Thursday, April 29, 2004

Cheney weak on defense

Actually, he's just a garden variety hypocrite.

From the Center for American Progress

Vice President Cheney's record on military spending undercuts his current attempts to tar political opponents on the issue. Cheney routinely chastised President Reagan for failing to cut defense spending and later played up his own efforts to trim spending on weapons, troop support, and military bases.

As former Secretary of Defense, Vice President Cheney bragged about cutting defense spending. In February 1990, Cheney told Congress" since I became Secretary, we've been through a fairly major process of reducing the defense budget." Cheney stated that during his the first year of his tenure, he "cut almost $65 billion out of the five-year defense program" and that subsequent proposals would "take another $167 billion out."

Vice President Cheney tried to cut troop strength in the 1990's and cut pay for troops currently in Iraq. An August 4, 1991 New York Times article shows that Cheney tried "to reduce active-duty troop strength" from 2.2 million to 1.6 million while making "deep cuts in the Reserves and National Guard." And after criticizing opponents on military pay increases, the Bush administration last year tried to cut pay for 148,000 troops in Iraq by rolling back increases in monthly imminent danger pay and family separation allowances, according to the Army Times.

Vice President Cheney seems more interested in rewarding defense contractors than in doing what's right for the military. At a time when military commanders are severely pressed for equipment and supplies, and our National Guard and Reserve forces are overstretched in Iraq, the Bush administration is wasting billions on an unproven missile defense program and has cancelled plans to discontinue the outdated Crusader weapons system under pressure from contractors.

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