Date registered: Sep 2004
Vehicle: 83 Astral Silver 280 SL
Location: Planet Houston
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
RE: Rumsfeld: An insult to Representative Democracy
Following his stonw walling of the House, Rummy then took his road show up to the Senate:
Permanent Iraqi presence not ruled out
By ELANA SCHOR
THE SUN HERALD
WASHINGTON - Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld declined to rule out some sort of a permanent U.S. military presence in Iraq Wednesday, under sharp questioning from senators skeptical of the Bush administration's request for $81.9 billion more in emergency war funds.
Rumsfeld defended as truly urgent the defense portion of the request, including $5 billion for broad military modernization, $1.4 billion in payments to "Pakistan, Jordan and other key cooperating countries," and $176 million to care for wounded troops. He said that as of this week, "with few exceptions," U.S. military vehicles in Iraq would be fitted with sufficient protective armor.
"This request sends a clear and strident message that the United States is not winding down its military operations in Iraq," said West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd, the top Democrat on the Appropriations Committee. "To the contrary, the U.S. appears to be gearing up."
The committee, chaired by Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi, will decide in what form the request goes to the full Senate for final consideration.
While Republicans and Democrats alike lauded him for his easygoing nature - "It's good to see the white-haired guys make it," said a longtime colleague - Cochran was required to intercede on several occasions as senators voiced frustration with Rumsfeld's responses.
Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, was concerned that a permanent boost in soldiers' survivor benefits would strain the budget. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., asked Rumsfeld to state definitively whether the U.S. military would maintain a permanent installation in Iraq.
"Not to my knowledge. Who knows?" Rumsfeld said. When pressed, he declined to give a firm no. At an earlier House committee hearing, Rumsfeld declined to provide a timetable for the U.S. military's exit from Iraq.
Despite the often contentious hearing, Cochran said Rumsfeld "explained the president's request very well... I expect most senators will support the appropriations bill."
Both Rumsfeld and Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, acknowledged that the military was unprepared at first to deal with the Iraqi insurgency.
"Life being what it is, there are times when you're surprised," Rumsfeld said, adding to his earlier testimony about conflicting intelligence data on the size of the insurgency.
According to the nonprofit, nonpartisan National Priorities Project, the emergency funding request would increase Mississippi taxpayers' share of Iraq war costs by $277 million.
Mississippi has 5,165 reservists and National Guard troops on active duty in Iraq, the third-highest per capita number of any state, and more than 20 Mississippians have died in action.
Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.
-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address