For a President and Secretary of Defense who always talk so highly of their working relationship with the military, I wonder how they will respond to this:
The Army’s top officer withheld a required 2008 budget plan from Pentagon leaders last month after protesting to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld that the service could not maintain its current level of activity in Iraq plus its other global commitments without billions in additional funding.
The decision by Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, the Army’s chief of staff, is believed to be unprecedented and signals a widespread belief within the Army that in the absence of significant troop withdrawals from Iraq, funding assumptions must be completely reworked, say current and former Pentagon officials.
“This is unusual, but hell, we’re in unusual times,” said a senior Pentagon official involved in the budget discussions.
Schoomaker failed to submit the budget plan by an Aug. 15 deadline. The protest followed a series of cuts in the service’s funding requests by both the White House and Congress over the last four months.
According to a senior Army official involved in budget talks, Schoomaker is now seeking $138.8 billion in 2008, nearly $25 billion above budget limits originally set by Rumsfeld. The Army’s budget this year is $98.2 billion, making Schoomaker’s request a 41% increase over current levels.
So is this some sort of election year ploy- don’t give the army what they want so Bush still looks like a conservative? Perhaps it was another election year case of “saving face”. Just think of the military having to ask for this much more for this war that is “going so well” in Iraq.
The NIE report yesterday has been out for months. That means that Rumsfeld and Bush knew the findings when this budget showdown was going on. So if they aren’t listening to their commanders, or their intelligence agencies now, then who is the administration listening to? Have they become the foremost experts on everything now and don’t need to listen to experts in their respective fields? Not on an even year. Fact drives nothing – politics is the force behind it all – 100%.