Monday, April 02, 2007

Congress funding responsible for Iraq war performance?

An absolutely stunning perspective - When the Money Runs Out - from Major Gerd Schroeder in American Thinker today. It addresses the possible consequences (a word the Dems evidently don't embrace in any form) of Pelosi & chums hit and run funding bill, then bolting town for a couple of weeks holiday.

And all centers around what events start in motion (or not) after April 16th.

Murtha claims they won't run out of funds until the end of May. While technically that may be true, it is shown historically to be wildly irresponsible, and not without repercussions, to wait until the bewitching hour before starting the additional funding on it's long, drawn out red-tape heavy paper trail to the guys on the ground. And, unfortunately, Congress has a documented habit of being slow to provide needs for our troops.

What Maj. Schroeder imparts is VERY important. By leaving this funding to last minute, everything can suffer on the ground in Iraq... from reconstruction efforts to valuable intel on terrorists and trust gained with the Iraqis. He describes the delay of monies as basically one step forward when building, construction and dependable performance happens in Iraq. Then three steps back when the cash dries up, and the Iraqis see our aid and performance as inconsistent.
Schroeder lays this out using the most infamous case from the past.... remember the Kerry "I voted for it, before I voted against it" funding bill?

Not only did Congress do their political tap dance on that bill for at least 6 months before it's passage, then there was the delay caused by the battle over who had control of the funds. Needless to say for the guys on the receiving end, needed funds and that much touted body/Humvee armor were delayed over a year from start to finish. However did the media point out the delays for the armor and equipment could have been avoided by focused, diligent action by Congress? But nooooooo... It was blamed on Rumsfeld and the administration instead by saying the troops were ill-equipped from the beginning.

While this may be so, a historic perspective of wars shows we were never properly prepared with equipment for any of them. One can only assess the style of combat once combat ensues.... i.e. jungle guerilla warfare in Vietnam that caught our military by surprise at the onset. In WWII, our troops were training with broomsticks because of a shortage of rifles.

Now that Congress has passed the Iraq Accountability Act, one of the best questions that I have heard is: "when will the lack of funds start hurting the troops?" This is not a hypothetical question. As a matter of fact it has happened before. Most have forgotten this fact. Allow me to refresh your memories.

In September 2003, the money in Iraq was frozen in a battle for the 87 billion dollars that was allocated to the war by Congress. "What fight?" You ask. Most people will not remember. The fight over funds was not advertised in the media very well at the time; but the effects on the troops were significant just the same.

One distinction between then and now must be clear. The fight then over the money was between the State Department and the Department of Defense. The argument was over who would control the funds. But the effect on the troops and the mission was immediate. Even after the money started to flow again in December 2003, the pernicious effects that the lack of funds initiated continued unabated.

Maj. Schroeder then lays out how that delay specifically affected their work on the ground... a serious read here.

But that's not the only example. This slow moving body of puffed up elitist pols did the same last year. The Republican controlled Congress delayed funding until June 15th.

Last month, the Army’s outgoing chief of staff, Gen. Peter Schoomaker, sounded even more urgent alarms. He said that his service faced “near disastrous” accounting problems last year because Congress did not pass the supplemental until June 15. Schoomaker said that the Army was forced to take extraordinary measures to “slam the brakes” on expenditures.

Again, in 2005 the same thing *almost* happened.

Should the situation get dire, the secretary of defense could invoke the Civil War-era “Feed and Forage Act” to continue war operations. The act allows the military to obligate money for clothing, food, fuel, housing, transportation and medical supplies in excess of available appropriations for the year, without first getting congressional approval.

The authority under the Feed and Forage Act has some limitations, but it allows the military to continue its essential contracts and operations. It requires congressional notification, and Congress has to appropriate the necessary funds after that. Obligated funds can only be disbursed after a congressional appropriation.

In 2005, when the supplemental was delayed until May, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld warned that he would have to invoke the Feed and Forage Act to keep the deployed troops operating because funds were running out at the beginning of May. The supplemental was signed May 5, 2005.

Yes... Congress is pretty much 95% scum, regardless of party, IMHO. I am quite bipartisan with my disgust for all.

Now, the Dem controlled Congress has perhaps stumbled (or planned?) a more creative and politically safer way to lose than in Iraq than the obvious cutting off the funding immediately. If they delay it long enough, it is tantamount to the same thing and they gain "whining rights" about the surge not working. Not only can they easily convince their puppet media outlets to spread the word of failure forthwith, they also have enough historic delays with the opposition in control that they look no worse than their predecessors.

But it still comes down to this... our military's performance has had their hands tied by the Congressional financial games for years. Who are we, the people, to blame for not seeing the results we desire in Iraq? And this year, will we learn from the history of a bitterly embroiled Congress who cannot do the right thing in time?

Probably not. Or, as Rep. Sam Johnson, himself a Hanoi POW in the 'Nam war, says...:

People don't listen to history. If you look back to Vietnam, when we were POWs being held by the Viet Cong, we heard them broadcasting that our Congress had cut off funding. Congress did the same thing then that they're trying to do now—pull money from our war effort. They let the communists overrun South Vietnam after they'd already retreated to the point of giving up. We didn't support South Vietnam, and the communists sensed weakness and moved back in. I'm afraid that's what's going to happen again.

Yes. Our soldiers are once again listening to the media broadcast fund cutting to a much wider listening audience today - due to the new media and info age technology, They will once again be handcuffed in their military strategy by a politically power driven Congress just so they can achieve a desired defeat merely to satisfy a 1000 or so citizens who responded to a poll.

Schroeder sees thru these Congressional games, and tells you now - in advance - exactly how the talking, spinning heads will detail the inevitable chain of events. How the surge is destined to fail at the hands of Congress - and no media anywhere will mention of the lack of timely, responsible Congressional funding as the cause. Ahh... the dangerous game our pols play with our lives when jockeying for power.

So, what will happen starting on 15 April 2007? Just look at September and October 2003. Better yet look are November and December 2003. (It shows how the lack of progress actually slipped into backward momentum.) The bit of progress that we have made over the last 6 weeks will immediately start to crumble. Trust that has been built over years will fade rapidly. The insurgents will use the lack of progress to convince the Iraqi population that we have lied, and quit, while simultaneously increasing attacks that will show the people that the Iraqi government and the coalition can't protect them.

If the money dries up in less then two weeks the violence will rise. Our troops will start to lose the intelligence that the population is giving them to target. The attacks will increase on our forces as well as the Iraqi forces, and the members of Congress and media that oppose the war will take the opportunity to crow about how the surge is a failure. Don't expect them ever tie it to the true friction, which will be the lack of money.

Of course, Pelosi will spend her holiday in Syria and other ME hotspots, parroting the same message Condie and the WH have been saying all along INRE negotiations between antisemitic ME nations and Israel. Right... now that's productive.

Then there's Harry Reid, who's now running around threatening to cut off funding if Bush vetos the end of combat deadline. Well, Harry... bozo that you are. You are already cutting off the funding by your non-performance, according to Schroeder's history account. What twits we have as elected ones. Small wonder Congress approval numbers make Bush look like the prom king.

Add Barack Obama, who evidently didn't get the party caucus talking points from the Reid camp. Obama instead says no lawmaker "wants to play chicken with our troops." After a Bush veto, Congress will fund the troops without the timeline, per the junior Senate star. Can you say too little, too late?

All in all, examining Congressional behavior, I have to wonder if our up and down performance in Iraq is nothing more than a direct result of a lumbering, bureaucratic Congressional/department machine.

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