November surprise for reservists?

Published September 17, 2004 9:24PM (EDT)

Democratic Rep. John Murtha from Pennsylvania, a ranking minority member of the defense subcommittee of the House appropriations committee, said this today (no link):

"I have learned through conversations with officials at the Pentagon that at the beginning of November, 2004, the Bush Administration plans to call up large numbers of the military guard and reserves, to include plans that they previously put off to call up the Individual Ready Reserve. I have said publicly and privately that our forces are inadequate to support our current worldwide tempo of operations. On November 21, 2003, a bipartisan group of 135 members of the House of Representatives wrote to the President urging an increase in the active duty army troop levels and expressed concern that our Armed Forces are over-extended and that we are relying too heavily on the Guard and Reserve. We didn't get a reply until February 2004, and now as the situation in Iraq is deteriorating, it seems that the Administration will resort to calling up additional guard and reservists, again with inadequate notice."

John Kerry accused the president of hiding a plan to call up more guard units and reservists after the election. The Bush camp said Kerry was spreading a "conspiracy theory."

By Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at

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