To listen to the more demented segments of the media and the Democrats, President Bush’s Thanksgiving day visit to the troops in Baghdad was a cynical “stunt.” But Hillary Clinton’s visit to the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, however, was an act of the “compassion” for which the woman the American Spectator’s Bob Tyrrell used to call “Bruno,” is so famous.
To accept that notion, one has to overlook the reaction of the troops to the two visits, but then overlooking inconvenient facts is one of the things our super-liberal media does best.
When George Bush strode into that gigantic mess hall our service men and women rose as one and cheered lustily. On the other hand, if you look at the expressions on the faces of the troops forced to wait for their Thanksgiving dinner while Mrs. Clinton and her party chowed down, there appears to be a lack of enthusiasm, giving one to wonder about the accuracy of her statement that the folks in uniform, as she put it, were thrilled to have “myself” in their midst.
Then, of course, there is the matter of what the two visitors had to say. President Bush paid homage to the men and women serving in harm’s way and expressed the nation’s thanks for their sacrifices. Mrs. Clinton, as she is wont to do, spent must of her time bad mouthing the president and his administration, and the conduct of the war in Iraq the troops are waging.
President Bush has refused to inject himself into the question of adding more troops to the coalition forces, noting that the matter of troop strength is something best left to the commanders in the field who are better equipped to address such questions.
Mrs. Clinton, on the other hand, drew on her vast knowledge of military affairs and declared that the numbers of troops in Iraq must be increased. She seems to have forgotten a couple of important factors: first that the U.S. Armed forces are already stretched thin all around the world, and secondly that the reason they are is the fact that under her husband’s administration the armed forces were decimated.
The fact of the matter is, that between 1992 and 2000, the Clinton Administration cut national defense by more than half a million personnel and $50 billion in inflation-adjusted dollars. As the Heritage Foundation reported, by the time President Bush took office the Army alone had lost four active divisions and two Reserve divisions. The number of total active personnel in the Air Force had decreased by nearly 30 percent. In the Navy, the total number of ships had decreased from around 393 ships in the fleet in 1992 to 316 today. Even the Marines had lost 22,000 personnel.
Yet Mrs. Clinton can’t seem to grasp the fact that to increase the numbers of troops in Iraq, you have to have the numbers at home to accomplish that. Thanks to her husband, we don’t. We are reduced to calling up reserves to do the jobs the regulars we lost under Clinton would be doing.
Another interesting difference between the two visits – President Bush has never ceased to express his admiration for the men and women who wear American uniforms. But Mrs. Clinton and her husband have never made any secret of the fact that they loathe the U.S. military.
America’s men and women know full well that they are loved by President Bush. And they also know from past experience that Mrs. Clinton and her husband actually despise them.
Most fair minded observers have noted the courage it took for President Bush to risk life and limb by going into an active war zone and land at an airport where another plane just days before was hit by a ground to air missile.
But Mrs. Clinton also showed courage. After all, given the dismal record the Clintons compiled vis-à-vis the armed forces and their well known derisive views of them, it must have been a scary experience for her to put herself in their midst.
©2003 Mike Reagan. You must contact us if you would like to print this column in your publication. Mike’s column is distributed exclusively by: Cagle Cartoons, Inc. Cari Dawson Bartley Cari@cagle.com, (800) 696-7561