Reality check

Spinsanity takes on the fog of war.

The coalition against Iraq is larger than the one that conducted the first Gulf War.

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has claimed that the current coalition “is larger than the coalition that existed during the Gulf War in 1991.” While this claim is accurate in terms of the number of countries lending their political support to the effort, it is highly misleading in terms of the actual operational contributions of coalition members. As Dana Milbank pointed out in the Washington Post, “that 34-member group [in 1991] was an actual military coalition, with all members providing troops, aircraft, ships or medics. By that standard, there are only about a half dozen members of the coalition in the current war.”

Passage of the Bush tax cut is necessary so that troops have jobs to come home to.

White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer has offered a new rationale for passage of the president’s proposed tax cut in recent days: “so that when our men and women in the military return home, they’ll have jobs to come home to.” But as Milbank has noted, full time military personnel will continue to be employed by the military, and thanks to legislation passed in 1994, reservists are entitled to resume their civilian jobs. The situation is not analogous to World War II, where large numbers of decommissioned troops returned home without guaranteed employment. Fleischer’s claim is simply disingenuous.

There’s much more.