"I stand by the (dollar) numbers," Wilson said. "I want to visit with the troops. That's a very important function of my job as a member of the military preparedness subcommittee. In my duties, I ought to know the individual concerns of troops and their families. That requires me to be with the troops on the ground.
It seems Wilson is ticking with that story - I had read a recent article by Roddie Burris of The State that covers claims by Wilson's opponent that Wilson's travels were not all for the military, but to junkets.
U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson said Democratic challenger Rob Miller’s charges that the Springdale Republican’s more than 40 overseas trips were junkets is the same as accusing U.S. combat troops of being on vacation.I thought it was interesting that Wilson claims all his travels were military related and then goes on to make a comment about body armor - I question the validity of that statement because I cannot figure out just why he would need body armor in France, Costa Rica, Greece, or Italy.
Wilson made his remarks Tuesday in an effort to insulate himself from Miller’s criticism of the GOP congressman’s travel, which has cost more than $100,000 since he was elected in 2001.
Wilson went to the Veterans Memorial on the State House grounds with nearly two dozen veterans to denounce the claims made by Miller, an Iraq war combat veteran.
Miller and Wilson are locked in the most expensive congressional race in U.S. history, having spent nearly $6 million with two weeks to go before the Nov. 2 election.
The race has narrowed, though the latest poll shows Wilson holding a seven-percentage-point lead.
In one ad, Miller accuses Wilson of taking congressional junkets to locales such as France, Costa Rica , Greece, and Italy.
Wilson said Tuesday the trips “were all military trips to support our troops in combat zones and to show respect for veterans. Every trip that I’ve been on has been to support our military. It’s been with the Foreign Affairs Committee to learn of how I can back up our efforts to make sure our troops are protected around the world.”
He added, “When you arrive in country and you are presented body armor, this is not a vacation. Obviously, I consider it an insult to me, it’s an insult to our troops. If I’m on vacation (visiting the troops) the implication is the troops are on vacation. They are not. They’re defending the families here at home, by defeating the terrorists overseas.”
From what I have read, there are no American military bases in Costa Rica, France, or Greece, so it is unclear just what kind of support role Wilson played in those instances.
I only bring this up because of the constant right-wing attacks made against Democrat Nancy Pelosi and her military travels - I am not stating that I agree with both Pelosi's and Wilson's travels but I just wanted to point out the hypocrisy.