Allison Kilkenny: Unreported

Cheney on 4,000 Dead Soldiers in Iraq: They Volunteered

Posted in Uncategorized by allisonkilkenny on March 24, 2008

From ABC News

By MARTHA RADDATZ, ELY BROWN and JENNIFER PARKER

In an exclusive interview with ABC News, Vice President Dick Cheney was asked what effect the grim milestone of at least 4,000 U.S. deaths in the five-year Iraq war might have on the nation.

Noting the burden placed on military families, the vice president said the biggest burden is carried by President George W. Bush, and reminded the public that U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan volunteered for duty.


“I want to start with the milestone today of 4,000 dead in Iraq. Americans. And just what effect do you think it has on the country?” asked ABC News’ White House correspondent, Martha Raddatz, who traveled with the vice president to Iraq.

“It obviously brings home I think for a lot of people the cost that’s involved in the global war on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Cheney said in the interview, conducted in Turkey. “It places a special burden obviously on the families, and we recognize, I think — it’s a reminder of the extent to which we are blessed with families who’ve sacrificed as they have.”

Cheney: ‘The All-Volunteer Force’

“The president carries the biggest burden, obviously,” Cheney said. “He’s the one who has to make the decision to commit young Americans, but we are fortunate to have a group of men and women, the all-volunteer force, who voluntarily put on the uniform and go in harm’s way for the rest of us.”

Raddatz noted that some soldiers, Air Force members, and Marines have been on multiple deployments and have been sent back to Iraq because of the stop-loss policy — an involuntary extension of a service member’s enlistment contract. The Army alone says 58,000 US soldiers have been redeployed because of the stop-loss policy.

“When you talk about an all-volunteer force, some of these soldiers, airmen, Marines have been on two, three, four, some of them more than that, deployments,” Raddatz said. “Do you think when they volunteered they had any idea that there would be so many deployments or stop-loss? Some of those who want to get out can’t because of stop-loss?”

“A lot of men and women sign up because sometimes they will see developments,” Cheney said. “For example, 9/11 stimulated a lot of folks to volunteer for the military because they wanted to be involved in defending the country.”

Referring to his talks with US service members in Iraq, the vice president said the men and women he speaks to are committed to the war.

“The thing that comes through loud and clear is how much they are committed to the cause, to doing what needs to be done to defend the nation,” Cheney said.

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