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Of all of Bush’s misstatements from the 2000 presidential election, one of the most obviously-false attacks was on military readiness. Indeed, then-Gov. Bush blamed Clinton and Gore directly for “hollowing out” the military. “If called on by the commander-in-chief today, two entire divisions of the Army would have to report, ‘Not ready for duty, sir.’” BC00 campaign aides later acknowledged it was a bogus charge, but that didn’t stop Bush from repeating it. A lot.

And now, seven years later, the next batch of Republican presidential hopefuls are doing the same thing.


“Our military is too small to deal with the Islamic terrorism threats,” Giuliani said, “but it really is too small to deter would-be aggressors to even think of challenging us. And that’s due to Bill Clinton.”

Does this make any sense? What threats are we incapable of dealing with? And if they exist, why hasn’t Bush/Cheney done anything about it? We already spend more on the military than most of the world put together — who else does Giuliani want to invade? (Oh wait, don’t answer that.)


Look, I realize the GOP is in a bind. Bush has stretched the military to the breaking point, and Republican presidential candidates want to emphasize rebuilding the Armed Forces as part of their platforms. But to acknowledge the incredible strains on the current military is to implicitly hold the president to account for his irresponsible policies.

What to do? Blame Clinton, of course.

Nonsensical rhetoric notwithstanding, Giuliani and Thompson have identified the correct problem, but they’re blaming the wrong president.

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