The Follies Of Fundraising

Weekly commentary by CBS Evening News chief Washington correspondent and Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer.

After General Tommy Franks invaded Iraq with a force so small he didn't even have enough troops to guard the ammunition dumps that Saddam Hussein abandoned, I questioned the strategy.

Sure, he was under pressure from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld who was determined to prove a small modern force could do what larger forces used to do.

But we don't hire our generals to rubber-stamp every idea their civilian bosses come up with. We hire them for their expertise on military matters, and Franks went along with a plan that violated the first rule of warfare: never invade unless you have an overwhelming advantage and a firm idea of what to do next.

Franks has since retired, but I have questions now that go far beyond his military expertise.

Congressional investigators have discovered he charged a professional fundraiser $100,000 to use his name to raise money for wounded soldiers.

Which leads me to ask: What kind of PERSON would insist, or even ALLOW himself, to be paid to raise money for those who were wounded while serving under him?

Franks says he severed his connection to the fundraiser when he realized most of the money he helped raise went to the fundraiser, not the troops. But doesn't he owe the troops a little more than that?

Here are two names he may want to add to his rolodex: The Walter Reed Society and the Yellow Ribbon Fund.

They are mostly volunteers and they'll see that whatever help he wants to give will get to those who need it - the troops - so many of whom served in his command.


E-mail Face the Nation.

By Bob Schieffer
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    Bob Schieffer is CBS News' chief Washington correspondent and anchor of Face the Nation.

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