Kerry Accuses Bush of Hiding Troops Plan

Kerry Accuses Bush of Hiding Troops Plan (AP)

Democratic Sen. John Kerry on Friday accused the Bush administration of hiding a plan to mobilize more National Guard and reserve troops after the election while glossing over a worsening conflict in Iraq. “He won’t tell us what congressional leaders are now saying, that this administration is planning yet another substantial call-up of reservists and guard units immediately after the election,” Kerry said. “Hide it from people through the election, then make the move.”

The Democratic presidential candidate listed examples where he sees Bush misleading voters about Iraq, seeking to turn the conflict into a liability for Bush even as the president polishes his credentials as the best candidate to deter terrorists and protect the nation. Kerry portrayed the president as out of touch with a serious and dangerous situation. “With all due respect to the president, has he turned on the evening news lately? Does he read the newspapers?” Kerry said. “Does he really know what’s happening? Is he talking about the same war that the rest of us are talking about?”

Matt Drudge also has this:

STATEMENT FROM REP JOHN P. MURTHA [D-PA]:

I have learned through conversations with officials at the Pentagon that at the beginning of November, 2004, the Bush Administration plans to call up large numbers of the military guard and reserves, to include plans that they previously put off to call up the Individual Ready Reserve.

I have said publicly and privately that our forces are inadequate to support our current worldwide tempo of operations. On November 21, 2003, a bipartisan group of 135 members of the House of Representatives wrote to the President urging an increase in the active duty army troop levels and expressed concern that our Armed Forces are over-extended and that we are relying too heavily on the Guard and Reserve.

We didn’t get a reply until February 2004, and now as the situation in Iraq is deteriorating, it seems that the Administration will resort to calling up additional guard and reservists, again with inadequate notice.

It certainly appears if the Democrats are getting frantic over Kerry’s poor showing in the polls, willing to say or do just about anything to see if it helps. The sheer desperation–and it’s only mid September–is amazing.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. They’re throwing everything at the wall – eventually in the hope that something will stick.

    Wait for all the talk about the “secret plans for x” that you’ll hear the Democrats trumpet in the next few weeks.

  2. Wait a sec here. Sure, Kerry’s going crazy, but John Murtha is a Democrat I respect. He usually doesn’t go for the hysterics. Having been in his district, I know that he would only say this if he believed it to be true.

    Murtha is very much behind the War on Terror, so much so that our local university named their homeland security center after him. He has done a lot for the defense of this country. When voting between him (I never did, but seriously considered it, and would have done it if I were in Pennsylvania now) and a Republican, you can hardly tell the difference – he’s pro-life, for defense, etc. (Must be with the Dems for the social programs or something – or, more likely, the Unions.)

    Anyway, don’t dismiss what Murtha says out of hand. He’s not just another Democrat.

    (I’m not saying I agree with him here, but I am saying that he is much more reasonable than, say, Kennedy, and if he says this, he means it.)

  3. (I will note, though that he might have false information. I don’t doubt he believes this, though, nor do I doubt that he got it from the Pentagon.)

  4. KipEsquire says:

    BM, I really think you’re missing the point.

    QandO got it exactly right:

    we have here a representative who has no problem telling of military plans in advance of their execution if it will reflect negatively on his party’s political opponent or we have a representative who’s making something up (which can’t be checked) simply to frighten the families of Guardsmen and reservists in hopes of changing their vote.

    Which is it, and how is that “not just another Democrat”?

  5. McGehee says:

    I’m afraid I must — utterly without irony — question the timing.

    …at the beginning of November, 2004, the Bush Administration plans to call up large numbers of the military guard and reserves, to include plans that they previously put off to call up the Individual Ready Reserve.

    To me, this smacks of how the House Wacko Caucus (led by Baghdad Jim McDermott) tried to stir up anger over a “Bush Administration” plan to reinstate the draft — when it was they who were sponsoring the damn bill.

    Friend Minich, I think you underestimate the desperation of the Democrats at this point. The very idea that the Pentagon would tell a Democrat congressman, ‘Oh yeah, right after the election we’re gonna mobilize everybody we can get our hands on!” and not expect him to go public with it, is simply ridiculous.

    Methinks Murtha may have received a fax from Abilene.

  6. Sgt Fluffy says:

    I heard that they are going to be deployed to Elbonia

  7. I just heard on the ABC radio news that the Pentagon has indeed confirmed the troop call up, and says it is a part of standard operating procedure.

    *shrug*

    In the end, it isn’t that big of a deal, but as I said before – Murtha tends to have his info right. Now the substance of the attack is another matter entirely (aka do we care about this).

  8. Found a story confirming the call up.

    However, it hardly sounds “secret”.

    The Pentagon announced in July that it intended to call back to duty about 5,600 Individual Ready Reserve members, discharged military personnel who haven’t served at least eight years of active duty.

    It doesn’t say when, but this is probably that “Novembert” group. Kerry’s definately overreacting here.

  9. M.Murcek says:

    I live in PA. Murtha’s the sort of doddering old idiot that infests government at every level in this state. The person who said he respects Murtha is to be pitied…

  10. Ryan says:

    Kerry portrayed the president as out of touch with a serious and dangerous situation. “With all due respect to the president, has he turned on the evening news lately? Does he read the newspapers?” Kerry said. “Does he really know what’s happening? Is he talking about the same war that the rest of us are talking about?”

    Who needs the CIA or House intelligence committees, all John Kerry needs to protect our country is a remote control and reading glasses.

  11. OF Jay says:

    Doc, I just found out yesterday that my reservist friend “may or may not” be re-enlisted and “may or may not” be deployed in what “may or may not” be Iraq. Does it hit home? Of course. Does it worry me? Like I have never felt before. But is this something the Bush administration is clandestinely operating? bull.

    For John Kerry to accuse the president of using an election to hide the matters of *running a war* is just beyond the pale, and as Michael Demmons noted, reeks of desperation.

  12. Bithead says:

    …”A democrat I respect”….

    There’s your first mistake.

    But let’s look seriously at Kerry’s charge.
    Wasn’t Kerry just a short time ago complaining we didn’t have enough people, and that Bush was incopmpetant, thereby?

    So, now, that it turns out an SOP call-up was already in the works, Kerry goes crazy because “Bush is hiding soemthing”

    Is there anyone left in America, that does not understand that Kerry will bictch about Bush no matter which way he goes?

  13. Ric Locke says:

    Husler Minich,

    I visit Murtha’s district from time to time. From the number of things named after him around there, I’d more or less assumed he was the Second Coming of Huey P. Long. My gun-toting small-town acquaintances there tend to agree.

    Regards,
    Ric Locke

  14. LJD says:

    The Pentagon announced a call-up of 5,600 reservists in May. The first round was called the first week of July, the second during the second week of August. To date, about 3,800 reservists have gotten orders. The announced call-up was scheduled to take place through December. There are about 118,000 troops in the IRR, this call-up represents less than 5%.

    Democrats will unscrupulously say anything to get elected, even if it contradicts earlier statements. (Remember- we need MORE troops in Iraq, what he said before he offered to bring the troops HOME!) Such short memory for the self-declared “visionaries”.. I’m tired of hearing about the “Republican Draft”, since the bill on the floor was proposed by two DEMOCRATS (Wrangell, Hollings)!!!

    Now for the no-brainer part. It seems inevitable, with the state of affairs in the world, that more IRR will be called up in the future, regardless of who is president. I am in the IRR, and I EXPECT it to happen. Will I change my vote based on who I think might be more likely to do it? Definitely NOT! It is a foolish venture to waste a vote based on the belief that a certain candidate will keep your military family member at home. Kerry cannot keep that promise.

    I am voting for the incumbent because of the likelihood that our country will be a safer place. Not for the challenger, who represents the party whose lame foreign policy has gotten us into this terrorism mess to begin with.

  15. McGehee says:

    I am in the IRR…

    Thank you, LJD, for your service to our country and your readiness to continue doing so.