Tuesday, March 01, 2005

John Kerry supports our Military

There is a proliferation of yellow ribbon magnets on cars where I live. It seems like everyone has a "support our troops" sticker. And yet I am not sure what they mean by this display of what they consider "patriotism". Do they mean we should support our soldiers, and provide for them when they are under fire in Iraq as well as when they return as veterans? Or does it mean simply "Support the War". For me, supporting soldiers means providing them with the appropriate menas to do their job, keeping them safe and not sending them into war unnecessarily, and caring for them when they return to the States.

John Kerry has always understood this. He has been a solidier and he has been in combat and he knows what happens when a nation fights wars like Vietnam that have no end to the number of American casualties.

Recently he wrote in the Boston Herald:
Our military needs a better ally at home
By John Kerry
Monday, February 28, 2005

I recently traveled to Iraq where I was proud to visit some of America's most remarkable young men and women.

I wish I was as proud about what is happening in Washington, where ``supporting the troops'' is often confused with simply supporting the administration's policies. Sometimes supporting the troops means challenging the policies that put them in harm's way or harm the families who pray for their safe return. It also means Congress has a special responsibility to our troops - both in the field and at home.

Our troops must have every tool they need to succeed. Every recent commitment of American military power, including the ``air war'' in Kosovo, has required sizeable ground forces, at the very least to provide post-conflict security. There's just no technological substitute for boots on the ground.

I introduced the Strengthening America's Armed Forces and Military Family Bill of Rights Act to permanently increase the size of the military by 30,000 to 40,000 in the Army and 10,000 in the Marine Corps to meet challenges of the new century.

Let me be clear: This is not a proposal to increase U.S. forces in Iraq. But our experience there is instructive. Our ground forces are stretched. The Army recently began calling back retirees ranging in age from their mid-40s to late 60s. The Guard and Reserve are stressed, too. The chief of the Army Reserve warns that his troops are ``rapidly degenerating into a broken force'' and at this rate couldn't meet future missions.

If we had begun expanding the military in 2003, when Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and many of us began calling for it, our military would not be as overstretched as it is today.

We need a Military Family Bill of Rights, a set of policies enshrined in law to meet the needs of military families.

Investing in military families isn't just compassionate - it's a smart investment in our national security. The Military Family Bill of Rights would:

Expand TRICARE to all Guard and Reserve members, whether mobilized or not. Members failing physicals impacts combat readiness, yet as many as one in five do not have health insurance.

Allow widows to stay in military housing for one year. For those with children, the current policy of 180 days can mean changing schools in the course of a year.

Establish a Military Family Relief Fund. Just as we let Americans donate a few dollars to finance presidential elections on their tax forms, they should be able to thank our troops.

Allow penalty-free withdrawals from Individual Retirement Accounts for deployment-related expenses, like increased child care.

Offer a tax credit to small businesses that make up the difference between Reserve and National Guard members' civilian and military pay.

Expand post-traumatic stress disorder programs and require more outreach. As many as one in six soldiers returning from Iraq show symptoms of PTSD, yet barely half of all VA medical centers have treatment facilities.

Increase the military death benefit. Last year I proposed increasing the benefit so that, combined with the Servicemembers Group Life Insurance, the families of those who die in military service would receive $500,000. No one can put a price on a life, but the current $12,000 is insulting. The president recently embraced a formula to reach $500,000 but limited it to deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan. Congress should embrace the broader benefit for all troops, regardless of where they die, and act immediately to make it law.


Thank you Senator Kerry! America needs your voice of reason. Your concern for the American soldier and the American veteran. Support our Troops Senator Kerry! We shall all be supporting you in 2008!

Bob

8 Comments:

Blogger Dex2177 said...

Yes John Kerry understands, but if you run him again he'll lose again. John Kerry was a senator and senators have to compromise so he'll never have a clean record, there will always be something in some bill he voted for or against and then for again and then against again. That's how the Senate works but it does not make for a good Presidential candidate.

John Kerry also alienated the blue'ish red state voters in the last election's debates when he referred to anyone with misgivings about embryonic stem cell research as a far right lobby group. If you're so blue you insult the other side in that sort of way you'll never get elected.

John Kerry really does make a far better senator than a presidential candidate and I'm glad that he's there but if you run him again you'll get the same result, again.

2:48 PM  
Blogger BobsAdvice said...

Dex,

Thank you for your comments here! I appreciate your contribution even if we don't completely see eye to eye.

I do not think America can afford to eliminate United States Senators from the pool of eligible candidates for President. It is true that Senators will often end up voting on both sides of an issue due to amendments or other associated items on a piece of legislation.

It is only that the unethical campaign of George W. Bush and his crew that made this non-issue an issue.

It also sounds like you got snookered on the stem cell issue as well. Only a far right ideology would believe that it is better to throw frozen embryos in the garbage than to use them for exploration of possible cures to Parkinson's Disease, Lou Gehrig's Disease, Spinal Cord Injury and the like. So excuse me for repeating that but we Democrats don't always want to be the ones defined as being extreme.

John Kerry would have made a far better President than our current President who is not mainstream conservative like you are but who represents rather extreme views about government and society.

The far right is intent on destroying government by loading it down with debt. We all suffer as a result of that reckless behavior. A true conservative like yourself most likely is interested in a balanced budget and a smaller central government. I can deal with that.

Again, thanks for taking the time to write. I look forward to your future comments and shall make an effort to visit your blog as well!

Bob Freedland

8:56 PM  
Blogger dadahead said...

I don't agree. Kerry came extraordinarily close to winning the election, first of all, even though he was running in the context of a situation that was largely disadvantageous to ANY Democratic candidate--Bush the "war time" president, a hostile media, etc.

I don't think his voting record's an issue. His record is fine, and it really wasn't much of an issue in the election.

I also think you're overestimating the importance of Kerry's remark about stem cell research. I don't even remember hearing about that during the campaign, and I doubt that very many people who even give two shits about embryos in the first place would ever have voted for Kerry regardless of what he said.

Plus, you're overlooking the advantage of a second-time candidate. Why is it that running for president is the only thing you're supposed to be able to do the first time or not at all?

Kerry is now in a position to know pretty exactly what he needs to do to win--what his mistakes were, what parts of his image need work, etc. With four years to work on that, he could be incredibly strong in '08.

And since one of the main problems with the Democrats seemed to be the fact that people perceive them as being flip-floppers who don't take a strong stand on anything, I think it would be a good message to send: that we nominated Kerry because we thought he was the best candidate, and we still think that.

9:04 PM  
Blogger Dex2177 said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:42 PM  
Blogger Dex2177 said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:45 PM  
Blogger Dex2177 said...

You're both very "blue" and I can't fault you for that but given the results in the last election... and based only on that, who knows what will crop up by the next one... the democrats will need people like myself, the very blue and yet barely blue types to get that 4 or whatever percent you need to actually win. The stem cell issue is not an un-valuable one, what you have to remember is that there are some people who aren't terribly comfortable with the concept but otherwise support the Democrats social policies and have enough brains to see the Republican capacity to put America in the toilet any number of ways. (...and believe me, anyone who is at all sensitive on the embryo question heard his comment... and not necessarily all "far" right nutters but thankyou for giving me a group to identify with, lol. Unfortunately "far right" when used by the true "blue" is as good a label in a discussion as "bleeding heart liberal". It's just an excuse to disregard the concerns of the other side. Those of us sensitive to the embryo issue(but can readily see Bush is about as smart as my dog... the denser one, I have two...) couldn't quite believe Kerry misunderstood or didn't care about a segment of the voting public that much. When Kerry started using labels he shot himself in the foot.) I'm not saying that a candidate shouldn't have a stand, I'm saying if you want to win you don't want to alienate the portion of the vote that makes the difference. I don't think he should have been so self initiatingly vocal on the embryonic stemcell issue. He hadn't even been asked the question a couple of times when he brought it up. Just a wrong move on his part. You emphasize the things that bring you together and unify your vote, you don't fortify the wall in a 50/50 split. If he had 60% of the electoral vote who cares, he'd have won anyway, but he didn't... and he lost.

On a second time run... mmm... maybe, I was basing my assessment on the last time around, there may be different issues, and more importantly there will be a new republican candidate, the next time around. Kerry was well spoken to anyone with a brain but to paraphrase my favorite quote by Adlai Stevenson during his run for president: a woman once said to Adlai: "Sir, any thinking person in America would vote for you.", to which Adlai replied, "It will take far more than that madam."

Being very smart doesn't necessarily make him very electable. We'll see.

7:54 PM  
Blogger dadahead said...

I have a strong feeling that Kerry mentioned the stem-cell research because his team thought it was a winner issue with moderates.

It does poll well, but it seems doubtful, especially in retrospect, that it won him any votes. I'm still not sure it lost him any votes--unless you include votes lost because of abortion in general. Abortion almost certainly cost him significant votes, but I'm not really sure what he could have done about it.

8:33 PM  
Blogger BobsAdvice said...

Since Dex seems to have a stumbling block on this stem cell research issue, let me repeat the explanation.

The embryos that are being used are mainly from fertility clinics where they have been frozen awaiting implantation. They are destined to be tossed into the garbage. I find no harm in having their "parents" donate them to science.

Isn't the cure to horrible diseases worth saving these bits of tissue from the garbage dump? Perhaps we can find some middle ground on this.

I believe that America is anxious to find cures to diseases like diabetes, Parkinson's, Lou Gehrig's, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis and the like.

Don't you think using these frozen embryos is the moral path when we can possibly find an end to suffering? Or do you honestly believe that it is more moral to toss them into the garbage?

Bob

12:12 PM  

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