December 12, 2004

Armor for the troops

Much has been made in the MSM about a question that a young dupe trooper asked Donald Rumsfeld about getting more uparmored Humvees into the thjeater of operations. Greyhawk has a good take on it from the perspective of one who is there and doing that.

One of the points he makes is that no army anywhere has ever gone into battle with everything that they needed, or most certainly, wanted. One of the great strengths of American servicemembers has always been the ability to "make do" and to adapt their equipment with on the ground modifications to suit the needs of the particular theater where they were operating in.

That is not to say that that the government shouldn't ensure that they provide the best and the most equipment possible to the troops at the pointed end of forcefull diplomacy, but to acknowledge that it will never be a perfect system, and there will always be needs unmet, in any exercise of military power.

I sincerely believe that the shortcomings are being addressed, and hopefully overcome, in the shortest possible time.

Why did I call the trooper a dupe? Because he was cajoled into asking the question by an imbed reporter trying to set up a "gotcha" moment so he could write yet another story critical of the war. It was a valid question, but the ensuing coverage reveals the true reasoning behind it wasn't to try to protect the troops, but to try to embarrass the administration yet again.

It was a question from one who hasn't entered the zone yet, maybe the conditions in the zone are aren't what they are in the staging area. The fact that he stated that "they were scounging steel to add to their vehicles" shows that the men higher up are aware of some the problems and are trying to overcome them in a time honored way..Yankee ingenuity.

Soldiers will always bitch about the conditions they are fighting in, and the equipment they are fighting with. That is a military tradition. They usually come up with ingenious ways to upgrade their equipment on their own to meet their needs and be more in tune with their conditions. That is also a military tradition.

Some MSM sources try to make much of the fact that some troops were sent without adequate body armor. The same MSM that 15 years ago complained that military expenditures were far too high. In my time of service body armor was almost unheard of, other than the "Flackjacket" type issued to some troops in Viet Nam, and found to be highly wanting to the type of operations and environment being fought in.

The fact is that the technology has been vastly improved in the intervening years and come into much greater use, but this technology is expensive and choices must always be made in military appropiations. Sometimes those choices are wrong, and the grunt on the ground suffers for it. Thats life, get over it. There will always be shortcomings in war. We will get enough armored vehicles/body armor in the theater, and there will arise another shortage item. That is also life.

Civilians always assume that any piece of military gear can be used in any condition for any mission. That is far from the truth. The fact is that if you put enough armor on a Humvee to protect the soldiers within to the greatest extent possible, you'd no longer have a humvee, you'd have an APC. An APC can't do things that a humvee can. Military operations always carry great risk to the personnel involved, there is no way around that other than not engaging in the operations in the first place. Service members know the risks when they join, that is what truly makes them all heroes, knowing the risks and doing the job anyway.

Posted by Delftsman3 at December 12, 2004 11:49 PM

The true enemy in this story is not the soldier, he was used, manipulated by the embedded "Journalist". This was another leftist attempt to humiliate Rumsfeld and undermine troop morale. The anti-American press agent is the enemy, all news from the combat theater should be tightly controlled by the military and use military news correspondents. Any non military news agent should have to provide their own security, transportation and lodging. This would bring an immediate stop to the biting of the hand that feeds you attitude by the MSM.

Posted by: Jack at December 13, 2004 05:56 AM
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