The House of Representatives passed a funding bill for the Iraqi War that included a timetable for withdrawal yesterday. Bush announced that any such legislation would be vetoed because he felt including a timetable is anti troop. He still suffers from the delusion that being against the war is being against the troops. He and his minions have repeatedly stated that refusing to provide the additional funding for the war is tantamount to refusing to support the troops; that any talk of withdrawal is demoralizing to the troops; that any anti-war stance is unpatriotic. Experience has shown that no amount of rational and reasoned discussion can reverse these opinions.
There seems to be a solution to this dilemma in plain sight. We now know that a major demoralizer for the troops in theater is the civilian contractors that have been used in unprecedented numbers during this invasion and occupation. They are not subject to the Military Code of Justice as are members of the armed forces. They are paid a magnitude more than are the regular troops. They decide when and if they wish to serve additional tours. For the administration, there are a number of advantages; causalities are hidden, there is no mechanism of oversight, political patronage can be doled out in the form of secret no-bid contracts.
I wonder why there has not been a proposal to fully fund and support our troops but pull the funding for the civilian contractors. Congress could simply limit money spent in Iraq to the equipping, training, supplying and paying members of the military. Funds for the medical and veterans' benefits should be fully funded. They could put a stop to the profiteering that has been an integral part of this fiasco from the beginning. The administration would not be able to make their political hay out of not supporting the troops. They would be forced to admit to the fact that our military prowess has deteriorated so badly that further persecution of the war would be impossible without the contractors. They would have difficulty explaining why funding just the troops would be far more inexpensive than continuing with the status quo.
Therefore, there exists a solution in plain sight if only we as a democracy have the courage to admit its existence.