Bush Accuses Democrats Of Extending Troops - Right Before He Does
Dana Perino is filling in for Bush Spokesman Tony Snow and, while she may be somewhat new at handling the White House's main propaganda platform, I have to say that she can weasel right up there with the likes of Snow and our all-time favorite Bush apologist, Scott "The Lyin' King" McClellan.
But she was hit yesterday by a persistent reporter who looked under the hood of George W. Bush going before a group of Veterans and claiming Democrats were playing politics that may extend the tours of some troops in Iraq -- when King George already knew that he was going to announce within 24 hours his administration extending the tours of almost every soldier serving there.
So, Bush was accusing Democrats of possibly doing what he already knew he was about to do. Yes, it’s bizarro world, folks.
Here's Bush before American Legion Post 177 in Fairfax, Virginia on Tuesday:
"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 its depots, where the equipment our troops depend on is repaired. They will have to consider delaying or curtailing the training of some active duty forces, reducing the availability of those the force -- of those forces to deploy overseas. And the Army may also have to delay the formation of new brigade combat teams, preventing us from getting those troops into the pool of forces that are available to deploy.Of course, when Bush made this statement he already knew that this was not actually the likely result of Democratic efforts to bring the war to an end and he knew that it was he who was going to extend the time of almost every soldier in Iraq -- in other words, he lied to and misled the Vets he was talking to.
"So what does that mean? These things happen: Some of our forces now deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq may need to be extended, because other units are not ready to take their places….
"The bottom line is this: 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. Others could see their loved ones headed back to war sooner than anticipated. This is unacceptable. It's unacceptable to me, it's unacceptable to our veterans, it's unacceptable to our military families, and it's unacceptable to many in this country."
And the press actually caught it.
Here's excerpts of Perino trying to fend off the challenge (emphasis is mine):
Q: Dana, on the supplemental, on Tuesday the President said that because the Democrats have not gotten this in yet -- "The failure to fund our troops will mean some of our military families could wait longer for their loved ones to return from the front lines, others could see their loved ones headed back to war sooner." Why did the President mention -- this is a day before his own Pentagon is going to announce that, actually, those loved ones are going to stay in harm's way longer. And he clearly had to know that this policy was going to take place, that the deployments were going to be stretched from 12 months to 15 months. So why did he tell the American Legion that people would be staying in Iraq longer because of the Democrats, when his own Pentagon, 24 hours later, was going to keep people there longer?Obviously it's not big news that Bush lied and distorted again… But the question is, now that they've removed from their own arsenal the bogus charge that Democrats are going to extend the troops in Iraq, what will Republicans think of next as their twisted rationale of supporting the troops by keeping them under fire in Iraq forever?
Perino: Well, one, I don't know if the President knew about the -- the meeting -- remember, yesterday morning is when Secretary Gates came and talked to the President. But also, Secretary Gates was talking about a longer-term policy, to make sure that the dwell times are going to be long enough so that we can keep our troops refreshed and get them time with their family. The long-term goal, ultimate goal is to have for active duty one year deployed with two years off, and then for reservists, one year on and five years off.
We have never said that if we got the money immediately tomorrow, that folks would be able to have just a 12-year [sic] deployment and a 12-year [sic] dwell time. Every day that we don't get the money is one that, as Secretary Gates and General Pace have said, creates problems in terms of the training. And so by piecemeal, you see some troops have been there for 16 months, and that's what we're trying to avoid.
Q: But if the President really wants certainty for the families, he had an opportunity before the American Legion, a highly respected veterans organization, to say, you know what, for certainty's sake for these families, tomorrow we're going to announce a pretty big change. They're going to stay in harm's way longer. Why wasn't he straightforward with the American Legion about his own policy?
Perino: I think the President was absolutely straightforward. And remember, I don't -- I know that Secretary Gates came and talked to the President yesterday morning, so that speech you're talking about was last Tuesday. We've known for a while that we're going to have to --
Q: Two days ago, the speech.
Perino: Yes, two days ago, right.
Q: And so the President didn't know about his own policy until Wednesday?
Perino: I'm not aware that the President knew that there was going to be -- that Secretary Gates had come to any decisions. But we did know that people, one, needed more certainty, because that had been a complaint and that's one that we had heard about; and two, we need to make sure that we can get the money for the troops so that the readiness issue, the training issue -- because if the troops here can't be trained, which is one of the issues that Gates and Pace said is a problem of not having the money now -- if they can't be trained, then you can't get the fresh troops out in the field. And that means that the people who are there have to stay longer.
And so I guess the way I would put it is that it gets better than it would otherwise be if we get the money today, and it gets worse than it would otherwise be if we don't.