I want to mention the military, something that I have a good working knowledge of, having spent almost 21 years of my life in a green uniform. I have seen the military praised and idolized by this administration, and while the public wasn't watching, I have seen this very same administration kick the military in the ass by cutting benefits for veterans, giving soldiers the lowest pay raise in decades, send our troops into harm's way without adequate body armor, in unprotected, lightly armored vehicles, too few troops to accomplish the mission, and having regular Army and Guard and Reserve forces do two or three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, without giving soldiers the time to stand down and come to grips with the horrors of war. I have seen the government prosecute lower enlisted men and women for the torture of suspected terrorists in Abu Graib and let the Majors, and Captains, and Colonels and Sergeant Majors that supervised the units involved, get off the hook without so much as a bad OER (Officer Evaluation Report) or bad EER's (Enlisted Evaluation Reports). I saw them take a female Brigadier General and hang her out to dry, while the actual day-today supervisors weren't charged. I can't believe that Spec 4's and buck sergeants had no other supervision but a one star general. That doesn't compute in this military mind of mine.
I have also seen how "Tommy" Franks, in his rush to capture Baghdad passed huge stockpiles of conventional munitions like howitzer shells that can be tied together with a fuse to be made into IED's (roadside bombs), and not wanting to break his Army's momentum, put a five dollar padlock on the doors and leave no armed guards, so insurgents could come back the next day with a pair of bolt cutters and take thousands of shells away in pick-up trucks. I saw how the civilian commander disbanded the Iraqi police and military, so that the nation could slide into lawlessness and the only thing that could stop it were 140,000 overstreached and under-equipped US soldiers.
During these sad and troubling times, I saw this President talk to the American people as if he were talking to a class of elementary school children. He used phrases like "stay the course" and 'rounding the corner" and other platitudes to make it seem as if he had everything in control, when in fact he didn't and still does not. Our military is touted as making it's recruiting mission and enlisting 80,000 new troops. That's after they lowered the standard to accept CAT IV's (applicants that score over 21% out of a possible 100% on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery exam), felony and misdemeanor offenders, and relax the medical standards and increase the age limit in the Regular Army from 27 to 42 years of age. This is another area I know well; I was a recruiter for almost eight years. We see the soldiers charged with murder overseas and wonder how it has come to this. Look at the quality of people that we are enlisting. I'm not saying that we don't still have fine young men in the service, we do. What I am saying however, is that we are taking enlistee's that we would not have thought of taking even two years ago.
The first place this administration told the Armed Forces to secure in Iraq, was not the weapons depots, or the known militia hideouts, it was the oilfields and the oil ministry. That is where this administrations head is. They have Donald Rumsfeld running the Department of Defense, and he is STILL calling for a smaller, more mobile Army, even as we lose territory that we fight for, the day after we capture it. Generals, both active duty and retired are calling the situation in Iraq untenable and the Republicans are still listening to people like Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh that never wore a uniform and who have no idea of what combat really is. They call these Generals traitors while getting advice from Henry Kissinger. This is the surest sign of failure in foreign policy, when you have to ask Henry Kissenger, the architect of the biggest military blunder in American history, for advice.
North Korea has the bomb, and even now we refuse to talk to them face to face. China is NOT going to solve our problems in North Korea. We will not talk to Iran. The UN is not going to solve our problems in Iran. John Bolton if anything else, will not be the kind of negotiator that we need to stop a war. He is exactly the kind of man you use to START a war. In fact, if you look at Bush's track record and speeches, he is the most belligerent President in American history, in my opinion. I believe he sees war as the way out of every diplomatic situation. I also believe that he has a view of our military might that is not in accordance with reality.
We need to send this administration a message. We need to put the opposition party in control of the House and Senate so that they can temper this President. He also should be held accountable for his many violations of the Constitution. The fact of the matter is not that I believe in the message of the Democrats. The real reason I will vote for them is because I am fearful of what this president will do in his last two years in power. That should be enough to get every American that is eligible to vote up and out of the house, and down to the polls. Those people that claim that all politicians are not worth voting for, and that the political parties are corrupted and only do the bidding of their corporate handlers may very well be right. The facts are however, that in 2006, we can't afford another two years of a republican controlled House and Senate, not if we have hopes of ever changing the way things are. I may be overreacting, but from what I've witnessed in the last six years, this could be our last chance.