Not long ago, the U.S. military was in terrible shape. How do we know? Because people now in high places said so.
During the 2000 presidential campaign, George W. Bush said we had a “hollow military.” He stood behind Republican claims that the Clinton administration had allowed military readiness to decline to all-time lows. Vice presidential candidate Dick Cheney agreed: “Military readiness has reached its lowest level in modern times.” 1 Condoleezza Rice attacked nearly every aspect of Bill Clinton’s stewardship of the military (“extraordinary neglect . . . witless,” etc.). 2 And Colin Powell accused Clinton of “reducing spending so much that troops are underpaid, equipment is aging, and the U.S. can no longer support multiple missions around the world.” 3 So there it is: the armed forces that the new President’s team took over in 2001 were in deep trouble.