Republicans Lie About ‘Support Our Troops’

wounded soldierFor a decade, Republicans have been screaming at Americans to “support our troops.”

But, they don’t really support our troops. Their constant chanting was originally code to support the Republican administration and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

If the Republicans truly wanted to support the troops, they would have demanded—early in the wars—better armament and vehicles for the troops. Troops in Iraq had to “up-armor” their Humvees with their own ingenuity and money because Congress failed to appropriate enough protection.

The Republicans should have been outraged that after field medics performed extraordinary service to keep wounded from dying that the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center was negligent in providing health care. It took a Washington Post investigative series and actions by the Obama administration, not the Bush–Cheney administration, to straighten out that mess.

American civilians sent millions of packages of everything from soap to towels to shaving lotion for the troops because Congress didn’t provide many of the basic necessities.

And now the Republicans have blocked the Veterans Job Corps bill in the Senate. That bill would have provided $1 billion over five years to hire 20,000 recent veterans by giving them priority in jobs as first responders. It would also have provided career advisers for the veterans. That bill would have helped not just veterans, but all Americans by strengthening fire, police, and first aid/paramedic assistance.

The vote in the senate was 58–40 to pass that bill. But, typical of Republican obstructionism, it failed. Although there was a clear majority, the bill failed because the Republicans used a technicality in Senate rules to force a higher standard–requiring 60 votes, not a simple majority, to pass the appropriation.

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) led the opposition to the bill because he claimed it was reckless spending and he didn’t want to spend any more of the taxpayer money on something apparently as outrageous as helping veterans.

However, the bill was fully funded solely by increasing tax collections from Medicare providers who were delinquent in paying taxes, and by requiring persons applying for passports to be current in paying taxes. Pay the delinquent taxes and be eligible for further Medicare payments and passports. Seemed simple enough.

But, Tom Coburn and the Republicans stuck to their mantra of no more spending, even at the expense of combat veterans. The veterans just want some assistance to get a job and not to be a burden on unemployment and welfare rolls.

One billion dollars. Fully funded. That’s what the bill called for. A billion dollars to help combat veterans. You know, the ones the Republicans sent into war in Iraq that we later learned was a war built upon lies.

Here’s another statistic. The cost of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has already cost Americans $2.3–$2.7 trillion, according to a Brown University analysis of war spending. That’s not even the total cost. The analysts believe the war will exceed $4 trillion by the time all costs, including $1 trillion in interest payments, are figured in. That total expense is more than 4,000 times more than the Democrats asked for to help returning veterans. And, that $4 trillion, generously pushed by a war-mongering Congress, never met even the barest of financial constraints the Republicans put upon a bill to help the veterans they sent into battle.

But, the real reason the Republicans killed the veterans job bill has nothing to do with their public claims they are trying to cut government costs or to reduce what they believe is Big Government. It has everything to do with petty politics. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate minority leader, had said “the single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” He could have said the Republicans wanted to move the country forward, to help rebuild and improve the nation’s infrastructure, help those who became unemployed and then homeless because of the recession, establish stronger regulations to prevent fraud, improve medical care for all Americans, assure the success of small business, increase the security of Americans both at home and overseas, or to help combat veterans readjust to civilian life. But he didn’t say those were his party’s top priority. The top priority was to defeat President Obama.

And so the Republicans blocked more than 80 percent of all bills submitted in the Senate, including legislation to provide health care for 9/11 first responders, end tax breaks for corporations that outsource jobs, stop price gouging at the gas pumps, require oil companies to use some of their profits to develop clean alternative energy, and end a $4 billion a year subsidy to the oil companies—the top 5 had more than $137 billion profit in 2011. (The Republicans did manage to introduce more than 250 bills about abortion, family relationships, marriage, and religion, but not one for jobs creation.)

walter braschdc]B[/dc]ecause of their selfish hubris, the Republicans not only created gridlock in Congress, they refused to allow a bill that had the support of a majority of the Senate to go forward to help combat veterans. After all, that might be seen as supporting the President and not doing the Republicans’ Number 1 job—to stop a second term.

Walter Brasch
Wanderings

Published: Tuesday 25 September 2012

About Walter M. Brasch

Walter M. Brasch, Ph.D., is an award-winning journalist and author. He is a former multimedia writer-producer, newspaper and magazine reporter and editor, and is professor emeritus of mass communications from the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. His latest book is Fracking Pennsylvania, which looks at the health, environmental, geological, and economic impact of natural gas horizontal fracturing. He also investigates political collusion between the natural gas industry and politicians. Among his 18 books--most of which integrate history, politics, and contemporary social issues--are The Press and the State, Before the First Snow: Stories from the Revolution, Sinking the Ship of State: The Presidency of George W. Bush, The Joy of Sax: A Look at the Bill Clinton Administration, and Social Foundations of the Mass Media.
He is also the author of dozens of magazine articles, several multimedia productions, and has worked in the film industry and as a copy writer and political consultant. He is the author 16 books, most of them focusing upon the fusion of historical and contemporary social issues, including America's Unpatriotic Acts: The Federal Government's Violation of Constitutional and Civil Rights (2005); Sinking the Ship of State: The Presidency of Geroge W. Bush (2008), Black English and the Mass Media (1981); Forerunners of Revolution: Muckrakers and the American Social Conscience (1991); With Just Cause: The Unionization of the American Journalist (1991); Brer Rabbit, Uncle Remus, and the 'Cornfield Journalist': The Tale of Joel Chandler Harris (2000); The Joy of Sax: America During the Bill Clinton Era (2001); and Sex and the Single Beer Can (3rd ed., 2009). He also is co-author of Social Foundations of the Mass Media (2001) and The Press and the State (1986), awarded Outstanding Academic Book distinction by Choice magazine, published by the American Library Association.

Comments

  1. I look forward to your article on why leader Reid has not even discussed a budget for the last three years. Both sides play games, Reid controls what is and what is not disscussed on the floor of the senate. hard to put that on the gop.
    I look forward to your article on how to spend less in the military budget? you can not have it both ways, cut and spend!

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