Claim vs. Fact: Treatment of Troops at a Time of War



“Seeing the care that these troops get is comforting for me and Laura. We should and must provide the best care for anybody who is willing to put their life in harm's way.”

– President Bush, 1/17/03

The President made these comments on the same day that his Administration announced it was cutting off access to its health care system for approximately 164,000 veterans. The Administration also is pushing a cut of $1.5 billion in military housing/medical facility funding, despite the fact that UPI reports “hundreds of sick and wounded U.S. soldiers including many who served in the Iraq war are languishing in hot cement barracks here while they wait - sometimes for months - to see doctors.”

Wash Post, 1/17/03, UPI, 10/17/03



Your lives can be changed in a moment with the sudden call to duty. I want to thank you for your willingness to heed that important call, and I want to thank your families. I want to thank your sons, daughters, husbands and wives who share in your sacrifice, who are willing to sacrifice for our country and who stand behind you.”

 – President Bush to National Guard and Reserves, 10/9/03

Less than 2 weeks after the President made these comments, “the Bush administration announced its formal opposition to a proposal to give National Guard and Reserve members access to the Pentagon's health-insurance system, jeopardizing the plan's future and angering supporters. A recent General Accounting Office report estimated that one of every five Guard members has no health insurance.”

– Gannett News Service, 10/23/03



“The services and the Joint Staff have been working with Central Command to develop a rotation plan so that we can, in fact, see that we treat these terrific young men and young women in a way that's respectful of their lives and their circumstances.”

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, 7/9/03

“Troops were told they'd be going home in May. Then in early July. Then late July.” Then Rumsfeld said August. Then officials changed the story again, saying “they could make no hard promises.” Then the Pentagon announced for the first time since Vietnam, they might “have to start serving back-to-back overseas tours of up to a year.” Then Secretary of State Colin Powell said some troops would probably be serving at least another year in Iraq. And now the Pentagon acknowledges that the “United States will have to provide the overwhelming majority of the occupying troops indefinitely.”

ABC News, 7/16/03, USA Today, 8/24/03, Figaro, 10/24/03, NY Times, 10/27/03



“I want to make sure that our soldiers have the best possible pay.”

President Bush, 1/3/03

“The Bush administration announced that on Oct. 1 it wants to roll back recent modest increases in monthly imminent-danger pay (from $225 to $150) and family-separation allowance (from $250 to $100) for troops getting shot at in combat zones.”

Army Times, 6/30/03



“I want to make sure the housing is the best possible for our military families.”

President Bush, 1/3/03

The Bush's 2004 budget proposes a $1.5 billion reduction in funds to military family housing/medical facilities – a 14% cut.

Bush FY 2004 Budget



“I twice led the Congress to pass historic tax relief for the American people. We wanted tax relief to be as broad and as fair as possible, so we reduced taxes on everyone who pays taxes.”

President Bush, 10/16/03

“One million children living in military and veteran families are being denied child tax credit help” in President Bush's tax cut. “More than 260,000 of these children have parents on active military duty.”

Children's Defense Fund, 6/6/03

Produced by the Center for American Progress