Bush still stretching same National Guard he tried to cut

News & Politics

"It is important for Americans to know that we have enough Guard forces to win the war on terror, to respond to natural disasters, and to help secure our border," said George W. Bush in his speech to the nation last night.

The only thing he forgot to add was "no thanks to me."

Seeking to appear to be doing something about anything while he occupies the Oval Office, Bush appeared on national television to announce that he was going to crack down on illegal aliens entering the United States by using up to 6,000 National Guard troops to help patrol the border with Mexico.

Yes, these are the same people serving in the National Guard that have, in many cases, been deployed multiple times to fight in Iraq. It's the same National Guard that has seen 352 of its members die in that war. And it's the very same National Guard that Bush and the Pentagon tried to cut in January when they submitted a proposal to Congress that called for 17,000 fewer National Guard troops and a cut in Guard medical benefits via an increase in premiums on the Tricare health-care system.

Fortunately, Congressional representatives did not allow either proposal to remain by the time they passed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007 and the dangerous cuts to a force already stretched paper-thin where averted.

"It would send a terrible message that you guys don't count," said Representative Ike Skelton (D-MO), the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, of the proposed National Guard cuts. "It was actually a slap at the National Guard [to suggest it]."

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