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And slashing funds at home

Page 2 of 2 -- If reelected, Bush would take back $1.5 billion of the $1.7 billion of proposed discretionary funding for the Education Department. He would cut the Women, Infants, and Children nutrition program by $122 million. He would cut the Environmental Protection Agency by 2.6 percent and the Interior Department by 1.9 percent. Bush is blowing a hole so big in the budget with his bombs that he cannot even adequately fund his second-most important stated priority. This year Bush celebrated the first anniversary of the office of homeland security by saying: "From the president to the secretary to the newest employee, all of us here are tasked with a single, vital mission: to secure the American homeland and to protect the American people. There is no duty more important."

Yet Bush would take back $1 billion from homeland security, dropping it to $29.6 billion. Is it possible that Bush is now so maddened by his fixation on quelling the chaos in Iraq that he would risk reopening holes in our security at home?

What is maddening is that The Washington Post story of the memo comes just as domestic program officials are running around the country touting programs for police and health care that Bush has proposed to kill, either in the past or for 2005.

White House officials, in response to the Post story, say do not worry, it is only a guide. The fact that the White House has already received $166 billion for Iraq, a total that is likely to soar to over $200 billion before the end of next year (equal to half the total budget for domestic programs), means there is plenty to worry about. The May 19 memo means that children, mothers, veterans, would-be homeowners, and ironically even those trying to protect us from the next terrorist attack will pay for Bush's disastrous Iraq policy and tax cuts to the wealthy.

Bush has staked his presidency on his "clarity." The clarity of the details this far before the election make it a certainty what will happen if Bush is reelected.

He began his presidency claiming to be compassionate conservative. The May 19 memo marks the end of any pretense of compassion.

Derrick Z. Jackson's e-mail address is jackson@globe.com. 

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