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Bush: We Owe Our Troops The Best

Bush: And the other thing that I think it’s important for people who watch the expenditure side of the equation is to understand we are at war, Tim, and any time you commit your troops into harm’s way, they must have the best equipment, the best training, and the best possible pay. That’s where we owe it to their loved ones. [“Meet thePress”, 2/8/04, emphasis added]

FACT: Under Bush, Military Suffering Resource Shortages

National Guard Still Waiting for Equipment. As it prepares to deploy to Iraq in the coming weeks, the Washington National Guard's 81st Armor Brigade still lacks such critical equipment as body armor, desert camouflage and insect repellent. "As of today, no, they are not ready to go," said Lt. Col. Stephen Barger, a Fort Lewis spokesman. Since Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) met with members of the brigade nearly a month ago, her office said it has received phone calls from anonymous soldiers saying they've been told to buy their own flashlight batteries, bug spray and web gear to carry ammunition magazines. [The News Tribune, 2/7/04]

Pentagon Delays With Body Armor, Supplies; Troops Forced to Pay Own Airfare Home.

“Only time can tell whether Bush's promises in the [State of the Union] will be kept. But the context in which he made them Tuesday was missing on occasion. For example, he thanked troops and the families for their service and said: ‘And my Administration, and this Congress, will give you the resources you need to fight and win the war on terror.’ To date, troops have lacked some key resources. The Pentagon has struggled with delays in the production and distribution of the latest body armor to troops in Iraq, among other supply problems. Troops reuniting with their families have had to pay for their own airfare home and other travel costs once they are flown free to a small selection of cities while on leave.” [AP, 1/20/04]