December 11, 2004
A Soldier's Question: UpdateThe shrills from the right threw a fit when it was revealed that a reporter from Tennessee embedded with the troops helped Army Spc. Wilson formulate his question to Donald Rumsfeld, charging that the question was "planted".
Why does it matter where the question came from? It's a life or death concern that deserves an immediate answer. I suggest they stop doing our soldiers a disservice and start focusing on what's relevant.
Because of the resulting uproar, the Army has boosted the order of armored vehicles by 100 units to a total of 550, even though Mr. Rumsfeld said the shortage was a "matter of physics" and more production isn't possible. Care to explain yourself, Mr. Secretary?
Though the order has been placed, Armor Holdings says it can't reach the higher level of production until February or March. The late order has caused a delay in production which is a delay our soldiers can't afford. One 2,200-man unit alone is hit with 2 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) every day, with an average of 4 discovered daily. Why did it take this long to place that order for more armored vehicles?
Meanwhile, another manufacturer revealed they are waiting for more orders:
Former Republican congressman Matt Salmon of Arizona, a spokesman for ArmorWorks in Tempe, Ariz., said his company will finish a $30 million contract with the Pentagon this month to make 1,500 armor kits for Humvees. “We are at 50% capacity, and we could do a lot more,” he said. “They are aware of it.”Why didn't the Pentagon order more kits in addition to the armored vehicles when the kits would take less time to produce and can be installed instead of the scrap metal that soldiers are forced to dig up to protect themselves?
If the news media has any modicum of self respect they would press for answers to these questions.
Meanwhile, soldiers and Marines continue to die: 1,286 as of yesterday, with almost 9,800 injured. Of those injured, twice as many required amputations compared to previous wars, and about 20% suffered head and neck injuries so severe it would require a liftetime of care.
House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi asked a relevant question: any decent CEO would have fired a bad manager a long time ago; why is Rumsfeld still in office?
Care to explain yourself, Mr. President?
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