Thursday, December 09, 2004

Military Affairs

A soldier asked some pointed questions of the Secretary of Defense in Iraq. Were the questions valid, and what do they tell us about the state of mind of Americans in the modern era? As usual, I will put most of my thoughts in the first comment block to save room. The link is in the title.

7 Comments:

At 10:35 AM, Blogger Richard Nixon said...

The soldier in question is a National Guardsman. He asked why the military did not have enough armored vehicles to fight this war. My question is did we ever have them in the past? The answer is no.
Have we fought here before? Yes. Did we have them in Vietnam? WWII? Korea? Haiti, Somalia or Panama? The answer to all is no. Did we need them? Maybe it would have been nice to have them, but we did not.His exact words were...."We do not have proper armored vehicles to carry with us north."My answer is ...but you DO have vehicles, so go do your job. Your peers, both in the present conflict and the conflicts of the past did.
We did not hear soldiers assaulting Normandy saying they did not have enough air support, or armor to accomplish their mission.This young man is an aircraft mechanic. Did you hear the front line combat troops ask this question? No.This young soldiers question should be viewed by the questioner. He was in the Air Force for 4 years before entering the Army NG. The Air Force, as a point of their job discriptions, do not serve on the front lines, so this fellows question is valid based upon his lack of expeience in a combat unit and his experiances in a non combat arms unit.I am certainly glad that our troops are allowed the latitude to ask these questions, but they need to be kept in perspective.Now I am sure there are many who will immediately take to task the current administration for this presumed lack of war fighting gear, but I would remind you that many on the left voted against the money to procure said gear. It should also be pointed out that the Army is sitting at about 400,000 soldiers, 1/2 of what we had in the early 90's.I know for a fact that during Desert Storm we used sandbags to put on the floor boards to protect against mines, sat on body armor, or put it against the door.As with most conflicts, we are adjusting to the new battlefield."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."This is just a lesson learned, and adjustment will be made. Don't be surprised when in the future someone complains that the armor makes the vehicles too heavy if we find ourselves in a conflict in a winter environment.I am very proud of the troops we have serving overseas, from every service, active duty, guard and reserve.For more on this go to ;http://apnews.myway.com/article/20041209/D86S59H00.html

 
At 12:56 PM, Blogger Angela said...

....and now it looks as if it was a setup by a reporter.

 
At 3:57 PM, Blogger Richard Nixon said...

The news media did not make a big deal out of the Somalia situation when the troops asked the Secretary of Defense for tanks and they were denied....then American bodies were dragged naked through the streets, where was the interest then? Oh, thats right, it was a democrat in office so all is forgiven.......

 
At 4:18 PM, Blogger Ian said...

Yes. Somalia came to my mind with this one too.
And the thing I understand about Samolia is, the poeple we went after, which lead to the deaths there, should have been on our side.
That should have been a real wake up call that the intelligence machine had some big problems, right then and there.

 
At 2:58 PM, Blogger JohnnyDakota said...

With a different take on the question given to the Secretary of Defense the other day:
When Thomas Wilson posed that question I believe he did so without the intent to embarrass the Secretary or put him on the spot. He was just asking why soldiers had to dig through junkyards to get the armor needed to protect them. Our nation has spent over 120 Billion dollars on that war effort. Unlike the Viet Nam conflict, Koren War conflict, and even WWII, we have the full voting support of Congress and the money to fully fund whatever is needed to supply our troops. Even the Secretary said it was not a matter of money. He said it was a matter of “Physics”. (What physics has to do with it is beyond me.) He stated that the company making the armor retrofits simply could not make them fast enough. Not true, according to the President of the company that makes the retrofits. He stated in an interview on NPR today that they could easily retrofit at least 100 Hummers more A DAY if the Pentagon would simply order an increase in manufacturing. No, I think the Secretary has dropped the ball on this one. I now question his credibility and leadership after listening to the full exchange between the soldiers at that Town Hall style meeting. I don’t think he has a clue what is happening with our brave men and women over there.

Johnny

 
At 5:11 PM, Blogger Angela said...

I agree with Johnny. We need to armor those vehicles and it looks like someone dropped the ball. While I don't like the fact that the question was a setup, at least something will be done now. I think a lot of guys over there are going to be greatful to that guardsman in the end. War is hell. In the past it was an even worse hell, but that's not an excuse not to do everything we are capable of to save more lives.

I read a blog on Foxnews.com that is really terrific by Steve Harrigan. He's one of the best war corespondents in the field. His blog gives you an idea of what it is really like in a war zone.

 
At 8:32 PM, Blogger Richard Nixon said...

While I agree that we should get them over there as fast as possible, I must remind you that they will give the to the warfighters first, aircraft mechanics are probably not on the priority list. And I remind you once more that there was no outrage during the Clinton years when they needed armor.

 

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