From: Larry Kerschner Date: 09/01/04 09:19:29 To: letters@chronline.com

What President Bush really thinks about those who serve at his whim in the U.S. military

The Republicans at the current convention in New York City are showing their true opinion of veterans. They are passing around bandaids imprinted with a Purple Heart for all the delegates to wear clearly demeaning the sacrifice of millions of veterans who have been awarded this medal. The President's attitude has been to do the macho strut and smirk while on stage but out of the limelight he has promoted policies that undermine the morale of the current troops and their families.  In August 2003, while Congress was recessed, this administration cut payments for imminent danger and family separation. Congress had earlier increased imminent danger pay by $75.00 a month and monthly allowances of $150.00 to help fund rent and child care for troop's families at home. Public outrage forced the White House to rescind those cuts but it showed the troops that they are a low priority for this administration.  By late Summer 2003 it became apparent that U.S. troops were inadequately equipped. Although Congress had approved funds for ceramic-plated body armor, by October 2003 over 50,000 U.S. troops had not been given this life saving gear. By September 2003 this administration decided to deploy National Guard and Reservists overseas due to the poorly planned over extension of U.S. military forces. Those who signed up with the expectation of serving one weekend a month are now being sent into dangerous situations for extending durations. This administration, disregarding the agreements under which these people signed up, began a Stop Loss policy keeping thousands of troops in danger beyond their enlistment time. This effectively is forcing troops to remain in combat through an involuntary draft. Many of the same people who signed up for National Guard duty are the very same local police and firefighters that we need for true homeland security. Many of them are the sole bread winners for their families.  The recent show of the political power of Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani by settling the fighting in Najaf underscores the fact that the troops should be out of Iraq. Their continued presence in a country where they are clearly not wanted is the main reason that Iraq is so dangerous. The fact that there was a political solution to this situation and not a military one is being ignored by the Bush administration. The 1107 coalition troops who have died in Iraq have died because of the ideologically driven lack of planning by this administration. The above noted policies show what President Bush really thinks about those who serve at his whim in the U.S. military.

 

Larry Kerschner POB 397 Pe Ell WA 98572 (H) 360-291-3946 (W) 360-291-3232

 

Larry Kerschner  the best criticism of the bad is the practice of the better....Richard Rohr