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Thursday, Feb. 2, 2006 09:22 pm

Equip the grunts

Bush makes "support our troops" an empty political slogan

There’s an old bumper sticker with the message “It’ll be a great day when our schools get all the money that they need and the Pentagon has to hold bake sales.” Well, guess who now has to hold bake sales to get the supplies they need? Not the Pentagon, of course — its official budget is half-a-trillion dollars a year. But the grunts — soldiers putting their lives on the line in Bush’s war — are so inadequately supplied that they must turn to family members, churches, or charity to get vital battle gear. It’s been widely reported that the Bushites have failed miserably to provide the lifesaving armor that our soldiers need. But less well known is that even basic items are not provided — such as ballistic glasses that are less likely to fog up in Iraq’s 120-degree heat, shirts and socks that wick sweat away from the body, helmet sweatbands, and water pouches. These are products that can make a life-or-death difference for our men and women who are fighting in this land of oppressive heat, and all are readily available in the U.S. market — in fact, they are commonly issued to police forces at home. The Pentagon, however, says that such items are too costly, so soldiers wanting them must get them on their own. Hello, Pentagon brass, you routinely waste billions of our tax dollars on razzle-dazzle weaponry that isn’t needed and doesn’t work, but you can’t find a few extra dollars to give every grunt the goggles and socks they need? Some soldiers make a little as $14,000 a year: Why should their safety be a matter of personal wealth? Where are the Bushites and Congress when it comes to making “Support our Troops” more than an empty political slogan?
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