Wednesday, December 08, 2004

They're there -I'm not, but, , ,

I know it's from MyWay News, but doesn't this strike you as a bunch of crybabies?

Spc. Thomas Wilson had asked the defense secretary, "Why do we soldiers have to dig through local landfills for pieces of scrap metal and compromised ballistic glass to up-armor our vehicles?" Shouts of approval and applause arose from the estimated 2,300 soldiers who had assembled to see Rumsfeld.
Rumsfeld hesitated and asked Wilson to repeat his question.
"We do not have proper armored vehicles to carry with us north," Wilson, 31, of Nashville, Tenn., concluded after asking again.

U.S. soldiers and Marines in Iraq are killed or maimed by roadside bombs almost daily. Adding armor protection to Humvees and other vehicles that normally are not used in direct combat has been a priority for the Army, but manufacturers have not been able to keep up with the demand.

Wilson's ex-wife, Regina, said she was not surprised he challenged Rumsfeld. Ex? Because he shoots his mouth off?
"It wouldn't matter if it was Bush himself standing there," she said. "He would have dissed him the same."
Wilson joined the National Guard in June 2003; previously, he had served about four years in the Air Force, beginning in 1994. Ok, so the guy KNEW what he was getting into.

Wilson and others, however, had criticisms of their own - not of the war but of how it was being fought.
During the question-and-answer session, another soldier complained that active-duty Army units seem to get priority over National Guard and Reserve units for the best equipment used in Iraq. Crying about what other troops have is as old as armies are.
"There's no way I can prove it, but I am told the Army is breaking its neck to see that there is not" discrimination of that kind, Rumsfeld said.

Yet another soldier asked how much longer the Army would continue using its "stop loss" power to prevent soldiers from leaving the service who are otherwise eligible to retire or return to civilian life at the end of their enlistment. I didn't read the whole contract

Rumsfeld said this condition was simply a fact of life for soldiers in times of war. Critics, including some in Congress, say it's proof the Army has been stretched too thin by war.
"It's basically a sound principle, it's nothing new, it's been well understood" by soldiers, he said. "My guess is it will continue to be used as little as possible, but that it will continue to be used."

Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., told Rumsfeld in a letter Wednesday that his response to the question about armored vehicles was "utterly unacceptable" and that it was the duty of the government to provide safety equipment.
"Mr. Secretary, our troops go to war with the Army that our nation's leaders provide," he wrote.
I'd REALLY like to see Sen DODDs voting record on military spending.

At the Pentagon, spokesman Larry Di Rita said production of armored Humvees had increased from 15 to 450 a month since fall 2003, when commanders in Iraq started asking for them because of insurgents' heavy use of roadside explosives.

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