Last month, President Bush attacked congressional Democrats for depriving troops on the ground of funding by insisting on passing conditional funding bills they knew he would veto. Although Bush’s claims were proven to be false—the war had already been funded through June, and even a long delay in reaching an agreement would only have caused the government a minor financial inconvenience—he continued to reiterate them, in the fashion of his Tourettes-inflicted vice president who could not stop saying that Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9/11.
Now the Democrats have proposed a boost in survivor’s benefits and a pay increase for the troops, who are facing increased danger since Bush’s congressionally opposed surge began. Bush is threatening to veto the gesture of mercy. The president says military pay and benefits are already adequate. But that’s not what Mother Jones found (and documented) in our Iraq 101 package. A widow with 3 children receives just $40,000 a year. And soldier’s pay is so low that a quarter of military spouses applied for food stamps in 2004.