Jewish World Review Oct. 22, 2003 /26 Tishrei, 5764

Joe Scarborough

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Consumer Reports

Ruining our military, soldier by soldier | We are hearing reports once again that our troops are being mistreated. Why am I not surprised?

A UPI report has just come out this past week that's shown many of our troops in Fort Stewart are living in squalor, that they are not getting the medical treatment and care that they deserve, that they are living in substandard conditions. In fact, one citizen soldier told a reporter that he felt like a third-class citizen.

Why am I not surprised? Well, because on my TV show, Scarborough Country, we have been documenting for months now about how everybody loves to salute our soldiers and our sailors going overseas, but, when it is time to pay the bill to take care of them the way heroes deserve to be taken care of, nobody's around to write the check.

So what's happening with our citizen soldiers? Why are they living in such poor conditions?

Well, we don't need a reporter to tell us why. Let's just look back at the past 10 years. And we can start with the Bill Clinton administration, where Bill Clinton actually bragged about cutting 200,000 federal employees. You know what? The majority of those cuts were all in the military. So that put more of a pressure on our citizen soldiers who were reservists and who were National Guardsmen.

A lot of Republicans were thinking, gee, it is going to be great when George W. Bush gets into the White House. But once they got into the White House, what did Don Rumsfeld start talking about doing? Keeping the size of our military low and depending more and more on our reservists. But in the 21st century, with America being the lone superpower, with us facing a war on terror, we just can't afford to do that. Ronald Reagan once said that America was to be like a city shining brightly on the hill for all the world to see.

You know it and I know it, that the people that light that flame and allow us to be that city shining brightly on the hill are our men and women in uniform. Unless Congress and our president step forward and do what it takes, that light will soon be extinguished.

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Former Congressman Joe Scarborough (R-Fla.) hosts “Scarborough Country,” 10 p.m. ET, weeknights on MSNBC. Comment by clicking here.

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