Neverending Story

Today comes news that the Pentagon wants to cut the pay of military personnel currently serving in Iraq:

Unless Congress and President Bush take quick action when Congress returns after Labor Day, the uniformed Americans in Iraq and the 9,000 in Afghanistan will lose a pay increase approved last April of $75 a month in “imminent danger pay” and $150 a month in “family separation allowances.”

The Defense Department supports the cuts, saying its budget can’t sustain the higher payments amid a host of other priorities. But the proposed cuts have stirred anger among military families and veterans’ groups and even prompted an editorial attack in the Army Times, a weekly newspaper for military personnel and their families that is seldom so outspoken.

I certainly hope this report turns out to be untrue. But honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if it is in fact accurate. After all, it follows a long line of doubletalk and broken promises that span the length of George W. Bush’s term as president.

Ours is a president who campaigned on a strong but humble foreign policy, yet his administration has repeatedly alienated our allies and made the United States an anathema to the rest of the world. Ours is a president who campaigned on leaving no child behind, then subsequently refused to fund his own educational programs. Ours is a president who presents himself as a friend of the working class, yet his tax cuts provide a windfall to his rich country club buddies at the expense of government services the less fortunate depend on.

Why is it a surprise, then, that Bush, who failed to answer the call of duty himself, would praise the sacrifice of American heroes in Iraq while looking the other way as they shoulder the cost of his economic policies?

I have been suffering, for some time now, from outrage fatigue — “the notion that the left is knocked so off-balance by the audaciousness of this administration that a coherent response is impossible.”

Sure, I want to be outraged — to howl and yell and blog, anything to get the word out about the shocking and tragic rape of this country. But not so much anymore. Instead, I hold in my anger and redouble my efforts, soldiering on to 2004.

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