Bush's Treatment Of Troops Questioned

by James Glaser
August 14, 2003

The strongest headline I have seen comes from Nathan Newmen of the Progressive Populist, "Why Does the Bush Administration Hate Our Troops?" Strong words, but backed up with facts.

It wasn't all that long ago that President Bush was telling the Nation about increasing the wages for our men and women in uniform. Well like other things since he was elected, President Bush was less that honest in this wage hike. !0% was the figure talked about, but according to the Army Times a paper that usually backs the administration, the higher ranks got an average 4.1% raise while the lower ranks received only a 2% raise.

On top of a tiny pay raise Bush canceled a "modest proposal" to give the families of those soldiers that die while on active duty an increase in benefits from $6,000 to $12,000.

Another slap from the President for our troops was a roll back of imminent danger pay from $225 to $150 and from $250 to $100 for a family separation allowance that is only given if a soldier is shot at in a combat zone.

The Army Times wrote, "Taken piecemeal all these corner-cutting moves might be viewed as mere flesh wounds. But even flesh wounds are fatal if you suffer enough of them. It adds up to a troubling pattern that eventually will hurt morale."

While Central Command and the Bush Administration are talking about getting the troops in Iraq better living conditions a different story is coming out from those troops and their families. According to Reuters Foundation reporter Niala Boodhoo in a story dated August 12th, "A group of about 600 US military families upset about the living conditions of soldiers in Iraq, are launching a campaign asking their relatives to urge members of Congress and President George Bush to bring the troops home."

"We're growing more concerned and more disturbed about the conditions that are developing. Our concerns are both for out troops and the people of Iraq."

American troops are both under staffed and under supplied. These are cost saving measures by those that started this war. Susan Schuman has a son in Iraq with the Massachusetts National Guard and reports with the temperature at 125 degrees her son is only allowed 2 liters of water a day and the only food he and his unit have had are the MREs (Meals Ready to Eat). She also said the uncertainty of when the troops would come home was "most disheartening."

Because President Bush allows or orders this mistreatment of our military personal, the families of these troops must now step in and advocate for their sons and daughters to get some of the most basic equipment in order to continue their tasks in Iraq. Water in a desert should not be rationed. Our troops should get all the water they want and the only reason that this is not happening is poor planing for the after combat occupation of Iraq. Many reports tell of troops buying their own boots, clothing, and clips for their pistols

Stories abound about the terrible living conditions for the American troops and the Iraqi people. As long as our troops are treated poorly by their leaders, have long working hours in the heat because there are not enough soldiers to do the job, not enough water to survive the heat, and no trust in their rotation date, morale will continue to be low and job performance will suffer.

The troops are being treated badly, however friends of the President and Vice-president are making millions. The dollars the Bush Administration is taking away from the troops, goes to pay millions or billions to civilian contractors.

Some Veterans Organizations are now asking our government to bring the troops home. Veterans for Peace is starting a national campaign and with the families of those serving in Iraq asking for the same, just maybe conditions will improve for those fighting George Bush's War.

Americans have to remember that many things happen in war just to make money for Defense contractors. Spending money on the troops doesn't make anyone rich. One would think that the Generals would be looking out for their soldiers, but what they are looking for is that high paying job after retirement or maybe that million dollar book deal. Either way they get their payoffs for making private companies a lot of money.


Another Soldier was killed and two wounded near Taji, north of Baghdad.

A US Soldier was killed and another wounded when their convoy hit a roadside bomb 15 miles south of Tikrit.

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