November 1, 2006  


for having the integrity to spell out home truths.

In a series of pointed statements that should rightly leave many in the White House and Congress uncomfortable, the general said he must prepare to sustain 140,000 troops in Iraq over another four years, and supplemental wartime budgets were not the answer.

At the Association of the United States Army annual convention, Schoomaker said Americans don’t grasp the dangers that face them as a nation and, as a result, the Army is being underfunded.

Schoomaker refused to sign off the Army’s proposed 2008-to-2013 spending plan by its Aug. 15 deadline after the Pentagon proposed a fiscal 2008 Army budget of $114 billion. An army at war needs cash — lots of it — and America must step up to its responsibilities, he said. “A complacent nation might applaud its soldiers, but if it doesn’t back up that praise in the form of hard cash — funding — the praise is hollow.”

Some are interpreting Schoomaker’s comments as political statements in the guise of a planning forecast. But the general is really delivering a straightforward, brave and loyal message. He’s prepared “to shoot as long as they want to shoot.” But it’s up to the president and Congress to give him the ammo.