Congressional Democrats: Ignorance or do they just not care? (Update) Posted by: McQ
on Tuesday, April 03, 2007
I want to spend a couple of minutes on a statement a commenter made the other day when I was pointing out that this refusal of the Democrats to finalize the supplemental spending bill prior to going on "spring break" will adversely effect the troops they claim to support. My point is that when you have to shift money from one area to fund another there are unintended consequences which, in the end, will hurt those fighting the war, those preparing for war, those wounded in war and military dependents.
Said the commenter: "The troops will be "suffering"? Please. No one is going to notice any difference."
Don't you just love that sentiment? Real support from someone who obviously doesn't have a clue. Let me lay some things out here for you. As you recall (and if you don't, go to the link above) the Congressional Research Service said that if the Army began shifting funds from other areas to the Operations and Maintenance budget (i.e. the warfighting budget), it could continue its warfighting until the middle of July before it ran completely out of money. That was supposed to justify Democratic dallying with finalizing the supplemental to send to the President.
One of the many areas (facilities repair and upkeep, training, etc) that the CRS said would be effected is "depot maintenance". Now for those who don't know what that entails, that doesn't mean a whole bunch. So what is depot maintenence?
Well here's a short answer:
Army Depot Maintenance provides the Army with the industrial capability to repair, overhaul, and upgrade weapon systems and equipment; store and distribute ammunition, war reserve material, and other selected items; and provide tenant support to Army and other DoD Activities. Depot Maintenance Activities both compete and partner with private industry to deliver goods and services efficiently and effectively.
Got that? "Repair, overhaul and upgrade weapons systems and equipment; store and distribute ammunition, war reserve material and other selected items ..."
Anniston Army Depot, a 24/7 operation repairs, overhauls and upgrades Abrams tanks and Bradleys. Those are items critical to our warfighting ability. Shut down Anniston even briefly, or severely curtail their ability to function and you've just stopped the flow of that war material.
Corpus Christi Army Depot is also a 24/7 operation which repairs, overhauls and upgrades Apache, Blackhawk and Chinook helicopters for the Army. Imagine a helicopter going down for whatever reason in Iraq. Float helicopters, most likely kept in Kuwait, replace that helicopter. Say it's a Blackhawk. Imagine curtailing or shutting down CCAD even briefly. The flow is stopped. The Blackhawk isn't replaced, and the next medivac call in Iraq goes unanswered.
And, of course the other three depots are doing Humvees, electronics, etc ... 24/7 in support of the war effort.
Another area which obviously will be impacted by shifting funds away from it is the Army Supply Management system.
Army Supply Management, under the command of Army Materiel Command (AMC), buys and maintains assigned stocks of materiel for sale to various customers, primarily Army operating units. The Army's equipment and operational readiness and its combat capability are directly linked to the availability of this materiel.
Do you understand that last line? What it says is that unless this system can procure "stocks of materials" vital to Army units, their "equipment and operational readiness" as well as their "combat capability" are directly effected.
Again, any stoppage or slow down in the ability to procure and distribute these materials has a direct impact on our units in the field and their combat capability.
Of course the denier's answer is to take materials from those here in CONUS if necessary and shift it to Iraq.
But many of those CONUS units are training for deployment into Iraq. So with the critical equipment shortages this will cause, how do they effectively train? If, as Democrats claim, they want units deploying to be fully combat capable, why in the world are they claiming that the Army has enough money to fight its war until mid-July.
And now Bush thinks he can blame Democrats for not providing the funding? The Congress has voted for everything the president has asked for, every time he has asked for it. In some cases they have added more than he requested for veterans and body armor. Congress, with these supplementals, will have authorized a grand total of $564 billion for the war. We are now spending $8.4 billion in Iraq every month — that’s $194,444 every minute.
Well that's nice, Peter, but as noted above, voting for something doesn't put the money necessary where it needs to be until it is signed into law. And that doesn't happen until a final bill is hammered out and signed. But the funding ball (or lack thereof) is in the Democrat's court until they do so. Once they do so, and Bush vetoes it, that's another matter altogether.
Until then it is perfectly correct to tag them with the responsibility of not funding the troops.
Then Fenn says:
And now the non-partisan Congressional Research Service tells Congress that with funds already appropriated we have until July before we have funding difficulties. So Bush will have his escalation, no matter what the Congress or the people have to say. And, oh yes, by the way, last year Bush waited to sign the supplemental until June 16.
Well that's right. That's because the bill wasn't passed until around then due to the usual Democratic shennanigans in the Senate, such as the Levin (Levin Amdt. No. 4320; To state the sense of Congress on United States policy on Iraq.) and Kerry amendments (Kerry Amdt. No. 4442; To require the redeployment of United States Armed Forces from Iraq in order to further a political solution in Iraq, encourage the people of Iraq to provide for their own security, and achieve victory in the war on terror.) etc. And, of course the bill didn't make it through the House before 5/25/06, and hadn't even been to committee yet.
Last, but certainly most important, in the meantime as surge has been planned and implemented. Last year the funds were adequate for a short delay. This year, because of the new tactics and additional troops, funds aren't adequate for a short delay.
I can’t speak for this particular commenter, but with some of the folks I talk to in person, they understand exactly what they need to understand to blame Bush and exonerate Democrats. They are willfully blind to anything else.
Mr. Fenn’s biopage at "The Hill" indicates much admirable work in media, but none, naturally, in running a lemonade stand. There has been comment that the Pentagon can forestall the effects of delayed funding by moving and re-prioritizing pools of operating cash. You think frictional costs are tough to handle (and swallow) in the private sector? Think about when you’ve got an army of government Dilberts trying to make field changes, allocations, justify variances, etc., etc., etc...
You mention that the depots work on Humvees, but to elaborate on that, ANAD does a LOT of Humvee uparmoring. I guess somehow these folks that saw the lack of armor on humvees as malfeasence by the Bush Administration suddenly don’t think that it’s important anymore.
ANAD also holds the permit for the Anniston Chemical Demilitarization Facility (ANCDF). That is the facility that is responsible for complying with the CW Treaty by destroying the portion of the US chemical weapons inventory stored on the depot. THAT seems like a really, really good place to cut corners because the funding had to be diverted to the troops in the field( :-P ). They are currently working on VX weapons.