After refusing to support the Webb amendment giving the troops a decent interval between deployments, the blocking the defense authorization bill, President Bush and the Republicans are now wailing that the Democrats are refusing to give the military a pay raise.
This is the same pay raise that was part of the defense authorization bill they just blocked and the same pay raise the president himself threatened to veto just two months ago. It was reported at the time that the Bush administration "'strongly opposes' both the 3.5 percent raise for 2008 and the follow-on increases, calling extra pay increases 'unnecessary.'"
Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., responded to Bush's hypocritical taunts today with this:
Democrats and a majority of Americans believe that supporting the troops means rebuilding our overburdened military and redeploying our troops from an Iraqi civil war. It is the height of hypocrisy for a President whose Administration has sent our brave men and women into combat without the proper equipment, recuperation time, training or strategy for success to lecture Congress about supporting the troops.
If our military's wellbeing were truly a priority for this President, as he indicated this morning, why has his Administration for the past several months opposed military pay raises as too costly and blocked everything we have done to support the troops? I hope, but highly doubt, that President Bush will one day realize that supporting our troops is more than a slogan or a photo op.
It isn't surprising that the Bush administration would take this approach, since it has little left in its arsenal on Iraq but to attack the Democrats for failing to support the troops. But there is one constituency in the country that is actually very well informed about matters of military pay raises and benefits: the soldiers and their families. The article I linked to above was headlined "White House: 3.5 Percent Pay Hike Unnecessary" and was published in the Army Times.