President George W. Bush Radio Address 4-7-2007

This week, people around the world celebrate Passover and Easter. These holy days remind us of the presence of a loving God who delivers His people from oppression, and offers a love more powerful than death. We take joy in spending this special time with family and friends, and we give thanks for the many blessings in our lives.

One of our greatest blessings as Americans is that we have brave citizens who step forward to defend us. Every man or woman who wears our Nation’s uniform is a volunteer, a patriot who has made the noble decision to serve a cause larger than self. This weekend, many of our service men and women are celebrating the holidays far from home. They are separated from their families by great distances, but they are always close in our thoughts. And this Passover and Easter, I ask you to keep them in your prayers.

Our men and women in uniform deserve the gratitude of every American. And from their elected leaders, they deserve something more: the funds, resources, and equipment they need to do their jobs.

Sixty-one days have passed since I sent Congress an emergency war spending bill to provide the funds our troops urgently need. But instead of approving that vital funding, Democrats in Congress have spent the past 61 days working to pass legislation that would substitute the judgment of politicians in Washington for the judgment of our generals in the field.

In both the House and Senate, Democratic majorities have passed bills that would impose restrictions on our military commanders, set an arbitrary date for withdrawal from Iraq, and fund domestic spending that has nothing to do with the war. The Democrats who passed these bills know that I will veto either version if it reaches my desk, and they know my veto will be sustained. Yet they continue to pursue the legislation. And now the process is on hold for two weeks, until the full Congress returns to session.

I recognize that Democrats are trying to show their current opposition to the war in Iraq. They see the emergency war spending bill as a chance to make that statement. Yet for our men and women in uniform, this emergency war spending bill is not a political statement, it is a source of critical funding that has a direct impact on their daily lives.

When Congress does not fund our troops on the front lines, our military is forced to make cuts in other areas to cover the shortfall. Military leaders have warned Congress about this problem. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Pete Pace, recently testified that if Congress fails to pass a bill I can sign by mid-April, the Army will be forced to consider cutting back on training, equipment repair, and quality of life initiatives for our Guard and Reserve forces. In a letter to Congress, Army Chief of Staff Pete Schoomaker put it this way: “Without approval of the supplemental funds in April, we will be forced to take increasingly draconian measures which will impact Army readiness and impose hardships on our soldiers and their families.”  If Congress fails to pass a bill I can sign by mid-May, the problems grow even more acute.

The Army will be forced to consider slowing or even freezing funding for depots where pivotal equipment is repaired, delaying or curtailing the training of some active duty forces, and delaying the formation of new brigade combat teams. The bottom line is that Congress’s failure to fund our troops will mean that some of our military families could wait longer for their loved ones to return from the front lines. And others could see their loved ones headed back to war sooner than they need to. That is unacceptable to me, and I believe it is unacceptable to the American people.

The full Congress will not be back from spring vacation until the week of April 16th. That means the soonest the House and Senate could get a bill to my desk will be sometime late this month, after the adverse consequences for our troops and their families have already begun. For our troops, the clock is ticking. If the Democrats continue to insist on making a political statement, they should send me their bill as soon as possible. I will veto it, and then Congress can go to work on a good bill that gives our troops the funds they need, without strings and without further delay.

We have our differences in Washington, D.C., but our troops should not be caught in the middle. All who serve in elected office have a solemn responsibility to provide for our men and women in uniform. We need to put partisan politics aside, and do our duty to those who defend us. For more information, visit

Governor Howard Dean Radio Address 4-7-2007

As Americans, we are united in our support for our troops. And because we support our troops, Democrats have put forward a plan for success in Iraq. A plan to get us out of Iraq.

We have made it clear that we will work with the President to find a solution. In response, the President continues to say “my way or the highway,” and Vice President Cheney uses divisive rhetoric to question the patriotism of members of Congress who disagree with him. That’s not what the country needs right now.

It is time for the President and Republicans in Congress to stop try to bully their way through this and work with Democrats to end the war. It’s time for the President to show respect to the American people, who voted overwhelmingly to leave Iraq.

President Bush and his Republican allies did not have a clear plan when they misled our nation into this war and they do not have a clear plan to get our troops out. The Republicans sent our brave men and women in uniform to Iraq without proper body armor, equipment or training.

Our military is now stretched to a breaking point. Just this week, the Army announced they will send large division units back to Iraq without giving them at least a year’s rest at home, as the Pentagon’s standards require. Because our forces have been so badly depleted, the Pentagon just yesterday announced they are deploying an additional 12,000 National Guard reserves to Iraq.

The disgraceful conditions at Walter Reed and veterans’ hospitals across the country are an appalling example of the way that President Bush and Republicans in Congress have failed our men and women in uniform. Upon returning home from Iraq, too many of our troops face a system that has been starved of resources for six years, and cannot adequately provide the care and services our troops deserve. That is wrong. The Democratic plan is clear:

Our plan ensures that American troops have the resources they need to complete their mission. But the mission itself must change. It’s time for the mission in Iraq to focus on a political solution and not a military one.

Our plan says that our brave men and women should not be policing a civil war. The Iraqis have to be accountable for their own future. Our troops can’t solve their political problems. That’s why we have put forward clear benchmarks that will require the Iraqis to take control of their own future.

Our plan includes a phased redeployment of our troops that begins to bring most of them home, with some remaining in Iraq for a period of time to be used only for counterterrorism operations, and training of Iraqi Security Forces to help ensure stability.

We believe that we should refocus our military efforts on Afghanistan and on fighting terrorism. We have presented this plan to President Bush, but he stubbornly refuses even to discuss it.

We intend to see that the troops get what they deserve and we will not give President Bush a blank check for a war without end. Contrary to what President Bush says, Democrats are funding priorities that Republicans have long ignored.

We are providing $96 billion to ensure troops have the resources they need. We’re providing $4.3 billion to make sure they receive the health care they deserve and we’re providing $2 billion to secure our ports, mass transit and airports. That’s what President Bush calls pork. We call it supporting our troops. Seventy one percent of the American people have made it clear they want to get out of Iraq. The American people are asking: How can the President continue to ignore our voice and the voices of military experts?

The answer is that he can’t continue this way. He has forgotten the simple truth that the power he has is not his to keep, it is on loan from the American people. That’s why Democrats have put forward a clear and reasonable plan to get our troops out of the middle of a civil war in Iraq. We have a new Congress in Washington. The American people have elected us to hold President Bush and the Republicans accountable for the incompetence in Iraq, the mismanagement at Walter Reed, the purging of Justice Department officials for partisan gain. We will do what the American people have asked us to do. We will bring our troops home.

Let’s remember this debate is not about President Bush, it’s not about Republicans or Democrats. It’s about our brave men and women who serve America. Together as Americans we have to stand up for our troops. The best way to do that is to get them out of the middle of a civil war in Iraq.

I’m Governor Howard Dean, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee. I wish everyone a happy Easter and Passover holiday as we remember the sacrifices of our men and women in uniform serving overseas.

By daryl

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