A well-credentialed military vet, retired now in Arkansas, calls attention to a couple of news articles — one past and one present.
WASHINGTON – Up to two-thirds of the Army’s combat brigades are not ready for wartime missions, largely because they are hampered by equipment shortfalls, Democratic lawmakers said Wednesday, citing unclassified documents.
In a letter to President Bush, Rep. Ike Skelton of Missouri, the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, said that “nearly every non-deployed combat brigade in the active Army is reporting that they are not ready” for combat. The figures, he said, represent an unacceptable risk to the nation.
At a news conference, other leading Democrats said that those strategic reserve forces are critically short of personnel and equipment.
The earlier article, from Aug. 2000, when the current president was running, unsuccessfully, for the office the first time:
WASHINGTON (CNN) — Despite Pentagon assurances that all of the U.S. Army’s divisions are “fit to fight and ready to deploy,” Republican presidential nominee George W. Bush refused Friday to concede that the U.S. military is combat-ready.
“No, I would not concede that necessarily,” Bush told CNN’s Candy Crowley on his campaign train headed toward Akron, Ohio. “I’m amazed that they would put out a statement right after our convention.
The U.S. Army said Friday that Bush was wrong when he said in his speech Thursday night to the Republican National Convention that two of the Army’s 10 divisions were not ready to fight.
Bush had said: “If called on by the commander-in-chief today, two entire divisions of the Army would have to report …, ‘Not ready for duty, sir.'”
But Maj. Thomas Collins, an Army spokesman, told CNN: “All 10 Army divisions are combat-ready, fully able to meet their war-fighting mission.”
Thanks to Robert for the research that illustrates Bush talk in 2000 vs. Bush action today. And to Tim, for a polling report on the jump that I just couldn’t resist passing along.