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Last updated on August 9th, 2017 at 05:43 am
Two election promises from George W. Bush’s 2000 campaign:
“Morale is low because our troops are underpaid and over deployed and poorly housed. We must pay our troops.”
“My plan says we’ll make sure we pay our military a decent wage. My plan says our military will be housed.”
So John Kerry wasn’t the only candidate in the last couple of elections who was hot for plans. Six years on, however, Bush appears to have delivered:
One short test drive and Army Spc. Todd Strange is gushing “Oh, sweet! I love it!”
He’s been home from Iraq a little over 30 hours and already he’s trading in his little 2001 Dodge Neon for a muscle car — a 2006 Mustang GT, V-8 engine, price tag $26,320.
“I’m buying the car to show off, pretty much,” admits Strange, 26, of St. Louis.
Business has been booming in this southeast Georgia town since just after Christmas when thousands of 3rd Infantry Division troops from neighboring Fort Stewart began returning from a yearlong tour in Iraq and finding their bank accounts flush with combat pay, tax breaks and bonuses.
Loren B. Thompson looks at other Bush military pledges in a 2003 column. The media struggled during 2004 to understand the military’s support for Bush—but he sent you to war! you! soldiers! to WAR!—which might explain the surprise evident in this pre-election item from Peter D. Feaver:
By an astonishing 72 to 17 percent margin, the active-duty military personnel who took the survey favored Bush over Kerry (Guard and Reserve respondents favored Bush, 73 to 18 percent). Frankly, the margin greatly exceeds anything that I or any other analyst had expected.
There are a few caveats to that survey; hit the link for details. In the wake of those numbers, and the election result, what does the press do? Swoons over Cindy Sheehan. Sometimes you get the feeling that a larger picture is being ignored.