Veterans Sound Off On War Funding Bill - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

05/25/07

Veterans Sound Off On War Funding Bill

The House and Senate approved more than $100-billion for the war, but without a time line for troop withdrawal.

WTOC talked to veterans about the situation; they're divided, much like the rest of the country.

While soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan plow ahead, the military's war chest gets bigger: by some $120-billion. This is the second time congress has sent a bill to the White House, but with a key difference: no set timetable to bring home our troops. Some veterans say they're disappointed.

"I think we should have some kind of time table, but realize that's not always accomplishable," said State Representative Bob Bryant, who served in Vietnam.

Others say this is exactly what needs to be done.

"I don't know that congress should be setting time tables on a war," said Lt. Col. Frank Baker , who spent years in the Air National Guard. "They obviously control the purse strings, but they don't know what is actually happening on the ground."

The people fighting this war say they're just happy to get the funding, no matter what you think of the politics behind it.

"This bill passing will allow us to pay the light bill through the end of the year," said COL Jesse Simmons, the Vice Commander of the 165th Airlift Wing. "If it hadn't passed, we were getting pretty lean funds and on basis pay -- especially the guardsmen."

This funding does come with a catch: setting realistic goals for the Iraqi government like being able to defend itself and have a democratic government. People on both sides hope that helps.

"We do have a mission there, and I believe we should accomplish that mission and come back home," said Bryant.

President bush vetoed the first bill quickly, and has been adamant that the timetable would not get his approval.

Reported by: Chris Cowperthwaite, ccowperthwaite@wtoc.com

 

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