Washington, DC— U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senator Debbie Stabenow joined representatives of America’s veterans and their families Wednesday for the third in a series of events to underscore how each and every American, from every walk of life, is being impacted by the Iraq war and the failed policies of the Bush Administration. The events, themed “America Speaks Out on the War in Iraq,” highlight Americans from across the country who are concerned about and affected by this war, but whose voices are often lost in the debate.
The Senators spoke alongside representatives from Veterans for America, the National Military Families Association and VoteVets.org about Senator Jim Webb’s amendment to begin the critical and long overdue process of rebuilding our badly overburdened military. The amendment will give our troops the time to properly train, prepare for and recover from battle, and ensures we do not leave our cities’ and towns’ first responders shorthanded.
“Our same soldiers are being deployed again and again. Our same National Guard troops are being deployed again and again. Like the President’s failed war strategy, this is not sustainable,” Reid said. “Senator Webb’s readiness amendment begins the critical and long overdue process of rebuilding our badly overburdened military. Without this bill, our military is going to reach its breaking point, we are leaving our cities and towns shorthanded and we are shortchanging our brave men and women. We cannot ask our military to continue to fight without a strategy for success, and we certainly cannot ask them to fight before they are ready to do so.”
Said Stabenow: “Our fighting men and women are the greatest single resource our military has and this government is abusing that resource. They put their lives on the line for us every day, and the least we can do is make sure they have the time they need at home between combat deployments to see their families and prepare for their redeployment.”
“We have heard from hundreds of service members who have served multiple deployments,” said Bobby Muller, President, Veterans for America. “These brave men and women report that inadequate dwell time exacerbates their service-connected injuries. Our current deployment policies amount to abuse. As a result, the United States is facing, among other challenges, a mental health crisis for which our military and country are not prepared.”
Said Joyce Raezer, Chief Operating Officer of the National Military Families Association, “Multiple deployments, repeated extensions, a lack of predictability, and diminished time at home between deployments continue to take their toll on military families. How can service members or families fully recover from one deployment if they must almost immediately prepare for the next one?”