Don Castleman in a letter in last Friday's paper, accuses Sen. John Kerry of voting against all defense and intelligence spending since 1988. Here is what my research turned up:
From 1985 to 2003, Kerry supported $4.4 trillion in defense spending, including voting for 16 of the last 19 defense authorization bills. Kerry voted for the 2003 Defense Department budget that provided more than $355 billion, an increase of $21 billion over the previous year.
The Bush ad that was the original source for Mr. Castleman's statements was based mostly on Kerry votes from the 1990s when the Cold War was ending, and both parties were intent on cutting defense spending. The Senate record shows Kerry voted for every one of those weapons systems and planes in Mr. Castleman's list, plus 76 more at other times. He supported each of the five new aircraft carriers since 1985. Kerry, a former member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, voted for $250 billion for intelligence over the past eight years, according to the Center for Defense Funding.
Much has been made ofKerry's opposition to the President's $87 billion request for Iraq and Afghanistan. That vote has been the subject of Bush ads and speeches, repeated ad nauseum. Kerry voted no on a red-inked, blank check for Bush's failed Iraq policy. (He had supported the bill earlier with an amendment to drop off Bush's tax cuts for those earning more than $400,000 to help pay for the request, which didn't pass.)
By the way, Kerry did not specifically vote against body armor. That was one-third of one percent of the $87 billion request.
The above information was gleaned from the johnkerry.com website; slate.msn.com; factcheck.org; and a column by Howard Kurtz at washingtonpost.com.
Deliberate distortion of Kerry's voting record on defense has been rampant in this election campaign. It takes time and patience to ferret out the truth. But what if we don't? The broadcast media can't be trusted. And George Bush's presidency is a web of lies.
I don't agree with John Kerry on every issue. I wish he'd said and done some things differently in his campaign. But I will vote for him as the better choice to pull this country back from the brink of disaster where the Bush administration has taken us, and lead us to higher ground.
Vivian Taylor, Payson