Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a fount of military expertise, today claimed sequestration killed seven Marines when a 60 millimeter mortar exploded during a training exercise at Hawthorne Army Depot in Nevada. How the Nevada Senator links the explosion of the round to budget cuts is a mystery but one thing is for sure: Harry Reid is using the deaths of these Marines for politics and we need to stop him now. Call his office and demand he stop using the deaths of Marines to achieve his political goals of more and bigger spending: 202-224-3542.
Here’s what Senator Reid said on the Senate floor this morning:
As I indicated, it was quite a big explosion. We’ll follow this news very closely. I will do whatever I can going forward to support the United States military and the families of the fallen Marines.
Mr. President, it’s very important we continue training our military, so important. But one of the things in sequester is we cut back in training and maintenance. That’s the way sequester was written. Now, the bill that’s on the floor, we hope to pass today helps that a little bit. At least in the next six months, it allows the military some degree of ability to move things around a little bit. Flexibility, we call it, and that’s good. But we have to be very vigilant. This sequester should go away. We have cut already huge amounts of money in deficit reduction. It’s just not appropriate, Mr. President, that our military can’t train and do the maintenance necessary.
These men and women, our Marines were training there in Hawthorne. And with this sequester, it’s going to cut back this stuff. I just hope everyone understands the sacrifices made by our military. They are significant, being away from home, away from families, away from their country.
VSA has been severely critical of sequestration and the devastating impact it will have on America’s national security and in particular on our military men and women and their families. We also believe that the reductions in training and maintenance are going to severely reduce the operational readiness of our forces…but for Senator Reid to claim that sequestration, 19 days after implementation, killed seven marines by making a mortar round explode prematurely in the mortar tube – is not only ridiculous – its a desperate and hideous effort to make Americans think that more spending would have saved those young Marines.
The Marine Corps issued a statement via NBC defense reporter Jim Miklaszewski in response to Senator Reid’s comments:
Now I can tell you, Marine Corps officials this afternoon are taking a strong exception to what Harry Reid implied. Saying that this this exercise, for example, was planned well in advance, had nothing to do with the budget cuts. There were no corners cut, and if they couldn’t afford to have all the safety precautions into place, they wouldn’t do the exercise.
And in fact, one Marine Corps official told us a short time ago that he considers this nothing but pure political posturing on the backs of these dead Marines.
Call Senator Reid’s office and tell him to stop using the deaths of Marines to further wasteful spending.