Thursday, November 04, 2004

While the Election Was Going On...

...our troops were still not being protected:

The question becomes then again when – when are they going to receive the full up armored Humvees? And I don't have that answer," says Gen. Byrne.

"It distresses me greatly that they do not have the equipment. I don't have control over it. The soldiers don't have control over it. The question becomes, 'When is it going to be available? When is it going to be available? When will they have it?'"

There are still no good answers to those questions. Most of the vehicles in Iraq arrived there without armor plating, because the Pentagon war planners didn't anticipate a long, bloody insurgency.

But 18 months after President Bush declared an end of major combat, the Pentagon is still struggling to provide the equipment needed to fight the war.

Oregon Congresswoman Darlene Hooley, a Democrat whose district includes Gen. Byrne's National Guard, complained to the secretary of defense. She says she thinks the vehicles are not fully armored yet because military planners didn't anticipate an insurgency.

"We didn't have enough armored vehicles," she says. "They weren't manufactured."

Congress has appropriated additional money for armored trucks and Humvees, over $800 million in the current defense bill.

The Army told 60 Minutes they will have produced 8,100 fully-armored Humvees by March.

However, production is lagging behind the urgent need, and the Pentagon's interim solution is shipping so-called "add-on armor" kits to Iraq, where they are being bolted on to thousands of vehicles.

But most of those add-ons don't protect the bottom of the vehicle, leaving them vulnerable to an explosive device.

Do our sons and daughters have to wait six more months to be properly protected on the missions they have been ordered to accomplish? Don't let your Congressional reps wallow in their post-election victories any longer. The honeymoon is over. Click the 'Contact Congress' link over to the right side of this blog. Get involved. 'Support the Troops' is more than a bumper sticker.

Posted by a Vet -- -- permanent link