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Join Rep. Rangel's Online Town Hall on the War on Iraq, Friday, 7/22 at 12:00pm (EDT)

Congressman Charlie Rangel (NY-15)
Please Join Me for an e-Town Hall Meeting On the War in Iraq


Today, after more than two years of war in Iraq, 1,750 brave American troops have been killed and more than 12,000 wounded. Two shameful facts have become clear: first, the President's justifications for the invasion were untrue; and second, the Bush administration was committed to regime change in Iraq long before Nine-Eleven.

The tragic war in Iraq is the most important issue facing our nation. You are invited to join me at an e-Town Hall meeting on Friday, July 22nd, from noon to 1:00 p.m., to answer your questions about the origins of the war, the unfair burden on our troops, and what can be done to end the greatest military catastrophe since Vietnam. Your questions will inform me of your specific concerns.

I encourage you to submit your questions as soon as possible after receipt of this invitation up to the time of the e-Town Hall meeting when selected questions and responses will be posted on the web site. I will answer as many as I can, but because of time constraints, priority will be given to inquiries submitted by residents of my Congressional District in Upper Manhattan.


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Approximate number of U.S. troops currently in Iraq: 139,000
Percent of coalition forces contributed by the U.S. 85.7
Weeks since the Pentagon developed a plan to draw down U.S. forces in Iraq to roughly 40,000 by mid-2005: 91
Approximate amount appropriated by Congress for Iraq operations so far: $218 billion
Approximate amount spent in Iraq by the U.S. last week: $1.03 billion
Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) found: 0
Number of U.S. service members killed in Iraq: 1,755
Number killed since the President announced the end of major combat: 1,616
Number reported wounded by the Defense Department: 13,336
Approximate number of medical evacuations of U.S. military personnel performed since the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom: 55,000
Number of National Guard soldiers killed in Iraq through June 2005: 268
Number of National Guard soldiers killed in the entire Vietnam War: 97
Number of Iraqi military and police killed since training began (June 2003): 2,751
Estimated number of insurgents in Iraq (November 2003): 5,000
Estimated number of insurgents in Iraq (June 2005): 15 - 20,000
Estimated number of 107 Iraqi military and special police battalions that are capable of operating independently: 3
Total amount of taxpayers' money spent by Halliburton that the Defense Contract Audit Agency has deemed either excessive or insufficiently documented: $1.47 billion
Amount charged to American taxpayers by Halliburton to build a movie library for its employees: $152 million
Number of movies in the library: 10,000

War on terrorism:

Days since September 11, 2001 that Osama bin Laden has remained uncaptured: 1,404
Days after bombing Pearl Harbor that Japan surrendered to U.S. forces: 1,365
Number of times President Bush mentioned the "war on terror" in one month before the 2004 elections: 71
Number of times in the six months since the 2004 elections: 66
Chances of a WMD attack in the next ten years, according to leading arms experts: 70 percent
Number of discovered cases of potential illicit smuggling of nuclear or radiological material out of the former Soviet Union last year: 200
Percent of former Soviet nuclear material stockpiles secured under Nunn-Lugar counterproliferation programs: 26
Number of terrorist suspects the Bush Administration claims have been convicted since September 11, 2001: 200
Number that have actually been convicted: 39

U.S. military personnel:

Percentage of the Army's Third Infantry Division currently serving a second tour in Iraq: 50
Number of 333 Army National Guard infantry, military police, armor, and Special Forces units currently combat-ready without reinforcements: 6
Recruits needed per month for the rest of the fiscal year, if the Army is to meet its annual goal: 11,000
Average new Army recruits per month so far this year: 5,200
Highest monthly total of Army recruits this year: 8,086
Number of months the Marine Corps missed its recruiting goals between January and April 2005: 4
Number of months the Marine Corps missed its recruiting goals in ten years before January 2005: 0
Prior to 2004, years since the Army National Guard last missed its annual recruiting goal: 11
Consecutive months the Army National Guard has missed its monthly recruiting goals: 9
Number of the six Reserve Components that missed their recruiting goals for the first four months of Fiscal Year 2005: 5
Resignation requests submitted by Army Reserve Officers in 2001: 15
Resignation requests submitted by Army Reserve Officers, September 2003-September 2004: 370
Total National Guard and Reserve personnel currently deployed: 138,457
Value of total Reserve Component equipment shortage, beginning Fiscal Year 2005: $15.21 billion
Army National Guard equipment shortage, as a percentage of the total: 76.7
Percent of Army Reserve currently ineligible for deployment because of recent deployments, lack of training, medical reasons, etc.: 84
Shortage of Captains, who serve as unit-level leaders, in the Army Reserve: 52 percent
Increase in the divorce rate among Army officers since the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom: 317 percent

North Korea:

Estimated number of nuclear weapons produced by North Korea during the Bush Administration: 4-6
Estimated number produced by North Korea from 1953 to 2000: 1-2
Days since the last round of six-party negotiations: 387


Estimated number of conflict-related deaths per day in Darfur, Sudan: 500
Estimated number since President Bush took office: 400,000
Days since Secretary of State Powell first called the situation "genocide": 312
Number of days after the Senate passed the Darfur Accountability Act as an amendment to H.R. 1268 that the Administration wrote a letter pressuring House Republicans (successfully) to remove it from the final bill: 1
Number of Darfuris expected to require food assistance during the August-October "hunger season": 3.5 million

Homeland Security:

Factor by which passengers on mass transit systems exceed passengers on airlines: 16
Funding per passenger the Bush Administration has spent to secure mass transit systems since September 11, 2001: $0.01
Cost of security upgrades needed to protect rail and transit systems as estimated by U.S. transit authorities: $6 billion
Amount of funding designated specifically for rail and transit security in President Bush's budget: $0
Total amount of funding added to the Fiscal Year 2006 Homeland Security Appropriations bill for rail security in the wake of the July 7 London Bombings: $0
Number of provisions in federal law requiring chemical facilities to establish safeguards against a terrorist attack: 0
Number of chemical facilities at which a terrorist strike could threaten the lives of over 1 million people: 123
Percent of cargo arriving at U.S. ports inspected for WMD: <1
Percent of "high-risk" cargo inspected: 17.5
Estimated economic impact of a terrorist attack to a U.S. port: $1 trillion
Percent of Transportation Security Administration Fiscal Year 2005 budget allocated for port security grants: 2.8
Deadline for meeting port security standards set by the Maritime Transportation Security Act: 2004
Year in which MTSA port security standards will be met if port security funding levels remain constant: 2050
Ratio of federal air security screeners to federal surface transportation (rail and public transit) security screeners: 450:1
Homeland security grant dollars per capita awarded to the U.S. Virgin Islands in Fiscal Year 2004: $104.35
Homeland security grant dollars per capita awarded to California in Fiscal Year 2004: $4.97


Total Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom veterans discharged from service, through February 2005: 360,674
Total Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom veterans seeking health care from VA hospitals, through June 2005: 103,000
Total funding requested specifically to meet the needs of Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom veterans in the President's 2006 budget: $0
Total Compensation and Pension Claims Backlog: 506,701
Percent change in pending claims from the end of Fiscal Year 2003 to March 2005: +33
Gap between veterans' needs and President Bush's 2006 budget proposal: $3.5 billion
Percent increase needed each year just to maintain existing programs in the face of medical inflation and other rising costs: 13-14
Percent increase in veterans health care funding requested in President Bush's 2006 Budget Proposal: 0.4
Fiscal Year 2005 budget shortfall announced by the VA: $1 billion
Number of weeks prior to the VA's budget shortfall announcement that VA Secretary Nicholson told Congress, "I can assure you that VA does not need emergency supplemental funds in FY 2005": 11
Total funding shortfall for Fiscal Years 2005 and 2006 now identified by the Bush Administration: $3 billion

Democracy and development:

Number of Botswanan AIDS patients the Bush Administration claims are receiving treatment because of U.S. assistance: 32,839
Number of Botswanan AIDS patients the Botswanan government says are receiving treatment because of U.S. assistance: 0
Total amount appropriated to the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) so far: $2.48 billion
Total value of compacts signed with MCA recipient nations: $435 million
Total aid distributed by the MCA so far: $0
Average amount per year to be distributed through the three compact agreements signed so far: $31.1 million
Annual amount President Bush has requested for the MCA: $5 billion
Number of the world's ten poorest nations with whom the United States has signed an MCA compact: 0
Number of the world's 50 poorest nations with whom the United States has signed an MCA compact: 1
Rank of U.S. among 21 developed nations in foreign assistance spending measured as a percentage of Gross National Product: 20
Number of children dying each day from preventable diseases: 27,000
Portion of the world's population living on less than $2 per day: 1/2
Cut in funding for foreign development assistance proposed in President Bush's Budget: $345 million

Statistics of the week:

Has the Bush Administrations efforts in Iraq made us safer from terrorism?
Minimum number of terrorist attacks likely carried out by al Qaeda and related groups since the U.S. invaded Iraq: 11
Minimum casualties caused by these attacks: 450
Number of international terrorist attacks reported by the National Counterterrorism Center in 2004: 651
Number of attacks reported by the State Department in 2003 (then reported to be the highest number in 21 years): 175
Number of Americans killed by international terrorism last year (not including U.S. troops fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan): 68
Iraq's rank among worldwide terrorist breeding grounds, according to the Central Intelligence Agency and the State Department: 1

Reading Blowback, by Chalmers Johnson, I'm wondering whether Representative Rangel has any further plans to promote his restore the Draft proposal.

Since we are now a society ruled by a military caste, mostly secretly, I am in favor of hearing more about the citizen-military proposal.

We will not be able to take back our country until we take back the Pentagon.

The only other path seems to be the one we're on: military dictatorship.

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