President Bush is launching a public service campaign to reassure American troops of his promise to restore what he has called a sagging military.
Bush spent the past week touring a variety of military facilities, in an effort to boost morale. The entire Bush White House has made a concerted effort to add reverence to the project. The President has been accompanied by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice, and 11 members of Congress.
Bush’s first pledge has been aimed directly at the men and women who make up the Armed Services. He will reportedly seek legislation providing for a $1.4 billion cumulative pay raise, encompassing all branches of the military. He is also looking to allocate approximately $1 billion of incentive benefits, in an effort to retain the military’s best and brightest after their original tours of duty are completed.
Rumsfeld, who is said to be at odds with Bush for his lack of strong, defense commitment, supported Bush’s proposal.
During an appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” Rumsfeld stated: “Without the men and women that we’re able to attract and retain to man the forces, then we really don’t have a national defense, so that has to be the first focus.”
Despite the early good will, many insiders are worried that Bush is spreading himself thin as he attempts to maintain his supposed “compassionate” agenda. His massive $1.6 trillion tax cut plan has dwarfed all other proposals, and makes the $2.4 billion military pay figure look like an insignificant drop in the bucket. He has not yet addressed the entire military budget or other pressing national issues including healthcare and Social Security.
Rumsfeld, a veteran of the Ford Administration, is unrelenting in his quest to bolster the military and did not come out of retirement to watch the Armed Forces stagnate. He will be a thorn in Bush’s side if Bush remains non-committal and continues to try and please everyone.
Despite the claims of a sagging military, America remains the unquestioned super power of the modern world. Whatever money is spent on the military, should be in the hands of the troops, not to enhance nuclear weaponry. There will never be an international utopia, but in times of such unprecedented world power, our defense goals should always lean towards the disarming of nuclear modes of destruction.