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Author Topic: Rummy gets hammered
Adam Masterman
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Just heard this on the radio, so I don't have a link, but I heard the actual sound clip, so its legit (assuming you trust me). Anyway, Rumsfeld was in Kuwait giving a pep talk to the troops, and he got his rear end chewed out by a soldier complaining about the lack of armored vehicles. The guy said that they were picking through blown up scrap metal to find something to weld to their vehicles, which they were then suppossed to drive into combat. To me there seemed to be real anger in his voice, and I am astounded that the usually media savvy administration didn't prevent this rare moment of candor. I am beyond thinking that shame will make Rumsfeld do his job right, but maybe this will generate some public pressure. If anyone finds a story, please link it here.
Adam

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Zyne
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Here's a link to CNN's coverage:
http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/meast/12/08/rumsfeld.troops.ap/index.html

quote:
Army Spc. Thomas Wilson, for example, of the 278th Regimental Combat Team that is comprised mainly of citizen soldiers of the Tennessee Army National Guard, asked Rumsfeld in a question-and-answer session why vehicle armor is still in short supply, nearly three years after the war in Iraq.

"Why do we soldiers have to dig through local landfills for pieces of scrap metal and compromised ballistic glass to uparmor our vehicles?" Wilson asked. A big cheer arose from the approximately 2,300 soldiers in the cavernous hangar who assembled to see and hear the secretary of defense.

Rumsfeld hesitated and asked Wilson to repeat his question.

"We do not have proper armored vehicles to carry with us north," Wilson said after asking again.



[ December 08, 2004, 12:37 PM: Message edited by: Zyne ]

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ed
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i was able to find this, which paints a somewhat starker picture.

ed

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Adam Masterman
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Thanks for the links, this seems to be bigger than I had thought. Good. At a time when standing up for the troops (their rights to adequate equipment and finite tours of duty) is paradoxically seen as not supporting them, it seems that, unfortunately, they have to stand up for themselves.
Adam

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ed
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incidentally, foxnews is also covering this, but running the AP article linked in my previous post.

ed

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RickyB
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Why? Because dear old "Rummy" insisted on doing it his way. Because he only looked as far as conquest, not far enough to envision occupation. Because he was gonna teach everybody how to do it right.

We focking KNOW why. And for this almost unparalleled display of arrogant incompetence, the fockwad was rewarded by our "visionary" CiC with a second term in office.

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ATW
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This was a concern from before the war started.

Congress decided which vehicles and weapons programs the military gets and they often have other agendas than military efficiency.

I post in several forums and several people here know me from them. Anyone remember where I posted the story on the unarmored armored vehicle the army was stuck with?

It was an close support combat vehicle. It had tires instead of treads, had no armor that would stop a RPG, and could be penetrated by sustained automatic weapons fire.

It was supposed to be a cheaper replacement for the Bradley though I don't know how it was supposed to fight with its gunner on top in an exposed position.

The Bush administration was trying to retrofit them with a metal mesh cage that would deflect RPG's before impact. But the weight of the vehicle was so much that it could barely go off-road before. With the additional cage, it'd probably not be able to travel except on roads.

Last I heard about them was before the invasion when they were holding out those vehicles until they could be used in pacified areas.

=====

Any adminstration is at the mercy of how effectively previous congresses and administrations armed the military.

As I was listening to this on the radio this morning, they were relating that Rumsfeld told the questioner that 400 vehicles a month were having their armor upgraded and that it takes time.

========

Nothing happens fast.

The military has to figure out if and how the vehicles can be up-armored.

Once that happens, they have to go back to congress and get them to debate, modify, and hopefully approve funding for the project.

Then there has to be months of competitive bidding time because if just they award the contract to someone for the sake of getting it to the troops who need it, they'll get raked over the coals for cutting sweet-heart deals.

Once some company wins the bid, they have to manufacture the stuff. Its not like they already have thousands of pieces of armor the correct size laying around in their warehouse.

Then as the armor gets made, its being shipped to Iraq and installed on vehicles.

For this particular project, I don't remember any post 9-11 big patriotic political push to retrofit armor on vehicles. Afghanistan didn't need the sheer numbers of armored vehicles as Iraq.

So if I'd have to guess, I'd think the congressional OK for the retrofit was part of the pre-war appropriations or from one of the several post-invasion funding bills.

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ed
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sorry ATW but i can't find the relevant post. it's possible it was nuked.

ed

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ATW
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Gee, I wonder who could have done that? [Wink]

Thanks for looking.

[ December 08, 2004, 02:34 PM: Message edited by: ATW ]

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Dan Allen
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From further down in the CNN article:
quote:
[deputy commanding general of U.S. forces in Kuwait, Maj. Gen. Gary] Speer said he was not aware that soldiers were searching landfills for scrap mental and used bulletproof glass.
Another aspect of the problem is that the units themselves are not properly reporting their requirements up the chain.

Also, Rumsfeld was arguing for fairly drastic structural changes in the military from day one, and was(is) developing a model for this - but then 9/11 happened...

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Star Pilot 111
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When asked about the armor, Rumsfeld's reply was,
"You go to war with the Army you have, not the Army you might want or wish to have."

Hmmmm

It's seems to me he's admitting we weren't as equipped as we should have been, and it was more important to good to war than to protect our soldiers.

That crap about it being congresses fault, for sending them into combat without enough armor, is B.S. The fact remains that all the civilian, military wanna-bes in the Bush house couldn't wait to go to war. They did not and still don't care about the men and women in the trenches, as much as they care about themselves.

Every day we hear and see statements that prove we are under manned, in Iraq. They are extending duty for soldiers, who are worn out, and who legally should be sent home because they served their required combat time. They are ordering inactive reservists to return to service, and minimally train them, (some of them as old as 57) so they can be sent to Iraq. The Bush Heads are destroying the moral of the troops, by these actions. Each day we hear of more soldiers questioning these actions.

We went to war when we weren't prepared, and our, so called, leaders (civilian), while trying to fix the problems, with band-aids and B.S.,are embarrassing the U.S.

Open your eyes. This presidency, and it's policies, will go down in history as being the worst. It doesn't matter if over 50 percent of the people (who voted) voted for him. These guys won, by using Madison Avenue P.R. tactics, and smoke and mirrors. [Eek!]

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aupton15
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I actually heard some of the interaction on NPR today. Rumsfeld sounded a lot more coherent and less impatient than he normally does. He actually handled the question really well...I just hope the situation gets handled with the same efficiency. [Smile]
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TomDavidson
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"it was more important to good to war than to protect our soldiers."

While I'm not a huge fan of our rush to war, I should point out that if it ever becomes necessary for us to go to war, it is ALWAYS more important for us to go to war than to protect our soldiers. The quibble here is over how unnecessary it is -- and by my lights, we should never go to war in the first place unless it's fairly necessary, so YMMV. Optional wars, wars in which we care more about keeping our soldiers alive than achieving necessary objectives worth the loss of American lives, are not in my opinion wars we should bother fighting in the first place.

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Sancselfieme
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Iraq was most definately an optional war.
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LoverOfJoy
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Of course if we went to war sooner we might have found out what Iraq was transporting over to Syria and confiscated it, if necessary. [Wink]
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stayne
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quote:
Thanks for the links, this seems to be bigger than I had thought. Good. At a time when standing up for the troops (their rights to adequate equipment and finite tours of duty) is paradoxically seen as not supporting them, it seems that, unfortunately, they have to stand up for themselves.
Bear in mind, as surprising as this may be for some, IME in the military, this always seemed to be the case, and I served under _Reagan_. As ATW notes, fund allocations and dispensations seem to require acts of God at times. Actually, I think even God would get fed up with trying to run a request chit through the chain of command and resort to miracles to get what he needed.

I remember prior to the first Gulf war, when the Iranians were mining the Gulf, my own ship and any number of others were put into port for weeks or even months, because there was not enough fuel oil for the fleet. I remember many times cannibalizing one piece of equipment to repair another, because spare parts were not available. I remember paychecks being either late or being really worried they _would_ be late (can't recall if they actually were late or not) because of congressional battles about the budget.

This is just one more round of guns versus butter, IMO. One could blame either or both parties. You could bitch at Republicans for cutting taxes instead of allocating the money to the military. But you could also bitch at the Democrats for not cutting domestic spending to get what was needed, too. And no matter how much you bitch, it won't fix anything, because both sides are convinced that their own spending is necessary, and the other's is frivolous. No matter what, there _will_ be compromises, and the military, just like any government program, will have to make do with what it gets.

Another reason this happens is that the military is actively discouraged from keeping any reserve of money to purchase things they need on a moments notice, due to the aforementioned guns vs butter wars. Basically, if they have money left over from the year before, this fact will be used to argue that they didn't need so much money, and their budget will be cut the following year. So they spend all they have. Maybe they make the right call and buy just what they were going to need. Maybe they don't, and the need arises and they have to borrow money from next years budget, and you can just imagine how well that flies with congress. Meanwhile, it's anybody's guess whether the stuff they already bought is obsolete, or impractical to keep stored, or was sold off at a loss because some outraged citizen discovered the military was warehousing a hundred thousand toilets, etc.

They also end up screwed for prices a lot, because they have to purchase equipment that meets certain specs that may or may not have any relationship to reality, and thus has to be custom manufactured. Such was the case with the infamous $700 toilet seats. The specs made them cost that much, because they had to meet requirements for gear on a fighter plane (not give of toxic fumes if burned, CBR compliant, etc.)

Because of how things work, there will always be chinks in the armor, so to speak, and the enemy will search out your weaknesses and exploit them as best he can. You can't have a perfect plan because there is an intelligent and determined opponant who is doing his best to screw things up for you.

IMO, this is not a problem that can ever really be solved, only addressed as quickly as possible. It's not anyone's fault, really, not Clinton or Bush, or their respective administrations. (I mention Clinton because someone is bound to claim it was because he 'dismantled the military' during his term.)

Well, perhaps more honestly, it is all our faults, if one even goes so far as to assign fault. In thinking about it, I am not sure how it could be made better, short of a blanket rule in congress that the military gets everything it asks for off the top, and everything that's left can be faught over, and that's a bad idea, too, IMO. But I can think of how it can be made worse. Be careful if you're thinking of using it as a political football, because that's the root source of the problem. More partisan infighting results in even more obstinate behavior on both sides. The _best_ way to help our troops is to demand that congress do what is necessary to address current deficiencies, and recognize there is a reason that SNAFU is a military turn of phrase.

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ATW
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quote:
Originally posted by Star Pilot 111:


That crap about it being congresses fault, for sending them into combat without enough armor, is B.S.

Well, *somebody* buys the equipment for the military and this question is about their equipment.

Of the vehicles in question, only one of them is mentioned by name in an article, the Humvee.

http://www.amgeneral.com/corporate_history.php/amSid/e1087a32a2f85977df0e408b92c976c5

"In March 1983, AM General won an initial $1.2 billion contract to produce 55,000 Humvees to be delivered in five basic models and 15 different configurations over a five-year period. The Army subsequently increased their order with over 15,000 additional vehicles, raising the total contract order to 70,000 Humvees valued at $1.6 billion."


So the Humvee had been in the military for 17 years before the Bush administration ever came into office.

That's 17 annual budgets, hundreds of votes about the military in congress, hundreds of military committee meetings in congress, 6 secretaries of defense, and three presidents involved before Bush ever took office.

I find it straining credibility to blame Bush or Rumsfeld for Humvees not having armor. They were authorized to be built, purchased, and put into use with everyone involved knowing they were without armor long before Bush started his political career.

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Star Pilot 111
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quote T D
..if it ever becomes necessary for us to go to war, it is ALWAYS more important for us to go to war than to protect our soldiers.
_________________________________________________

Correct, but it wasn't necessary to attack Iraq. And it wasn't necessary to do it as soon as we did.

________________________________________________
quote T D
I find it straining credibility to blame Bush or Rumsfeld for Humvees not having armor.
________________________________________________

If Bush and Rummy were on the Iraqi battle field, it's a sure bet, they would get the armor first and then go to war. [Smile]

______________________________________________
quote T D
15,000 additional vehicles, raising the total contract order to 70,000 Humvees valued at $1.6 billion."
_______________________________________________

All those figures don't mean a thing, when your life is on the line.

It's unfortunate but true, that in politics, corporate life, and among most of the wealthy, there is an arrogance and a feeling of superiority and entitlement, that causes them to believe, their goals are more important than the condition of the lives of the people they use to accomplish their goals. They are too detached from the lower rung of the human condition, and don't have a clue.

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ATW
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quote:
Originally posted by Star Pilot 111:


All those figures don't mean a thing, when your life is on the line.


It means someone bought vehicles which won't protect your life when its on the line. That's the very heart of the problem.
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The Drake
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It is also true that your equipment can never be perfect for all conditions. The Humvees were designed for expected battlefield conditions, not including an extended occupation.

I suspect, though I don't have time to do the research to back it up, that there were several factors that argued in favor of lighter vehicles.

1) Mobility - ability to deploy by air argues for lighter vehicles (rapid response).

2) Humvees are not supposed to be front-line vehicles. Tanks and APCs are supposed to be ahead of the Humvees.

3) Acceleration and maneuverability. The heavier the vehicle, the slower to accelerate, and the harder to turn. As an earlier poster mentioned, heavier armor also means more likely to get stuck.

4) Humvees are not designed to bear the brunt of mines, because there are dedicated engineering battalions to sweep mines ahead of lightly armored vehicles.

Does any of this mean that there SHOULDN'T be a more armor for patrol vehicles in the current operations? Hell no. There should be, clearly.

Or, more accurately, the Humvees shouldn't be patrolling. There should be battle tanks and APCs rumbling down those streets. That's if you want to go with maximum safety. Of course, you're going to get some foot traffic caught up in those treads, and that's a shame. Also, when attacked, the tank will be responding with depleted uranium shells - which some might call an overreaction to an IED. Better yet, why roll anything into a city that can be reduced to rubble by aerial weapons systems?

We are trying to do the right thing, at least in some small way, and the US Army is getting forced into the role of police. Nobody was designing this stuff for that. I agree that it's not very comforting when you're the guy on patrol.

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Dan Allen
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Ever driven an M1 Jeep? No armor, no real way of putting armor on it, and the Humvee's immediate predecessor (I'm purposely not counting the chevy blazer, because it was never intended as a combat vehicle.) The reason the original Hummer wasn't armored is because it wasn't necessary under the expected 'rules' of combat at the time. Armor wasn't needed during GW1 because IED's were not a problem.
You fight the battle you plan for; the plan will never survive initial contact with the enemy.

Something else that occurred to me. The soldiers reportedly scavaging for armor may not be doing so to armor up their vehicles per Army guidelines, instead they are trying to improve the armor they already have even more. "If one's enough, more's better" is a very strong guiding philosophy within the military - particularly in the lower ranks, where the rubber hits the road.

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Ivan
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Not to sidetrack the thread, but am I the only one who wishes this was a thread about Rummy getting reallllllly drunk at a press conference or something? [Big Grin]
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ed
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funny thing, ivan: i was half-expecting somebody would have made some kinda dig at the bush girls by now.

interestingly, here's a follow-up to the original story. the producer of humvee armor says they could increase output 22% without any adaptation if so requested but no such request has been made to date.

ed

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Daruma28
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Interesting to note that you have seen almost no reporting whatsoever of the most relevant part of Rumsfeld's response to the question.....the media seems to have purposely done a "Michael Mooronification" of the quote to make Rumsfeld seem at a loss for words with egg on his face - that's at least what I got from seeing it on the news and hearing it on the radio news...

His full answer seems to be a pretty good answer and explanation -- of course I'm quite sure this won't change the view of partisans that hate Rummy/Bush and have already made up their minds. Kind of like the title for this thread. From the soundbytes from yesterdays media reports, it certainly seems like Rumsfeld got "Hammered." I think the entire transcript reveals a little bit different experience occurred than what has been widely reported.

Take a look at the whole transcript:

Q: Yes, Mr. Secretary. My question is more logistical. Weve had troops in Iraq for coming up on three years and weve always staged here out of Kuwait. Now why do we soldiers have to dig through local landfills for pieces of scrap metal and compromise ballistic glass to up-armor our vehicles and why dont we have those resources readily available to us? [Applause]

SEC. RUMSFELD: I missed the first part of your question. And could you repeat it for me?

Q: Yes, Mr. Secretary. Our soldiers have been fighting in Iraq for coming up on three years. A lot of us are getting ready to move north relatively soon. Our vehicles are not armored. Were digging pieces of rusted scrap metal and compromised ballistic glass thats already been shot up, dropped, busted, picking the best out of this scrap to put on our vehicles to take into combat. We do not have proper armament vehicles to carry with us north.

SEC. RUMSFELD: I talked to the General coming out here about the pace at which the vehicles are being armored. They have been brought from all over the world, wherever theyre not needed, to a place here where they are needed. Im told that they are being the Army is I think its something like 400 a month are being done. And its essentially a matter of physics. It isnt a matter of money. It isnt a matter on the part of the Army of desire. Its a matter of production and capability of doing it.

As you know, you go to war with the Army you have. Theyre not the Army you might want or wish to have at a later time. Since the Iraq conflict began, the Army has been pressing ahead to produce the armor necessary at a rate that they believe its a greatly expanded rate from what existed previously, but a rate that they believe is the rate that is all that can be accomplished at this moment.

I can assure you that General Schoomaker and the leadership in the Army and certainly General Whitcomb are sensitive to the fact that not every vehicle has the degree of armor that would be desirable for it to have, but that theyre working at it at a good clip. Its interesting, Ive talked a great deal about this with a team of people whove been working on it hard at the Pentagon. And if you think about it, you can have all the armor in the world on a tank and a tank can be blown up. And you can have an up-armored humvee and it can be blown up. And you can go down and, the vehicle, the goal we have is to have as many of those vehicles as is humanly possible with the appropriate level of armor available for the troops. And that is what the Army has been working on.

And General Whitcomb, is there anything youd want to add to that?

GEN. WHITCOMB: Nothing. [Laughter] Mr. Secretary, Id be happy to. That is a focus on what we do here in Kuwait and what is done up in the theater, both in Iraq and also in Afghanistan. As the secretary has said, its not a matter of money or desire; it is a matter of the logistics of being able to produce it. The 699th, the team that weve got here in Kuwait has done [Cheers] a tremendous effort to take that steel that they have and cut it, prefab it and put it on vehicles. But there is nobody from the president on down that is not aware that this is a challenge for us and this is a desire for us to accomplish.

SEC. RUMSFELD: The other day, after there was a big threat alert in Washington, D.C. in connection with the elections, as I recall, I looked outside the Pentagon and there were six or eight up-armored humvees. Theyre not there anymore. [Cheers] [Applause] Theyre en route out here, I can assure you.

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musket
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quote:
As you know, you go to war with the Army you have. Theyre not the Army you might want or wish to have at a later time. Since the Iraq conflict began, the Army has been pressing ahead to produce the armor necessary at a rate that they believe its a greatly expanded rate from what existed previously, but a rate that they believe is the rate that is all that can be accomplished at this moment.
Aside from the usual mangled English, love the way he implies that the Iraq conflict just "began," as though he had nothing to do with it.
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Daruma28
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Here's an email the Instapundit recieved from a soldier who was their at the press conference:

quote:
I was very surprised when we were told there would be the opportunity to ask questions without first having them screened. I would have assumed there would have been some process where those who had questions submitted them prior to asking the Secretary, and had them approved. Instead, everyone in the room was given the option to stand, motion for one of the soldiers holding a microphone, and ask anything they desired. There was no particular order of what kind of questions were asked and the soldiers who asked questions ranged in rank from Specialists to Lieutenant Colonels. When I say I was surprised that this part of the event was not micromanaged, I want to ensure you that I was pleasantly surprised. In my opinion, it shows the attitude that this Secretary has towards the soldiers he is sworn to represent. It shows those in uniform that he does not see us or our concerns as "below his level," but instead sends a signal that we are his concern, and ensuring we can accomplish the mission is his highest priority.

One more thing I would like to add is this, not one soldier present asked questions about why we were here, or expressed the sort of anti-war sentiment that Michael Moore led some to believe was prevalent in the military. Rather, the concern was about ensuring we would be supplied with all necessary equipment to accomplish the mission and return home safely. Let there be no doubt, this was not a hostile crowd eager to catch the Secretary of Defense off guard by grilling him with questions he has never had to answer.

That last part in bold was most definitely the impression the mainstream media intended to convey with their reporting/editing.

[ December 09, 2004, 05:30 PM: Message edited by: Daruma28 ]

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aupton15
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I think you're right in this case Daruma. But I want to stick up for NPR on this one. They played the whole question and the whole answer on the radio. They didn't cut to the one line where Rumsfeld said something like "You go to war with the army you have." Maybe NPR really is liberal, but they did the best job of reporting this story of any source I saw.
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ATW
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http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/printstory.mpl/world/2940661

excerpt:

A reporter traveling with a National Guard unit prodded one of its soldiers to ask Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld about the lack of armor for some U.S. military vehicles in Iraq, an exchange that made worldwide news Wednesday when the assembled troops cheered the question.

Edward Lee Pitts of the Chattanooga Times Free Press told colleagues in an e-mail that he and members of the Tennessee Army National Guard now in Kuwait "worked on questions to ask Rumsfeld about the appalling lack of armor" and that Spc. Thomas Wilson posed the question at his request.

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ed
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your point being...? if the other soldiers present cheered at the question being asked, it's obviously an issue that weighs on their minds.

ed

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Sancselfieme
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Well, they must have forgot to screen that crowd of soldiers with the Bush loyalty oath.
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DonaldD
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quote:
A reporter traveling with a National Guard unit prodded one of its soldiers to ask Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld about...

Edward Lee Pitts ... told colleagues in an e-mail that he and members of [the ANG] now in Kuwait "worked on questions to ask Rumsfeld about the appalling lack of armor"

Hmmm... a collaborative effort between several people turned into one person "prodding" another... more evidence of conservative bias in the media? [Razz]
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LoverOfJoy
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I can just see the reporter screening the soldiers.

"I'm doing a report on how democrat soldiers feel about the war...any volunteers"

"Ok guys, Rumsfeld is coming, let's come up with some good gotcha questions."

"Oooh, here's a good one. Now the rest you of cheer real loud when he mentions this one."

[Big Grin]

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RickyB
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It's terrible, all these gotcha questions. So a buncha soldiers died because Rummy insisted he could do war on the cheap. Big deal.

"You go to war with what you have" - and if you had a year or more to prepare, and were under no threat compelling you do go to war when you did? So what.

As for Democrat soldiers - I thought the military was overwhlemingly Republican, no?

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foliated
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well, I looked over the entire transcript of the session which can be found here:

http://www.dod.mil/transcripts/2004/tr20041208-secdef1761.html

Does anyone know where to find streaming video of all this? There's a difference between reading a play and watching it, after all...

Rumsfeld's responses struck me more as an attempt to sound commiserating. Usually his responses in the transcript could be boiled down to "yes, you guys have it tough. Yes, we're proud of you. Yes, we're doing all we can to help you. No, we're not going to change our policy." So in the end, nothing really got changed, except when the lt. col's question about his soldiers' extra pay. And that is really a minor issue, one more of enforcing existing policy rather than changing it.

But there probably is a morale benefit to have the soldiers able to air their concerns openly, especially just before going into battle, which a lot of these soldiers seem to be. If there are soldiers refusing to go into battle because their armor is not good enough, it probably does affect everyone else's morale. And I think morale is why they did this thing in the first place. Notice that Rumsfeld says before he takes questions that he is expecting tough ones. He's inviting exactly the open airing of grievances that ensued.

But he never promised to change anything, though.

The point of the above is this. Do you think having the media play up the "rummy gets hammered" angle may actually help the troops rather than hurt them? I'm thinking at least the troops who were there got to air the dirty laundry, and got to see a higher up at the white house commiserate, and yes, maybe squirm a little bit in front of them. And soldiers not in the audience who are also about to go into war (or are already fighting) with less-than-ideal support nevertheless hear that Rumsfeld got an earful from the soldiers about it, and had to try to explain himself...

Wittingly or unwittingly, is the media actually helping rather than hindering the administration's aims on this one? And notice, too, that the military is playing up the "tough questions for Rumsfeld to answer" angle:

http://www.stripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article=25928

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ATW
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quote:
Originally posted by ed:
your point being...? if the other soldiers present cheered at the question being asked, it's obviously an issue that weighs on their minds.

ed

A reporter should have been able to do his own research and figure out what's going on rather than scheming to grab a headline. If nothing else, being aware of the congressional testimony on the issue from over the previous months.

http://www.worldtribune.com/worldtribune/breaking_10.html

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Lewkowski
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In all fairness to Rummy... it wasn't "Oh its less expensive if we don't put armor playing on our viechals" Its more like they never thought it was going to be a problem.

Why you ask? Because Rummy and many people didn't expect the insurgency. When people were claiming Iraq was going to be a horrible war, they weren't saying Saddam would fall lickity split and then other terrorists would come in.

Mistakes happened. It happens in every war. The important thing is steps are being taken to corret the oversight.

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Sancselfieme
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quote:
Why you ask? Because Rummy and many people didn't expect the insurgency.
Then they are fools and too imcompetant to be trusted with governance. Plenty of military experts, analysts and even former government officials foresaw the insurgency, the backlash, and even warned the Bush administration. Colin Powell ring a bell?

[ December 11, 2004, 05:36 AM: Message edited by: Sancselfieme ]

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RickyB
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Lew, I suggest you look up the word "contingency".
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David Ricardo
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http://www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?i=express&s=scoblic121004

quote:
It took only a few sentences on Wednesday for Donald Rumsfeld to demonstrate why he is both morally and strategically unfit to serve as secretary of defense. In a townhall-style meeting at a staging area in Kuwait, Rumsfeld was asked by Specialist Thomas Wilson of the Tennessee National Guard why soldiers were forced "to dig through local landfills for pieces of scrap metal and compromised ballistic [i.e., bulletproof] glass to uparmor our vehicles?" There was a short pause, and then many of the 2,300 troops in attendance erupted in cheers and applause. Faced with soldiers asking for the bare minimum from their leadership--the tools with which to do their jobs--Rumsfeld managed to be at once callous, self-deluding, and dishonest.

"[I]f you think about it," he said, "you can have all the armor in the world on a tank and a tank can [still] be blown up. And you can have an up-armored Humvee and it can be blown up." The sheer condescension of the reply was breath-taking. If you think about it? One imagines that Specialist Wilson has thought quite a bit about being blown up--and the other dozens of ways he might be killed in Iraq. And what exactly was Rumsfeld suggesting, anyway? That Wilson simply adopt a more philosophical attitude toward combat? That he turn to the old AA prayer and ask God for the serenity to accept the things he cannot change? Perhaps Rumsfeld could suggest that troops begin patrolling without helmets. After all, you can wear your helmet until the end of time--and still get shot in the chest.

But more astounding was Rumsfeld's contention that "[y]ou go to war with the Army you have, not the Army you might want or wish to have at a later time." Astounding because, of course, the United States did not go to war with the army it had; it went to war with a mere fraction of the army it had (nor, for that matter, was there any reason it could not have gone to war "at a later time"--even the administration's most dire predictions of Saddam's capabilities did not demand action in March 2003). In fact, invading Iraq with a light force (or, on the cheap, to put it less charitably) reflected the central thrust of the Rumsfeld doctrine--a drive to transform the U.S. military to a smaller, more mobile force less dependent on heavy, cold war-era equipment. The success in toppling the Taliban using only a few hundred special operations and CIA forces in late 2001 only cemented for Rumsfeld that what the military had was not necessarily what it needed.

So when, in late November 2001, General Tommy Franks, then head of Central Command, first briefed Rumsfeld on the existing war plan for Iraq, which called for the use of 500,000 troops following a seven-month buildup, the defense secretary scoffed and sent Franks back to the drawing board. Deploying half a million troops, after all, would have effectively relaunched Desert Storm, a conflict modeled on the Powell Doctrine and its demand for decisive force. But as Bob Woodward reports in Plan of Attack, Rumsfeld believed that such a traditional approach was too risk-averse, resulting in the addition of needless troops and time to any plan. Instead, the defense secretary argued that the Pentagon needed to embrace more risk, not less. In this, he had allies who floated radical war plans. His deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, suggested using only about 10,000 troops to establish an enclave in Iraq from which Saddam could be overthrown; and Rumsfeld was, at least briefly, impressed by the thinking of Colonel Douglas MacGregor, who believed the Iraqi regime could be toppled with 50,000 men. Facing intense pressure from the secretary to devise a plan with a smaller ground component, Franks's estimates shrank and shrank again. The next iteration of the plan Franks presented to Rumsfeld called for fielding 400,000 troops over six months. By January 2002, invading Iraq required only 245,000. Ten months into the planning process, the number was down to 140,000.

Reducing the number of troops deployed was not the only change Rumsfeld made. In April 2003, Seymour Hersh reported in The New Yorker that the defense secretary removed the original war plan's call for hundreds of tanks and other armored vehicles to be sent to the region before the invasion; instead, he wanted to rely on the far smaller number of heavy vehicles that had been pre-positioned in Kuwait. This rubbed many the wrong way. According to Hersh, "In the months leading up to the war, a split developed inside the military, with the planners and their immediate superiors warning that the war plan was dangerously thin on troops and materiel." But Rumsfeld was unconcerned. In fact, he was willing to give up not only troops and equipment, but an entire military front. In early March 2003, just weeks before the invasion, when Turkey unexpectedly told the Pentagon that it would not allow the 4th Infantry Division to pass through its territory, Rumsfeld decided to launch the war without a northern front--or the 4th Infantry. In other words, he very consciously, and quite literally, decided to go to war without the army we have.

Rumsfeld chose to do this not only because he believed the military could tolerate greater risk, but because, like many hawks, he thought his critics overstated the difficulty of invading Iraq. He assumed that Americans would be welcomed as liberators and that post-invasion Iraq would remain relatively stable--despite the fact that U.S. intelligence agencies and the State Department warned of the opposite. In fact, following the invasion, the situation rapidly came unglued, and it quickly became clear that the United States did not have enough troops to guard the border, watch over government buildings, protect weapons depots, or even secure supposed WMD sites. Baghdad was so unstable after its fall on April 9 that retired General Jay Garner, who was initially placed in charge of reconstruction, couldn't enter the city for almost two weeks.

That initial instability, and indeed many of the most egregious problems the United States has subsequently faced in Iraq, can be traced to the early lack of troops. Though today's insurgency obviously has many causes, it was the immediate post-invasion looting that firmly established the break between the order of the Saddam regime and the chaos of the American occupation. As former Iraq proconsul Paul Bremer said October 4, "We paid a big price for not stopping it because it established an atmosphere of lawlessness." That atmosphere of lawlessness in turn drove U.S. attention from reconstruction to antiterrorism activity. The lack of security and basic public services fueled Iraqi resentment against the Americans, providing fertile ground for radical groups and preventing us from smothering the insurgency in its cradle. Even the Abu Ghraib scandal can be traced in part to the lack of troops. As the Rumsfeld-appointed commission headed by James Schlesinger noted in its August report, the lack of translators with Army patrols meant that U.S. soldiers arrested anyone they considered suspicious, flooding the prisons, which, because of a lack of military police, were ill-equipped to manage the detainees. Concluded Bremer in a different speech, "The single most important change--the one thing that would have improved the situation--would have been having more troops in Iraq at the beginning and throughout" the occupation.

Rumsfeld's faulty assumptions about the occupation left troops haphazardly deployed without sufficient equipment well before Wilson asked his provocative question. The Washington Post has reported that Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, at the time the commander of Iraq forces, had written the Pentagon in December 2003, after a particularly fierce period of counterinsurgency fighting, to complain that his units were "struggling just to maintain ... relatively low readiness rates" on their M-1 Abrams tanks, Bradley fighting vehicles, anti-mortar radars, and Black Hawk helicopters. He further noted that 36,000 soldiers still needed protective ceramic inserts for their body armor. The problem was not solved. This spring there were press reports of soldiers buying their own body armor before deploying to Iraq, and in October members of the 343rd Quartermaster Company actually refused orders to drive a fuel shipment from near Nasiriya to a town north of Baghdad because their trucks were not armored and they did not have an armed escort.

On Wednesday, Rumsfeld assured the troops he spoke to in Kuwait that everything possible was being done to get them the armor and equipment they need--that only the logistical hurdles of producing and shipping the materiel stand in the way. But it should never have come to this. With the senior military, the intelligence agencies, and the State Department all concerned about postwar instability, Rumsfeld's assumptions never should have made it out of the E-Ring. And, in an elective war with little cost to delay, there's no reason that troops should have been sent to Iraq without an overabundance of equipment. The war Rumsfeld planned has gone grievously wrong, yet he has lacked the introspection to understand his mistakes. And confronted with those mistakes by one of the men who may die for them, he lacked the humility and courage to acknowledge them. One can only hope his doctrine winds up with the scrap metal and compromised ballistic glass--buried in a landfill somewhere in the Gulf.


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David Ricardo
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http://www.redtailcanyon.com/items/39610.aspx

quote:
A decade ago, the Army began producing an armored Humvee capable of providing protection from many roadside bombs and rocket-propelled grenades. Like most soldiers in Iraq, Capt. Cameron Birge hasn't set foot in one of those vehicles. Instead, he leads convoys through one of the country's most violent regions in a Humvee -- the modern successor to the Jeep -- with a sheet-metal skin that can't even stop bullets from a small-caliber handgun. To shield himself, Capt. Birge removed his Humvee's canvas doors and welded on slabs of scrap metal. He spread Kevlar blankets over the seats and stacked sandbags on the floor. On the eve of the war in Iraq, just 2% of the Army's world-wide fleet of 110,000 Humvees were armored, and the Army was planning to cut back its purchases. As late as last May, the Army saw little need for the armored Humvee, saying it needed only 235 of them in Iraq. Only in October, with its soldiers under daily attack, did the Army decide it needed 3,100 armored Humvees. Today, the requirement stands at 4,500 and climbing -- a number the Army doesn't expect to hit in Iraq until late this summer or early fall....

Army officials insist that no one could have predicted that the service would have been involved in such a huge peacekeeping effort, which dwarfs previous missions to the Balkans, Haiti and Somalia. Nor could the Army have predicted Iraqi insurgents would use remote-detonated roadside bombs so effectively to kill U.S. soldiers, says Brig. Gen. Jeff Sorenson, a senior Army procurement official. "We didn't anticipate this threat nor were we prepared for it," the general says....

[In 1992] soldiers cruising the streets of Somalia in a thin-skinned Humvee ran over a land mine. Four Americans died, and the Army issued an urgent call to field 10 of the early armored Humvees. The vehicles were being offloaded in Mogadishu when Army Rangers got into a nightlong firefight that killed 18 Americans -- many of them fighting from thin-skinned Humvees. Days later the Army withdrew, leaving a small contingent of Marines. When the Army tried to take the armored Humvees back to the U.S., the Marines protested. "I got a frantic call from a captain telling me the Marines weren't going to let the Army take their [armored] Humvees home," recalls retired Lt. Col. J.C. Hudson, who accompanied the armored vehicles to Mogadishu. Col. Hudson says he told the young captain to let the Marines keep the vehicles.

In the wake of the Somalia debacle, Army officials in charge of the Humvee program were eager to find a niche for the armored version, which at $180,000 costs more than twice as much as the regular vehicle. The program's most enthusiastic backers were military police, who specialize in riot control, peacekeeping and stabilizing an area following combat. But officials involved in the program worried that the Army might not embrace a peacekeeping vehicle. They were also concerned the relatively small military-police force, which boasts no three- or four-star generals, lacked "the horsepower to get the armored Humvee built," says John Weaver, an Army program manager who oversaw the service's Humvee fleet. So Mr. Weaver and his colleagues instead pitched the armored Humvee as a scout vehicle that would venture out in front of the tanks during big battles and beam back information about the enemy. The armored Humvee proved terrible at that job....

Other dangerous missions kept the program alive. In 1995, as U.S. troops readied to deploy to Bosnia, senior Pentagon officials, worried about road mines and snipers, once again put out an urgent call for armored Humvees.... Speaking to a conference of senior Army officers in 1996, Mr. Weaver, a program manager overseeing the Humvee fleet, castigated the service for the way it had handled the armored-Humvee program. "The knee-jerk reactions exhibited in response to Somalia and Bosnia, when all of a sudden someone realized we needed protection, did not result in cost- or operationally effective solutions," he said. Instead of rushing to add armored Humvees prior to each conflict, Mr. Weaver urged the Army to develop a peacetime plan to buy more of these badly needed vehicles and to add armor to its truck fleet. The Cold War model of warfare, in which the tanks were out front protecting the wheeled vehicles, was no longer relevant, he insisted. In places like Somalia and Bosnia, there were no front lines.

The Army didn't embrace his advice. As the situation in the Balkans began to stabilize, the Army, searching for funds amid the defense cutbacks of the 1990s, once again began to reduce armored-Humvee production. The program suffered another blow in 1999 when the Army decided the armored Humvee wouldn't work as a scout vehicle. At the time, the Army's top priority was finding money for its Future Combat System, which officials say will replace the 70-ton battle tank and should be able to do everything from high-end combat to peacekeeping. The system, which the Army hopes to field starting around 2010, will depend on unmanned surveillance planes, robotic sensors and human scouts to determine the enemy's whereabouts. Computers linked by wireless modems will then disseminate the data to troops -- who will spread out over the battlefield and attack simultaneously from several directions before the enemy can even get off a shot. Instead of armor, these new units will rely on better intelligence, munitions and speed to survive. The Army plans to spend about $3.2 billion on research and development for that force this year.

In comparison, the armored Humvee seemed like a minor leap forward. And there were other reasons for the Army to think it didn't need more of the vehicles: When President Bush took office, he seemed to be intent on paring back the military's peacekeeping commitments in the Balkans, and keeping U.S. forces out of similar engagements in the future....


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