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News :: Politics
Kerry in Worcester EXPAND the MILITARY
15 Feb 2005
Modified: 11:21:39 AM
John Kerry just gave a major policy speach in Worcester, MA tonight (Feb.14th). Kerry announced that he will be proposing legislation to INCREASE the military by 40K troops and creating a "Military Family Bill of Rights". Kerry estimates his legislation would cost b/n $6.5 and $8 Billion. (about $4.5-5bil for expansion)

Copies of remarks and press releases included. Press releases actually provide very good media documentation of problems.

52 second video
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John Kerry came to town, bringing the near obligatory “recently returned Iraqi Vet” for his show-and-tellesque Political Speechmaking 101 moment. Kerry was in Worcester at the invitation of the Worcester Telegram and Gazette to be part of their Visions 2005 community awards celebration and Kerry wowed the crowd by announcing his plans to actively work for the EXPANSION of the U.S. military.

In "the Kerry Plan", our Senator is very clear, he is not arguing for an expanded military simply to put more bodies on the ground. Sen. Kerry argues that in the present world order, the "military must be reshaped to meet today's threat environment." He continues, "Challenges to America's security do not start and stop with Iraq. The war in Iraq taught us that a lightening fast, information age military can drive to Baghdad in three weeks, but it also reminded us that there is no technological substitute for boots on the ground. Our ongoing commitments in Iraq, the nature of the War on Terror and the need to be ready for any future challenges mandate larger ground forces, equipped and trained for any mission." Kerry’s expansion calls for an increase in “boots on the ground” by 40K (30KArmy and 10K Marines) and he estimates it would take 2 years for the recruitment and training process to

Kerry believes, “The U.S. military is too small for our national security needs….Our military must have the strength and resources to meet any challenge, now and in the future.”

How Kerry intends to increase the number of military personnel at a time when recruitment is hitting new lows wasn’t addressed. Although Kerry is clear in saying that re-enlistments and recruitment are all down because of the present situation soldiers are facing in Iraq.

On Feb. 2nd, the NYT and others reported that the Marines missed their recruitment goals for the first time in ten years. Others have reported that the Army failed to meet its recruitment goals for the second year. [WSJ 10/20/04] Meanwhile, the US military is pursuing all-out efforts to develop new recruitment strategies. Check-out this recruitment drive Porter Memorial Baptist Church on Jan. 28th of this year!

Kerry highlights these failures and numbers in his press work and remarks in an effort to bolster his call for expanding the military.

The Kerry Plan is also includes a “Military Family Bill of Rights”. This proposal includes housing, health insurance and support programs for families and returning vets. This Bill of Rights includes; increases in death benefits for family members who lose a loved one, expansion of federal post-traumatic stress disorder programs, veteran entrepreneurship loans for returning vets, penalty-free withdrawal from IRA’s and others.

Kerry eerily linked this Bill of Rights proposal back to recruitment needs and retention. His distributed remarks wind-down, “Investing in military families isn’t just an act of compassion—it’s a smart investment in America’s military. Good commanders know that while you may recruit an individual soldier or marine, you “retain” a family. . . . If we want to retain our most experienced service members . . . we have to keep faith with their families.

Clearly, whether it’s the CNN headlines, print media reports of recruitment failures or the junior Senator from Massachusetts the call for more bodies has begun.

“Video Transcription”

"The United States of America is going to need a larger ground force and failure to build one now will simply diminish our security.

Now, let me just make it clear, that the missions that we’re talking about are going to require investment in men and women of the American military if we expand their number and we’re going to increase the number of forces that specialize in these kinds of activities.

When I return to Washington this week, I am going to be introducing legislation, formally, to increase the size of the military, by 40,000 as an end number, 30,000 in the Army, 10,000 in the Marine Corps. in order to meet those challenges in the next century.

I will do so mindful of what we ask our soldiers and Marines to do, it takes a special kind of individual to see your buddy get hit in war and go to…"

This work is in the public domain