Thursday, December 06, 2007

Off their game

Here's another sign that the spinners are not quite so much in control of the White House as they used to be. We're at that time of year where George Bush blames every bad thing on the failure of Congress to give him the authority to spend yet more borrowed money on the wars in Iraq in Afghanistan. In past cycles the spinners have suggested that the failure to pass a budget has endangered troops. White House press secretary Dana Perino was setting up this line last week --

And the President is going to go to the Pentagon today -- as I told you this morning, they're going to talk about a variety of issues ... Of course, they're going to be talking about the budget, as well. So that's why the meeting is scheduled for over an hour and a half. The President will make a statement afterwards.

But I hardly see that as taking the gloves off, because they've [Congress] had the [budget] request, they've seen how wonderfully our troops are performing in Iraq and Afghanistan, and this money is for the day-to-day operations that is needed to fight the war on terror. And this includes bullets, body armor, the MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) vehicles that will help protect them.

So the next step was going to be to say that the troops were more exposed to ambush risk. There's a problem though -- the Marines don't want more MRAPs:

Improved conditions in Iraq and a desire to remain a light, mobile force caused the Marine Corps cut its order for mine-resistant, ambush–protected (MRAP) vehicles, a decision that included careful assessment of its effect on safety of deployed forces, the commandant of the Marine Corps said here [Washington] today.

The Marine Corps has asked the Joint Requirement Oversight Council to cut the number of MRAP vehicles earmarked for the service from 3,600 to 2,300.

In fact if you read the rest of that story, it's not even clear that they want what's currently coming off the assembly line.

A year ago, the White House would have said that the order was cut because of the delay in funding. The military men are trying to regain control.

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