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Ironduke
24 Nov 03,, 17:25
Bush signs $401.3 defense bill

Will visit relatives of soldiers killed in Iraq

Monday, November 24, 2003 Posted: 10:48 AM EST (1548 GMT)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush signed a $401.3 billion defense authorization bill Monday, saying members of the U.S. armed forces are facing "a great and historic task" in confronting and defeating the forces of terrorism.

"The stakes for our country could not be higher," the president said at a Pentagon ceremony. "We face enemies that measure their progress by the chaos they inflict, the fear they spread and the innocent lives they destroy."

"America's military is standing between our country and grave danger," he proclaimed.

Bush spoke before leaving town for a holiday week at his ranch. On the way to Texas, Bush was stopping in Colorado at Fort Carson, home to four of the 16 soldiers killed November 2 when a helicopter was shot down in the dangerous Sunni Triangle near Fallujah, Iraq. Fort Carson has sent 12,000 troops to Iraq, its largest deployment since World War II.

"We're standing for order and hope and democracy in Afghanistan and Iraq," the president said. "We're standing up for the for security of all free nations and for the advance of freedom. The American people and your commander in chief are grateful," he said, "and we will support you in all your central missions."

At Fort Carson, he was to have lunch with soldiers, meet privately with families of some who have died and speak about the situation in Iraq, where on Sunday two U.S. troops were killed and then pummeled with concrete blocks and a soldier traveling in a convoy was killed by a roadside bomb.

U.S. policies in Iraq are a major political vulnerability for Bush in the 2004 election season.

After months in which more than half of Americans approved of the president's handling of Iraq, a recent CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll showed disapproval at 54 percent and approval at 45 percent. Other polls find the public evenly divided on that question.

Public approval of Bush's handling of the economy, meanwhile, has increased recently with positive news on that front.

Families at Fort Carson, near Colorado Springs, generally have supported the war effort, but there have been voices of concern.

Harriet Johnson of Cordova, South Carolina, the mother of Spc. Darius T. Jennings, one of the four Fort Carson soldiers who died in the crash of the CH-47 Chinook helicopter, said she was upset that Bush did not stop to speak with her family when he was in South Carolina earlier this month.

"I understand he may not be able to talk to each one of them direct," she said. "He was in my hometown. Something should have been said."

On the other hand, the stepfather of Marine Lance Cpl. Thomas Slocum, who was killed in Iraq on March 23, said he believes Bush takes responsibility for the U.S. casualties, which have topped 400. "If President Bush were go to every family, it would take too much of his time, and if he sees one, he has to see them all," said Stan Cooper of Thornton, Colorado.

Among other things, the defense bill before him at the Pentagon:

• Raises salaries for soldiers by an average of 4.15 percent, and extends increases in combat and family separation pay.

• Calls for the Air Force to lease 20 Boeing 767 planes as in-flight refueling tankers and buy 80 more.

• Partially overturns rules preventing disabled veterans from receiving some retirement pay as well as disability compensation.

• Grants Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld increased control over 700,000 civilian employees. Pentagon officials said restrictions on hiring, firing and promoting employees forced them to use military personnel for jobs better suited for civilians. Democrats said the bill goes too far in stripping overtime guarantees and job protection rules.

• Lifts a decade-old ban on research into low-yield nuclear weapons and authorizes $15 million for continued research into a powerful nuclear weapon capable of destroying deep underground bunkers.

• Exempts the military to provisions of the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The Pentagon claimed environmental laws restrict training exercises; environmentalists said the laws have had little effect on training and that the exemptions go too far.

The president ends the day at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, where he will observe Thanksgiving with family members.

On Tuesday, he makes a day trip to Las Vegas for a campaign fund-raiser and a speech on Medicare at Spring Valley Hospital, followed by similar appearances in Phoenix.

http://www.cnn.com/2003/ALLPOLITICS/11/24/bush.ap/index.html

Stinger
24 Nov 03,, 17:47
Among other things, the defense bill before him at the Pentagon:

• Raises salaries for soldiers by an average of 4.15 percent, and extends increases in combat and family separation pay.
About Time



• Calls for the Air Force to lease 20 Boeing 767 planes as in-flight refueling tankers and buy 80 more. I didn't know we had 767's for refuling? or are they going to have to come up with the associated equipement for new type tankers.


• Partially overturns rules preventing disabled veterans from receiving some retirement pay as well as disability compensation. Overturn the rest, if they deserve the pay and compensation then we damn well need to give it to them.



• Grants Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld increased control over 700,000 civilian employees. Pentagon officials said restrictions on hiring, firing and promoting employees forced them to use military personnel for jobs better suited for civilians. Democrats said the bill goes too far in stripping overtime guarantees and job protection rules. Cry me a river, if the jobs can be done better by civilians then let the do it, if they CAN'T be done better by civilians let the military do it.



• Lifts a decade-old ban on research into low-yield nuclear weapons and authorizes $15 million for continued research into a powerful nuclear weapon capable of destroying deep underground bunkers. In the scheme of things thats not very much money.



• Exempts the military to provisions of the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The Pentagon claimed environmental laws restrict training exercises; environmentalists said the laws have had little effect on training and that the exemptions go too far.
If the laws have had a small effect on military training then not having the laws should by definition have a small effect on the endagered species in question. It not like there are going to be planned hunts to go eradicate the West Texas Jackolope.

Ironduke
24 Nov 03,, 18:49
It real dollars it's not that bad. In the late 80's and early 90's (Reagan and Bush Sr.) military expenditures amounted to 400 billion in 2000 dollars.

From 1993 to 2000, the military budget shrank from 300 billion in '90 dollars to 300 billion in '00 dollars. 300 billion '90 dollars = 400 billion '00 dollars.

Jay
25 Nov 03,, 02:48
.........In its budget statement earlier this year, the Bush administration stated that the 10-year-old ban on low-yield nuclear weapons "has negatively affected United States Government efforts to support the national strategy countering weapons of mass destruction and undercuts efforts that could strengthen our ability to deter, or respond to, new or emerging threats."

What is this "national strategy" to counter weapons of mass destruction? It's the Bush administration's "Nuclear Policy Review" of December 2001, which was classified top secret but subsequently leaked. Among other things, the review advocated the development of low-yield, earth-penetrating nuclear weapons. So, yes, the ban does impede that proposal's fulfillment. But saying so is a tautology. There was nothing holy about the Nuclear Policy Review; it was the daydream of a small elite in the Pentagon and National Security Council, not the articulation of a consensus.

True, only a nuclear warhead has the explosive power to destroy a site buried deeper than, say, 100 feet. But, for all practical purposes, an attack would be successful if it merely disabled such a target—buried it under a mountain of rubble, covered its air vents, closed off its entrances; in short, made the site unusable as a "sanctuary" and put its "threatening assets" out of action. As the 1992 congressional report put it, given the growing accuracy of smart bombs, nukes aren't needed for this mission.

In fact, two non-nuclear smart bombs—the GBU-24, a 2,000-pound laser-guided weapon, and the BLU-109 JDAM, a 2,000-pound satellite-guided bomb—were recently modified to dig into the earth before exploding. A U.S. Navy program called Vulcan Fire (later changed to the less provocative-sounding HTI-J-1000) involves filling these earth-penetrators with incendiary explosives that would burn up whatever biological and chemical agents might be stored in an underground WMD site.

Another argument for low-yield earth-penetrating nukes—that they would minimize the radioactive fallout and therefore kill fewer people in the target-country—is also a bit misleading. Under certain circumstances, underground nuclear explosions produce slightly more fallout than groundburst explosions. (For more on this point, click here.)

However, the Department of Energy, which controls the nation's nuclear arsenal, runs a large and active "stockpile stewardship program," in which scientists continuously monitor and test the components of the weapons. The know-how, the hardware, and the physical capacity to build more bombs and warheads—these things are not going away.

So, a few common-sense questions:
Does deterrence really depend on the refinement of a nation's nuclear weapons or on its pure and simple possession of nukes, crude or fine? (The fact that Bush hasn't attacked North Korea suggests an answer to that question.) Will deploying a refined nuclear weapon—say, a low-yield earth-penetrator—deter a foe from even bothering to dig underground bunkers? Or will it spur him to dig deeper or to disguise the bunker better? (The few conventional bunker-busters used in Iraq did their jobs well. The problem was that the bunkers were empty when the bomb struck, if in fact they were bunkers to begin with.)
Will deploying such weapons dissuade a foe from building his own nuclear arsenal—or encourage him to develop one as quickly as possible, on the theory that otherwise the United States, newly armed with more usable nuclear weapons, might threaten to lob a few his way?

Finally, is any American president really going to order the use of nuclear weapons under any circumstances, for any reason, except possibly where not merely the vital interests but the very survival of the nation is at stake? (And if survival is at stake, the refinement of the weapon used is likely to be a peripheral issue.) If we're not going to use these mini-nukes, if having them doesn't enhance deterrence, and if developing them may encourage currently abstaining nations to build nukes of their own—for protection, if not emulation—then what is the point of speeding down this road any farther?

:alien

http://slate.msn.com/id/2091531/

Ray
25 Nov 03,, 03:35
Instead of spending on nukes, it would be better to spend on nanotechnology and remote controlled weapons developments to include MEMS [Micro Elecromechanical Systems]. This will allow closing in with the enemy without human contact. Thus, theoreticallu one could even blow up an enemy nuclear facility.

Jay
25 Nov 03,, 16:43
i think they are working on that too..
remember couple weeks back, they mfg a molecular level nano motor that can power up other nano-tech products?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/3224329.stm

"Researchers at Berkeley at the University of California created the world's smallest electrical device earlier this year - one hundred million of which could fit on the end of a pin"
:ermm

ChrisF202
25 Nov 03,, 23:16
I agree, its time to raise the pay