Saturday, August 20, 2005

My Response to the Response

Good morning. I'm former Sen. Max Cleland.

I’m not Max Cleland.

Democrats' Radio Response

My fellow Americans, my friends, I'm a veteran of the Vietnam War. Having left three limbs on that battlefield, I've seen the toll that war can take on our troops and on our country.

Are you running for president or something?

We are now engaged in another war — a war in Iraq. However, the Bush administration's plan for victory is not working. There is no strategy to win.

Well, which is it? Is the plan not working or is there no plan?

The president disregarded the advice of top military brass who said that at least 500,000 troops were needed to secure Iraq.

Then why is your party pushing to pull out rather than send an additional 400,000?

The president committed only one-fifth of that force to the war. Consequently, our military is completely overextended.

Still confused here. How can you whine about the force level in Iraq and in the next breath complain that we are over-extended?

Many servicemen and women are returning to Iraq for their third tour. The all-volunteer force is suffering — not only in the active forces, but also in the Guard and Reserves.

Well, it is a war. Are you calling for a draft?

Iraq is still not secure and we don't have the forces there to make it secure.

So we are back to the raise the force levels position.

Furthermore, Usama bin Laden and his terrorist cadre who did attack our country on Sept. 11, 2001, are still on the loose.

No doubt hidden out of fear of our torture chambers at Gitmo.

We are running out of time. We need a strategy to win in Iraq or an exit strategy to leave.

Still confounded I see. We are not running out of time. The only ones with a time-table are those know-it-alls in the Democratic Party.

The present course will lead us to disaster.

When did we become such defeatists?

More of the same just means more precious blood spilled in the desert.

True, death at the current level has not been seen since last months traffic fatality numbers came out. Let's see. 1800 deaths divided by three years is about 600 deaths a year. Where is the outrage at Ford and GM, considering that we suffer 40,000 non-combatant highway deaths annually?

The war is well into its third year. Early on, the president said 'Mission accomplished and major combat over.' This judgment was wrong. Major combat is not over. The cost has been extremely bloody for this nation.

Like I said, about a months worth of traffic accidents.

Almost 2,000 servicemen and women are dead. More than 15,000 have been wounded. A quarter of a million American servicemen and women have returned to our country to face an uncertain future.

Why? Did we kick them out of the military?

They bring with them the horrors and pain of a war with no end.

Who said it wouldn't end? When did we lose so much spine?

The result of this war has left a multitude of military families looking to their government for help. Yet, the administration's budget for them is woefully inadequate. At least $3.5 billion dollars more is needed. We should be expanding VA healthcare — especially counseling for veterans and their families dealing with the emotional aftermath of war.

They aren’t the only ones that need counseling.

The toll on the serviceman and women in a war where a distinct majority of the casualties are due to explosive devices is especially devastating.

It's much easier to be shot or blown up by a tank shell.

The Bush administration needs to step up the plate. It's time to face the truth. It's time for a strategy to win in Iraq or a strategy to get out.

Still can’t make up our minds can we?

I learned in Vietnam…

Jeez, more Vietnam.

…that the best way to support out troops is to either give them the forces and equipment needed to win or bring them home so we can care for those who have borne the battle.

Well, sending more troops might in fact help the cause, but it would also lead to more casualties, which would lead to more crooning from you.

I'm Max Cleland. Thanks for listening.

Doesn’t a government official usually make the response for the opposition party?

Thanks for reading.