that statement surprise me? Well, I don't ban people or delete comments unless they're spam, legally actionable, or reveal personal data.

As to your questions, I am not the answer lady. She's down the hall and to the right. But feel free to post them. Perhaps some other reader with more time and energy will want to take them up.

Anonymous said...

"As to your questions, I am not the answer lady. She's down the hall and to the right. But feel free to post them. Perhaps some other reader with more time and energy will want to take them up."

Umm, well, I wasn't really looking for "answers" out of you, per se. Just some discourse, is all. However, if you want to invoke the made-in-America tradition of "Passing-The-Buck" when difficult or sensitive issues arise that test your "time" and "energy", well okiee-dokiee, then.

Where's this Old Lady sittin'? Down the hall here? To the right?Ya? Okay. She BETTER have ALL the answers, along with a plate of cabbage rolls and hot coffee, to boot. 'Cuz if not......well....then.....there will be....TROUBLE. (knock-knock-knock)

David said...

Yeah this is one of two topics where you just can't talk to her.

Curmudgette said...

Fuck you, David Byron. That's just such bullshit. It's not the topic. You want me to spell it out for both you and your separated at birth, soul mate in this thread? I have little patience for psychic vampires. I write about what I want to write about, when I have the time and the energy to do so. I only invest those resources when I feel there is some value added by what I might have to bring to a conversation. I don't flap my jaws in person or in print because I love the sound of my own voice, or because someone I barely know feels entitled to pick my brain. I have a life. I have a family. I have other projects, writing and otherwise, that require my attention. Just because I have a blog does not make a trained seal, here for your amusement. I'm not here to indulge anyone's need for attention. I write on my time and my terms. Got it?

David said...

Fuck me?
I didn't expect you would be upset about me saying that. It's no more than what you've said yourself. Why are you angry?

I see dhonig has poped up at MLW after an absence. Mr Anti-Semite himself. He was going easy on AG compared to what he used to say to me. I was apparently beyond mere anti-Semitism and was an acolyte of Hitler, a genuine Nazi and probably ran my own gas chambers.

He's a lunatic of course.

The interesting thing is that MSOC ran plenty of people off that blog on the basis of that lunatic and others like him. His accusations were taken entirely seriously. Since she stopped liking him recently he's become unhinged.

Curmudgette said...

David Byron said...

I didn't expect you would be upset about me saying that. It's no more than what you've said yourself. Why are you angry?

Because I don't like it like it when people presume to tell me what I think or what my motivations are. It pisses me off royally. And I was getting it in stereo.

I was apparently beyond mere anti-Semitism and was an acolyte of Hitler, a genuine Nazi and probably ran my own gas chambers.

You mean you're not? (That's a joke.)