Bush lets down his Guard.

Politics and policy.
Sept. 17 2004 1:42 AM

Do As I Say

Bush lets down his Guard.

(Continued from Page 1)

One guardsman is doing something about it. After serving nine years in the Marines and the Army, including combat duty in Iraq, he enlisted last fall in the Guard. The bait he swallowed was the "Try One" program, which supposedly lets veterans sample a year of Guard service before making a longer commitment. Two months ago, invoking its "stop-loss" policy, the Army called up the guardsman's unit for duty in Iraq and changed his one-year commitment to three years. He sued to void the policy, noting that its application to Iraq "bears no relation to the threat of terrorism against the United States."

Most Guard officers, however, refuse to admit that their institution is being abused. They gave Bush standing ovations on Tuesday when he told them that "you're fighting terrorist enemies in Iraq" and that the war was "necessary to defend America."

Kerry brought them a different message. "Far too many of you have been on the ground for far too long, much longer than was expected or promised," he reminded them Thursday. "Many of you are our first responders here at home: fire fighters, police officers, and emergency medical technicians. To take you out of your communities is to take down our critical first line of defense. That's no way to protect America."

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What response did Kerry get? Silence.

Those brave, loyal, hoodwinked guardsmen. They think Bush is one of them. They don't understand that the only presidential candidate who's done the job they're doing now—risking life and shedding blood—is the guy on the other side.

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