U.S. Soldiers Simply Not Getting What They Need

Contrary to the image the Republicans like to project that they are the party that should be trusted with military matters, again and again we see that our troops are simply not getting the supplies they need. While we can blame “lack of planning” on many of the initial problems, this war has been going on for more than a year now and the troops are still not getting proper equipment.

edition.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/meast … index.html

'One soldier, identified by The Associated Press as Army Spc. Thomas Wilson of the 278th Regimental Combat Team, a Tennessee National Guard outfit, asked Rumsfeld why more military combat vehicles were not reinforced for battle conditions.

'“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.

‘The question prompted cheers from some of the approximately 2,300 troops assembled in the large hangar to hear Rumsfeld deliver a pep talk at what the Pentagon called a town hall meeting.’

This, by no means is an isolated view of what is going on. Add in the well-documented lack of body armor plates, night-vision goggles, etc., and you get a pretty good picture of how the Bush administration simply does not give a damn about equipping the troops. Lame and tired excuses get made up for these failures, but clearly the troops aren’t buying what the Bushies are shoveling.

Add in this “stop loss” and “ready reserve” callup stuff, the inability to get recruits, cuts to benefits, lack of pay for several months for reserve soldiers (throwing many of them into financial ruin when their families simply cannot keep up with home payments, etc.), we see an overall callousness to the people we’re putting on the front line. Bush evidently thinks that our troops, like all those who don’t make more than $1,000,000 a year or more, are simply not worthy of his time and utmost attention.

On this forum, we’ve only seen the neoconmen offer canned denials that parrot the garbage that the Bush administration has been peddling. However, there is an issue that is simply not going away. This isn’t even a partisan issue at this point – the troops are not getting what they need and are at their wit’s end. Enough so that soldiers are arguing with Rumsfeld when he comes near them and/or refusing to go out for missions. Although the Bush administration bears responsibility (buck has to stop somewhere and we are in year 2 of this war he launched after all), we need to find a way out of this mess and it would be nice to have an honest discussion of what has clearly become a problem.

I was distressed to see that the chap photographed by the AP/Los Angeles Times has an insufficient supply of Marlboro. As a Marlboro smoker of some 15 years’ experience, I know how important it is to have one of those comforting red packets to hand to focus the mind when in a tight spot, and surely between Philip Morris and the USG something can be done about this.

When I was in, I dreamed of cold, Coca-Colas. Glass bottles. Condensation running down the sides…

From what I’ve read, the plight of this young man mobilized private charities on a fairly impressive scale. None of the stories I saw contained an estimate of how many cartons of smokes this guy was sent by concerned readers who saw his photo, but some of the stories did mention that the guy had way more than he could smoke and his stockpile was being shared with many of his brothers in arms.

The answer possibly could be to seriously ramp up the production of the things the troops need – night vision goggles, ceramic body armor plates, armored humvees, etc.

Instead, it would appear that the Bush administration ideas are, at best, to send over B.A. Barracus and the rest of his A-Team cronies to see what sort of jury-rigged armor getups they can slap on, based on their considerable experience with the A-Team van.

BA: “Rumsfeld, I pity the fool who made me armor these humvees with old oil barrels and pieces of pita bread.”

Rumsfeld: “But, the POTUS wants these…”

BA: “Don’t give me none of yo’ jibba-jabba! Why didn’t you give these troops what they needed in the first place??”

Rumsfeld: “Uh, well, if you’re asking me whether wars ever go perfectly, then I’d have to say no. If you’re asking me whether we could have planned this better, I’d also have to say no. If you’re asking me whether we’re giving the troops what they need…”

BA: “… then you’d have to say no! For leaving the troops without basic equipment, you goin’ to feel some pain, sucka!” (BA starts to move towards Rumsfeld, scene fades out)

You’re on a roll today Mofa. Nice postin’ kid. :slight_smile:


I’ve just read Robert Graves’ Goodbye to all that in which he describes the piss-poor level of equipment the British had in the Great War. Obviously nothing ever changes. No troops ever went into battle with everything they needed. I guess it will never change. :frowning:

I once worked at a museum where they had a sample of the inedible (and evidently indestructible) fare served to U.S. soldiers during the Spanish-American War. There it was, with a carefully pencilled log number right on there.

That said, in those days the troops were largely suffering without any way for the people back home to know that they were being screwed. However, it’s a different issue to stand by day in and day out and see our troops getting hosed without doing anything. When we know that our troops are not getting items that are clearly within our power (as a Christmas-shopping, gadget-loving, SUV-driving society), then why the hell are we tolerating our troops getting treated like shit?? The media and interpersonal communications are a lot more open now – I get emails from good friends who are over there right now and are literally having Abrams tanks deliver their food because unarmored humvees just won’t make it … and armored humvees just ain’t there.

The aviation gas used to fire up Air Force One for even a single Republican fundraising trip would probably provide enough money for our troops to get a one or two more armored humvees. Perhaps it would be good if our troops didn’t have to pick through the garbage dumps looking for scrap metal … just as Soviet troops in 1991 used to look for food.

Since so many of you are concerned with the supplies that our troops are or aren’t getting, here is a useful way to contribute:


I expect Mofangongren to make a substantial donation via credit card. I did.

Yeah, I just watched a television thing about the Battle of the Sommes. British troops charged over about 800m of open terrain to attack entrenched German troops who’d just been shelled for a solid week. Thing is, the Brits had to cross over some wicked barbed wire just before the German trenches, but
[ul]The Brits used fragmentary artillery ordnance instead of high-explosive, and the barbed wire was largely untouched even after 7 full days and nights of artillery bombardment.

The Brits carried on average more than 75lbs of equipment per capita, in addition to their personal equipment.

The Brits had to approach the jump-off point via a maze of trenches, the same trench system that was used to ferry back the wounded; the original time of the attack was 7am but some British soldiers were only beginning their charge at 2pm.

The Brits were so exhausted by all of the above that they “ran” in a straight line - the only wobble they could use was produced by fatigue only - and thus made excellent machine-gun targets.[/ul]
About 20,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers were killed on July 1, 1916.

Maybe it’s true of all armies, this supply situation, but the British seem to make a specialty of it. I mean, there was Gallipoli. And Spitfires covered in canvas during the Battle of Britain. And on and on…

Found a poem I like about WWI:

Philip Larkin

[i]Those long uneven lines
Standing as patiently
As if they were stretched outside
The Oval or Villa Park,
The crowns of hats, the sun
On moustached archaic faces
Grinning as if it were all
An August Bank Holiday lark;

And the shut shops, the bleached
Established names on the sunblinds,
The farthings and sovereigns,
And dark-clothed children at play
Called after kings and queens,
The tin advertisements
For cocoa and twist, and the pubs
Wide open all day;

And the countryside not caring
The place-names all hazed over
With flowering grasses, and fields
Shadowing Domesday lines
Under wheats’ restless silence;
The differently-dressed servants
With tiny rooms in huge houses,
The dust behind limousines;

Never such innocence,
Never before or since,
As changed itself to past
Without a word - the men
Leaving the gardens tidy,
The thousands of marriages
Lasting a little while longer:
Never such innocence again.[/i]

This is most amusing, but I find it very difficult to believe that many of the posters on this thread actually give a damn about what our soldiers are or are not getting. The rank hypocrisy therefore is almost suffocating. Cannot wait to see what happens when that election takes place in Iraq just like the one that wasn’t supposed to have been possible in Afghanistan.

Fred, I agree that the rank hypocrisy is terrible and think that there should be an immediate response from the Administration rather than this “passing the buck” kind of garbage.

Further information from the manufacturer indicates that the Bush administration is simply not telling the truth when they say that armored-humvee production has been maximized. Only now has the story been broken wide open (thanks to Spc. Thomas Wilson asking the question of Rumsfeld), and only now has the Dept. of Defense bothered to learn that capacity of the Armor Holdings Inc. retrofitting plant is actually 550 units per month instead of 450. Clearly if the DoD even gave a crap about this issue they would have asking for all they could get on a daily basis… instead they were sitting around slapping themselves on the back for a job done half-assed. Pathetic.

The adopt-a-sniper website is, indeed, interesting and will quite likely get something from me very shortly. Separately, I just sent a package of stuff to a friend in the Marines there, although it’s mostly stuff he can eat or use rather than equipment he can use. It’s also worthwhile for us to keep pushing on our goverment so that they don’t sit by – it’s up to us to participate as citizens to demand the best from our government. We’re all “shareholders” in our U.S. society – let’s get some shareholder value.

opinionjournal.com/columnist … =110006024
[quoet]A few weeks ago Rep. Duncan Hunter handed me a reason that has largely escaped media attention on why our troops in Iraq don’t have all the armor protection they need. It was a piece of ballistic glass, roughly the size of a small dinner plate.

The problem, the House Armed Services Committee chairman explained, is that a ballistic windshield is too heavy for some of the military’s vehicles. The window frames simply cannot support it without being reinforced. In many instances that means the soldiers are driving vehicles with regular windshields as the bureaucracy works out the logistics of sending over vehicles that can handle ballistic windshields or finds a way to retrofit the vehicles now in theater. It’s this waiting that has unnerved Mr. Hunter.

While the troops wait, he complained, the military could install two-inch-thick ballistic glass–half as thick as is optimal. Nearly every vehicle could support the weight of this slimmed-down ballistic glass, and it would likely stop 80% of the shrapnel that penetrates ordinary windshields. But the military is loath to adopt an interim, if imperfect, remedy. It prefers to wait for the “100% solution,” Mr. Hunter said. In other words, in military procurement, the perfect has become the enemy of the good. [/quote]

Perhaps corporate sponsorship is the way out as well, since the Bush administration clearly doesn’t want to hear what the troops are saying.

nytimes.com/2004/12/16/opini … wd.html?hp pretty much hits the nails on the head:

'They should take a lesson from their own playbook and reach out to corporate America. If Rummy can’t adequately supply the Army, maybe I.B.M. and Xerox can.

'Why should it just be parents of kids in Iraq who send them compasses and Kevlar vests? Everybody wants to support our troops.

'If the Olympics can attract top corporate sponsors, why can’t Rummy’s Global War on Terrorism? Bring it on, Bank One!

'Picture this: a truck rumbling across the desert on the evening news, completely armored and emblazoned with golden arches. Or a fleet of Visa Humvees. You know Donald Trump would love to slap his name on a few Chinooks. The 82nd Trumpborne.

'And what about product placement? When soldiers give their Christmas greetings on Fox News or MSNBC, they could be holding cans of Pepsi or calling home on Samsung phones. Why merely send their love when they could be writing love letters in the sand on Apple computers?

'Like athletes or Nascar drivers, they could sell every inch of their body: STP helmets, Nike boots, Staples “Yeah, we got that” dog tags, Starbucks M.R.E.'s, CamelBak canteens by Camels, Sony laser target designators.

‘All those old, out-of-shape reservists being dragged back by Rummy would be great pitchmen for arthritis medication. And Celebrex night vision goggles.’

The war was sponsored

Things are looking up in Iraq.


Next up, flying voting booths.

The neoconmen will soon be telling whoppers about how the resumption of an active air-cargo industry is yet another solid sign of recovery for Iraq … without acknowledging that it’s actually just that military cargo planes are necessary to move cargo because the stratosphere is easier to secure against the massively growing insurgency than the Iraqi roads and highways.

When things continue to slide down the crapper, the neocons will pretend we weren’t warning of these problems and offer up canned pablum of how “hindsight is only 20-20, you know…”

well, wouldn’t you know it? not only was the question about armor planted by a reporter, the soldier who asked that question had no clue what he was talking about. at the time the question was asked, over 90% of the unit’s vehicles were armored and the rest were in the process of being armored. within 24 hours, they were all armored.


i love it when a ploy backfires. :slight_smile:

Strange. Why has this not also received frontpage treatment in the NY Times, CNN, Washington Post? Hmmm? Very very strange. This was considered important news just a week ago. You would imagine a responsible news organization would want to provide important details regarding followup wouldn’t they? Hmmm? hahahh busted again liberal media. This is why no one trusts you anymore.

[quote=“mofangongren”]’“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.

'The question prompted cheers from some of the approximately 2,300 troops assembled in the large hangar to hear Rumsfeld deliver a pep talk at what the Pentagon called a town hall meeting.[/quote]

You forgot to mention that Rumsfeld answered: “You go to war with the army you have.” HUH?

You also forgot to mention that most of the US troops in Iraq now will have their stays of duty extended for longer than the promised one year. Aren’t there fresh reinforcements that can be gleaned off the faithful voters back in the “heartland”?

See the latest editions of Time (yes, Time) and Newsweek for the full reports.