blogenlust
11.01.2004

Marines' Wish List


This is an interesting article about how the Marines in Iraq are unfazed by the US election. But if you read the article carefully, you get the impression that they aren't very satisfied with the policies of the Bush Administration:
NEAR FALLUJAH, Iraq (AP) - As Americans head to the polls, U.S. Marines squaring off against Iraqi insurgents say they expect trouble in Iraq for years no matter who wins the White House. What they want is better equipment, more pay and a clear exit strategy from their next commander in chief. Many Marines fighting in Iraq's Sunni Triangle don't talk much about the race between President Bush and Sen. John Kerry. For them, the focus is on staying alive and following orders that they don't expect to change: Defeat the insurgency and help rebuild Iraq. But what really concerns them is the prospect of an open-ended mission lacking a final benchmark for victory. [...] ``Regardless, I want to see the next president give us an idea how we're going to end the occupation,'' he added. ``What are we doing while we're here? What's next? Bush has done that to some degree. But we need more.'' [...] With violence expected to intensify ahead of Iraqi elections planned for January as a crucial step in the effort to stabilize the country and entrench democracy, Marines say they need better equipment, particularly well-armored Humvees. ``I hope the Marine Corps gets more funding, for better weapons, better gear and better Humvees,'' said Lance Cpl. Jonathan Sandoval. [...] ``The next president needs to stop stalling. We're waiting around and they're getting stronger,'' Sandoval said of the insurgents. ``At the same time, we're losing a lot of good Marines.'' Marines say they would like a boost in danger pay, an increase in base salaries and better health benefits for their families back home. ``Pay should be better, that's for sure. It's a pride thing,'' said Sgt. Israel Sanchez, 27, also from Los Angeles. ``Tax cuts, that's what everyone wants - tax-free paychecks,'' said Revord. ``But that's just a dream, of course.''
The most telling part of this article is their frustration over stalling, which is a direct result of Bush's re-election campaign taking a precedent over the lives of the soldiers and the overall mission in Iraq. I gather from their use of "the next president" that the Marines are quietly hoping for a change in leadership.