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Pentagon balked at pleas from officers in field for safer vehicles
Iraqi troops got MRAPs; Americans waited

By Peter Eisler, Blake Morrison and Tom Vanden Brook
USA TODAY

Pfc. Aaron Kincaid, 25, had been joking with buddies just before their Humvee rolled over the bomb. His wife, Rachel, later learned that the blast blew Kincaid, a father of two from outside Atlanta, through the Humvee's metal roof.

Army investigators who reviewed the Sept. 23 attack near Riyadh, Iraq, wrote in their report that only providence could have saved Kincaid from dying that day: "There was no way short of not going on that route at that time (that) this tragedy could have been diverted."

A USA TODAY investigation of the Pentagon's efforts to protect troops in Iraq suggests otherwise.

Oh, yes it does.

The long and short of it is this: military commanders on the ground in Iraq asked for these Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, or MRAPs, in December 2003. Despite continued pleas for the vehicles, it took two years to get them any.

The brass said adding armor to the Humvees would work just fine. It didn't.

But how could they be expected to know about this new, miracle technology?

The MRAP was not new to the Pentagon. The technology had been developed in South Africa and Rhodesia in the 1970s, making it older than Kincaid and most of the other troops killed by homemade bombs. The Pentagon had tested MRAPs in 2000, purchased fewer than two dozen and sent some to Iraq. They were used primarily to protect explosive ordnance disposal teams, not to transport troops or to chase Iraqi insurgents.

Oh. Well, at least they finally sent some to Iraq, right?

Yes they did.

Even as the Pentagon balked at buying MRAPs for U.S. troops, USA TODAY found that the military pushed to buy them for a different fighting force: the Iraqi army.

Oh my.

What happened?

Officials at Marine headquarters in Quantico, Va., shelved the request for 1,169 vehicles. Fifteen months passed before a second request reached the Joint Chiefs and was approved. Those vehicles finally began trickling into Anbar in February, two years after the original request.

Well, I'm sure heads will roll!

Because of the delay, the Marines are investigating how its urgent-need requests are handled.

Ah! An investigation! I feel much better now. No harm done, right?

In a letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates late last month, two U.S. senators said the delays cost the lives of an estimated "621 to 742 Americans" who would have survived explosions had they been in MRAPs rather than Humvees.

What will we tell the families? How could this have happened?

One reason officials put off buying MRAPs in significant quantities: They never expected the war to last this long. Bush set the tone on May 1, 2003, six weeks after the U.S. invasion, when he declared on board the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln that "major combat operations in Iraq have ended."

UPDATE: No wonder George Voinovich says George W. Bush "f—ed up" the war.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 11:23 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Where is the pardon for Pfc. Kincaid and his (9+ / 0-)

    family?

    "Our knobs go up to 11."

    by Cartoon Peril on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 11:19:19 AM PDT

  •  Odd (8+ / 0-)

    I thought the military would at least support its own troops.

    Bullshit entanglements continue to kill US soldiers.

    If you're ever buying a shampoo sink, go right to the Dutch. The French know nothing about shampooing.

    by als10 on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 11:19:20 AM PDT

  •  Look like some Pentagon guy... (13+ / 0-)

    is about to get a Presidential Medal of Freedom.

    "Some men see things as they are and say 'Why?' I dream things that never were and say, 'I need to quit drinking!'" - Greasy Grant

    by Greasy Grant on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 11:19:59 AM PDT

    •  MRAP It Up!: Protecting Our Troops Is Number 1 (7+ / 0-)

      Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) Vehicles are specifically designed to protect troops from IED explosions and ambushes.  They are proven to be effective in the field.  An estimated 70% of all the casualties in Iraq are a result of IED explosions.  MRAPs directly address that deadly statistic.

      To his credit, Secretary Gates has demonstrated a keen interest in securing as many MRAP’s as possible as soon as possible.  However, this Washington Times article points out the serious deficiencies in production capabilities of current MRAP manufacturers.  In other words, the troops are not going to see enough of these vehicles in the near future to make enough difference or to save enough lives.  By the time 2008 rolls around, there will be hundreds, perhaps a thousand more US casualties directly due to IED explosions and the lack of suitable vehicles and armor.

      Even though our military leaders and this administration have known about this technology for years, and even though the troops themselves and Congress alike have been clamoring for these vehicles to be deployed into Iraq and Afghanistan, the enthusiastic calls for MRAPs have not yet led to significant increases in actual vehicles deployed into theater.  Most recently, Senator Chris Dodd has demanded the Pentagon step-up the deployment of MRAP vehicles.  But the production limitation issues may make this a futile demand.

      The funding of the Iraq Supplemental Bill removes any excuse for this administration not going forward full-tilt on securing as many MRAPs as they can get as fast as they can get them.  In fact, given the proven effectiveness of MRAPs, this administration must do everything it can to increase the production of these vehicles...even if that means subsidizing the manufacturers to the point of building additional production lines and hiring more employees.

      During WWII, hundreds of companies were transformed into dedicated manufacturers of military equipment for the US forces.  Where is that commitment now?  Mr. Bush has said that the war in Iraq is the central point of his "War on Terror" and that it is one of the pivotal points of modern history.  Mr. Bush himself has framed the war in Iraq as the most important issue of our time.  Well, if that’s your position, Mr. Bush, then MRAP your mind around this issue and make it happen...now!

      •  all you're suggesting interfere with shopping. (0+ / 0-)

        "Our knobs go up to 11."

        by Cartoon Peril on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 12:16:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  didn't come out right, if they did what you're (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          CunningBlogist

          saying, they'd have to be serious about the war, which they're not.

          "Our knobs go up to 11."

          by Cartoon Peril on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 12:37:11 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  They are talking out of BOTH of their faces. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            groggy, Cartoon Peril

            Face 1: You must fund the troops so we can keep them safe because we are not leaving Iraq and they need the equipment, supplies, etc..  If you don't fund the troops, you are a traitor.

            Face 2: We won't buy the necessary equipment to protect the troops because it's too expensive, too hard to make, too hard to get, takes too much time to deploy, hasn't been fully tested and approved by the place with 4 walls and a spare, yada, yada, yada...

            •  Fact 3: Buying this equipment does not (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Cartoon Peril

              constitute an admission that out optimistic near term predictions (turning another corner) are total bullshit.

              Everything is funny as long as it is happening to somebody else. --Will Rogers

              by groggy on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 01:51:49 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  I guarantee you (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Cartoon Peril

              if Mitch Wade or similar would be enriched by an MRAP contract, there would be hundreds and hundreds shipped over there in no time flat.

              Somewhere out there, someone not connected to Bush, Cheney, or the Pentagon old boys' network would be getting rich.

              And that's just not acceptable.

              The kingdom of heaven is spread out upon the earth, and men do not see it.

              by MasonMcD on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 02:50:58 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  Like Tillman, another excuse for (7+ / 0-)

    "Executive Privilege."

    Health care for people, not for profit.

    by bloomer 101 on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 11:21:38 AM PDT

  •  That was a POWERFUL bomb.... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    groggy, OpherGopher, Lobsters

    ...the blast blew Kincaid, a father of two from outside Atlanta, through the Humvee's metal roof.

    sorry, had to point it out...; )

    Dudehisattva... <div style="color: #0000a0;">"Generosity, Ethics, Patience, Effort, Concentration, and Wisdom"&l

    by Dood Abides on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 11:21:55 AM PDT

  •  Double edged sword (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lobsters, Greasy Grant

    Seems to me that this is really a double-edged sword. The Iraqi army got some equipment, which presumably it needed badly. If it had gone to the Marines instead, we would be justified in charging the Pentagon with neglecting the Iraqi army, which can't be expected to create order, let alone defend the country without hardware. The point is that this whole damned situation is tragic in the classic sense: all the available options are worse than all the rest.

    •  Maybe. (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      als10, DocGonzo, kurt, dluebke, Greasy Grant

      Of course, you could actually just buy a whole bunch of them. How about that?

      •  Yeah (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        The Maven, DocGonzo, dluebke

        Suddenly when was the military short on cash?

        Maybe they could stop dicking around with the Osprey and just give the troops some field-tested equipment that works.

        If you're ever buying a shampoo sink, go right to the Dutch. The French know nothing about shampooing.

        by als10 on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 11:27:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Fair enough (0+ / 0-)

        And if they did we'd be griping about how much money we squander on this hopeless mess. Only bad options.

        •  Speak for yourself (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DocGonzo, Greasy Grant

          I won't be griping if our troops have the necessities of the battlefield.

          If you're ever buying a shampoo sink, go right to the Dutch. The French know nothing about shampooing.

          by als10 on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 11:32:04 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Unfair (0+ / 0-)

          We would be griping about squandering all the money on this hopeless mess. But no one here at DKos would be suggesting that we ever send our troops, or Iraqi troops, any materiel at all, if they could use it to either save lives or protect real military objectives.

          You are persisting in oversimplifying a scenario with several unacceptable options and some merely bad into one where all are equally bad. And putting nonexistent gripes in the mouths of people who didn't, nor wouldn't, say them.

          "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

          by DocGonzo on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 11:41:16 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Fine. (0+ / 0-)

            How 'bout this: "And if they did, one would be wholly justified in objecting to the amount of money we squander on this hopeless mess instead of bringing our troops home."

            I'm as disgusted as anyone in this discussion at our failure to protect our troops adequately, people who are paying with their lives for the catastrophic short-sightedness or Rumsfeld, Cheney, the whole sorry lot. Sure, the marines should have MRAP vehicles and so should the Iraqi Army. And if we did spend all that money on MRAPs for everybody, we'd be even more impoverished by this war. And if we didn't give any MRAPs to the Iraqi Army, we'd be condemning Iraqi soldiers avoidable deaths.

            If you can tell me the difference between one unacceptable option that is less worse than the other unacceptable options, I'm all ears.

            •  Comprehensible Options (0+ / 0-)

              I don't understand your question:

              If you can tell me the difference between one unacceptable option that is less worse than the other unacceptable options, I'm all ears.

              The fact is that spending money to supply both American and Iraqi troops while the US is actually fighting the war is not an unacceptable option. In fact, the US fighting the war today, and tomorrow, is not an unacceptable option. They are bad options, but they are not unacceptable. We can accept them.

              Failing to supply the US and Iraqi troops with needed weapons while they're fighting is unacceptable.

              It's also unacceptable to continue this war any longer than truly absolutely necessary. So we must end it as soon as possible. Which means immediately removing troops, and spending the time withdrawing while defending our retreating flank.

              It's not that complicated, unless you try to oversimplify it to absurdity.

              So now it seems that you have attempted to oversimplify that situation beyond comprehension. Maybe if you can try to accept how I have explained it in this post, you can start to comprehend it yourself.

              "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

              by DocGonzo on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 02:14:49 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Is the Iraqi army getting the blast proof vehicle (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cartoon Peril

      or are they continuing to get our castoffs?  We have no intention of arming them with the best armor and planes and they complain bitterly that the US idea of an Iraqi armored vehicles is a S-10 with a .30 caliber MG mounted in the bed.  Exactly what are they getting?

  •  What I don't get (6+ / 0-)

    Their reasoning is that they never expected the war to last this long.

    Well that was in fucking 2003.  It's now four years later.  Why couldn't they have gotten them in 2004?  Or 2005?  Maybe we wouldn't have lost 3000+.

    If you're ever buying a shampoo sink, go right to the Dutch. The French know nothing about shampooing.

    by als10 on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 11:23:23 AM PDT

  •  Mission (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    edsbrooklyn, Lobsters

    afuckincomplished.

    For the sake of our Constitution--IMPEACH!

    by LightningMan on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 11:23:27 AM PDT

  •  For want of a nail..... (5+ / 0-)

    the war was lost...

    George W. Bush, Richard P. Cheney, et.al. need to be IMPEACHED.

    I called my Rep. this morning, and I will call again every morning until this pack of theving @#$%@@#$%'s are in jail.

  •  Just when I think nothing else can shock me -- (5+ / 0-)

    I'm no longer surprised by anything these people do, but I am endlessly disgusted.

    It's always about the money.  Always.  

  •  my lord, this is so depressing (5+ / 0-)

    how on earth can anyone who supports this war sleep?

    I remember a time when the American President was the leader of the free world. ****** Repeat after me: "Neoconservatism has failed America."

    by land of the free on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 11:24:10 AM PDT

  •  Perhaps it's time for the families of our men and (8+ / 0-)

    women in arms to come to the horrific realization that their Commander in Chief is systematically decimating those sworn to protect and defend the Constitution, while this same Commander in Chief is busy arming and training mercs for his own private military, sworn to protect and defend HIM.

    Blackwater Mercs are getting our tax dollars, while our own military is sent on missions with no support.  Personally, it smacks of a carefully orchestrated overthrow of our government by quietly dismantling our military, but that's just my tin-foil hat acting up again, I'm sure.

  •  of course Voinovich said that (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cartoon Peril, Turbonerd

    b/c to him it's all political. "How can this war get us enough votes for the next election?" Now that people realize what a big fat hairy lie this has all been, "hardcore" GOP members are talking about troop withdrawal.

    It's not about them "catching up" to Gore or Kerry or Feingold or anyone else who said we need to actaully think about what we're doing. It's about keeping their cushy seat and schmoozing with the weathly.

    Politics is the deliberation of one's moral enterprise.

    by Omen on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 11:28:28 AM PDT

    •  You'll also note that he said that... (0+ / 0-)

      ...the Bush administration fucked up the war, not that the war was just plain fucked up.  It's the old "the war was mismanaged" vs. "the war was a bad idea to begin with" difference, now with added profanity!

  •  Shameful and shocking. (6+ / 0-)

    One reason officials put off buying MRAPs in significant quantities: They never expected the war to last this long.

    I am ill thinking about the young men and women lost because of this behavior -- the hundreds of lives lost; the thousands of amputations.

    1-20-09 The Darkness Ends "Where cruelty exists, law does not." ~ Alberto Mora.

    by noweasels on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 11:28:40 AM PDT

  •  Sen George (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cartoon Peril, Turbonerd

    Talks a great game, let's see where he votes on the next withdrawal bill.

    The fool who thinks he is a fool is for that very reason a wise man; But the fool who thinks he is a wise man is rightly called a fool.

    by chanbo on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 11:29:06 AM PDT

  •  Is anyone surprised? (4+ / 0-)

    Returning troops have told horror stories since we entered Iraq about having to use VN era flak jackets and scrounged metal from trash dumps and sandbags to try to retrofit their vehicles.  The manufacturer of these vehicles is not producing them at the maximum rate they are capable of nor are they inclined to speed up the production line at any point in the future. Chalk it up to more of Cheney's cronies.

    In the meantime, more of our guys die.........

    For chrissakes, Hizbullah is now using shaped charges that are taking out the most modern Israeli armor.  What chance do our guys have?

  •  My eldest is there... (11+ / 0-)

    And I want answers from my congresscritters and the Pentagon on why this has not been addressed.  I have been pushing for impeachment for the past 2 years...  I will also call my reps to get impeachment beyond "being on the table", how about thru committee!!!

    My son is in a Bradley...  patrols are in/around Baghdad.  He cannot tell us where he is in his weekly calls/im's.

    It was a time of desperate need for heroes - any kind of heroes. "Twice Upon a Time"

    by doingbusinessas on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 11:30:11 AM PDT

  •  The military trusted Bush? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Maven, chanbo

    They drank the Kool-aid? Fools. Don't they know the Bush Administration's lies are due to muscle memory reflex rather than the need to convince anybody? As Sen. Biden said, "Whatever Rumsfeld says, beleive the exact opposite."

    Losing in Iraq is not an option, it is a result.

    by bobinson on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 11:32:08 AM PDT

    •  Not the way I remember it (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bobinson, irishwitch, Cartoon Peril, kurt

      In the run-up to invasion, the military brass were muzzled by Rummy. Witness the sorry fate of General Shinseki -- who, ironically enough, was an early advocate of military transformation. Still, he had the courage to point out how many soldiers we would need to carry out a successful occupation...and anybody with half a brain knew that we would need to be prepared for that eventuality. The problem was with the civilian leadership, and the yes-men they installed at the top.

      It's the same dreadful story...the Bush White House systematically ignored everybody with any expericence in anything involving Iraq. Its culture, its history, the West's history with invasions and occupations of Iraq, everything.

  •  Fighting war on the cheap- the American way! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lobsters
  •  I think he was listening to "the Generals".... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    irishwitch

    they get courts martial, not impeachment.

    You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

    by murrayewv on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 11:33:22 AM PDT

  •  General institutional resistance (5+ / 0-)

    Military brass don't like being told what to do by Congress. Older MRAPS really are better suited to EOD than to running through a city committing drive-by shootings. The newer ones are faster and more maneuverable. Whether because of that or because they thought they'd be out of Iraq by now, they didn't have enough MRAPS, and they continued to think "inside the box."

    It's absolutely the case that many times, when a Congressperson starts screaming about how the Army isn't buying enough of one weapon or another, that congressperson is getting payola from the manufacturer. So usually, a little foot-dragging is a good thing. In this case, it took a lot of screaming before the services started ordering MRAPS, and that cost a lot of lives.

  •  Winter coats (6+ / 0-)

    In World War Two, the German Army initially didn't provide winter coats to its troops in Russia, since they were sure the Soviet Union would surrender well before winter. And in this war, no MRAP's for our guys since "major combat operations have ended". The Germans froze then, and our guys are dying now, because both armies had idiots in charge.

    The Bush Family: 0 for 4 in Wisconsin

    by Korkenzieher on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 11:34:30 AM PDT

    •  HItler refused to issue (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      irishwitch

      winter wear to his troops because he thought if they knew he didn't expect them to conquer Russia before winter, they would not give it their best effort.
      At least Adolph was a combat veteran and should have had more sense but it seems he was as myth-driven as GWB is.

  •  Abramoff's Tank (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    irishwitch, 4Freedom

    The [MRAP] technology had been developed in South Africa and Rhodesia in the 1970s, making it older than Kincaid and most of the other troops killed by homemade bombs.

    Jack Abramoff got his start in the Bush gang by writing and producing a 1989 trash movie called Red Scorpion, about a Soviet insurgency in South/West Africa. Abramoff actually shot in Namibia, but used (Apartheid) South African military as "extras" (while probably providing cover for CIA diamond smuggling out of their covert Angola war). That movie was a good way for Abramoff to launder money and materiel for the Iran/Contra funding operation which used Israel and South Africa to transfer weapons illegally to Iran and elsewhere.

    I'd bet that Abramoff cashed in on the MRAP tech transfer from South Africa to the Bush gang.

    In fact, I'd like to see just how his bust interfered with (or helped) getting those MRAPs to our troops. See, Democrats really do kill Americans by investigating Republicans!

    Investigating "incompetent" criminal Republicans too late to stop them killing our troops, that is.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 11:37:50 AM PDT

  •  We knew in 1991 that Humvees were vulnerable (5+ / 0-)

    to mines and explosives.  My Heavy Machine Gun platoon had the "hardback" type with the top-mounted weapon. We "borrowed" steel plating from the Navy and welded it to the floors of our vehicles. Of course, when we came home after the war they made us take it all back out because it wasn't "regulation".

  •  The last paragraph says something I had not (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    irishwitch, dconrad

    considered:

    One reason officials put off buying MRAPs in significant quantities: They never expected the war to last this long. Bush set the tone on May 1, 2003, six weeks after the U.S. invasion, when he declared on board the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln that "major combat operations in Iraq have ended."

    So The Pentagon did not think it necessary to order MRAP's (and what else?) because they didn't expect to be there this long. Well, if they had been told that operations would be short lived, then this decision makes sense.

    What a huge mistake made by the civilian leadership of the military.

    17. Ne5

    In chess you may hit a man when he's down -- Irving Chernev, on Przepiorka v. Prokes, Budapest, 1929

    by Spud1 on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 11:52:27 AM PDT

    •  I've heard this; not just "Mission Accomplished" (5+ / 0-)

      It isn't just the "Mission Accomplished" speech, it is the whole "six more months", "next six months will tell/be critical", "last legs", "final throes", "turning the corner" rhetoric. It has had an effect of preventing the military from doing any long term planning.

      No one wants to order materiel that will be delivered in 2-3 years for a war that will be over within the next year. Every time they lied and said that we would be able to draw down significant numbers of combat troops "next year" when they knew they had no intention of doing that, they screwed the troops just a little bit more, one Friedman Unit at a time.

      But next year never seems to come. Somehow it is always this year, and next year never arrives.


      'I'm sure I'll take you with pleasure!' the Queen said. 'Twopence a week, and jam every other day.'
      Alice couldn't help laughing, as she said, 'I don't want you to hire ME--and I don't care for jam.'
      'It's very good jam,' said the Queen.
      'Well, I don't want any TODAY, at any rate.'
      'You couldn't have it if you DID want it,' the Queen said. `The rule is, jam tomorrow and jam yesterday--but never jam today.'
      'It MUST come sometimes to "jam today,"' Alice objected.
      'No, it can't,' said the Queen. `It's jam every OTHER day: today isn't any OTHER day, you know.'
      'I don't understand you,' said Alice. `It's dreadfully confusing!'

        — Lewis Carroll, Through The Looking Glass

      45% of Americans for impeachment of George Bush, 54% for Dick Cheney. ARG Poll

      by dconrad on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 12:46:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Jam Today. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Geotpf, Spud1

        Jam yesterday.

        But NEVER jam today.

        Lewis Carroll is running  the pentagon.

        The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

        by irishwitch on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 12:52:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Then there is this Jam: (0+ / 0-)

          Its funny how you never knew what my name was,
          Our only contact was a form for the election.
          These days I find that you don't listen,
          These days I find that we're out of touch,
          These days I find that I'm too busy,
          So why the attention now you want my assistance -
          What have you done for me.

          You've gone and got yourself in trouble,
          No you want me to help you out.

          These days I find that I can't be bothered,
          These days I find that its all too much,
          To pick up a gun and shoot a stranger,
          But I've got no choice so here I come - war games.

          I'm up on the hills, playing little boy soldiers,
          Reconnaissance duty up at 5:30.
          Shoot shoot shoot and kill the natives,
          You're one of us and we love you for that.

          Think of honour, Queen and country,
          You're a blessed son of the British Empire,
          God's on our side and so is Washington.

          Come out on the hills with the little boy soldiers.

          Come on outside - I'll sing you a lullaby,
          Or tell a tale of how goodness prevailed.

          We ruled the world - we killed and robbed,
          The fucking lot - but we don't feel bad.

          It was done beneath the flag of democracy,
          You'll believe and I do - yes I do - yes I do -
          yes I do -

          These days I find that I can't be bothered,
          To argue withthem well what's the point,
          Better to take your shots and drop down dead,
          then they send you home in a pine overcoat

          With a letter to your mum

          Saying find enclosed one son - one medal and a note - to say he won.

          Little Toy Soldiers, The Jam

          17. Ne5

          In chess you may hit a man when he's down -- Irving Chernev, on Przepiorka v. Prokes, Budapest, 1929

          by Spud1 on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 01:11:19 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well, my vet got out so (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Spud1

            he didn't have ti fight a war he knew was based on lies.  He was lucky enough to do that in Jan. 2003. Had he accepted his promotion, he'd have been sent to Iraq.  I am GLAD I never had to receive a folded flag--of course,the Packhors  made it very clear that a military funeral would be the last thing he'd want if he had died in active duty days.

            The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

            by irishwitch on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 05:25:22 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Not sure what you mean by pakhors - please (0+ / 0-)

              pardon my ignorance. Is it Pagan related?

              I hope you saw the NYTimes piece about how f'n cool librarians are.

              17. Ne5

              In chess you may hit a man when he's down -- Irving Chernev, on Przepiorka v. Prokes, Budapest, 1929

              by Spud1 on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 06:15:07 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Packhorse, An in-joke. (0+ / 0-)

                At the first and so far ONLY Atlanta Kos meetup, he signed himself in as Driver and Packhorse (I have a bad shoulder, so he ends up carrying my shoulder bag).Now that's gonna be his User ID when he signs up one of these days.

                Didn't see the article-- haven't been reading the Times lately. Personally I think it's hilarious that therr were two porn flicks set in libraries in the 70s, according to my prof in School Libraries (he was inhis Norman Mailer Macho Phase, which meant proving his masculinity by using four letter words whenever possible; ditto introducing sex into all conversations). I used to amuse myself coming up with names for them--The Stacked Librarians; Sex in the Stacks; Stacked; and my favorite: 1001 Uses for an Overhead Projector.

                My favorite compliment came  when I in sf fandom. I was wearing a dress slit tot he hip on both sides, and it was gauzy  fabric-a-t least 2 layers where it counted--and Sprague de Camp said, " In my day librarians didn't look like you." His wife collapsed laughing.

                The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

                by irishwitch on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 08:16:38 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  This goes to show that "policy" decisions (0+ / 0-)

    have specific, real and often deadly consequences.  And yet, rulings by the Office of Special Counsel and the Merit Systems Protection Board, which review whistleblower complaints, typically avoid taking any action on matters they categorize as "policy," flawed or not.  Who's providing oversight for these organizations?  Apparently, no one.  And, America is paying for it.

    This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs: When he first appears, he is a protector. - Plato, The Republic

    by Deep Harm on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 12:16:20 PM PDT

  •  This should be made into a commercial (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    irishwitch, dluebke, edsbrooklyn

    launched on youtube, and played in every competitive district in 2008.

    Nothing can destroy a government more quickly than its failure to observe its own laws, or worse, its disregard of the charter of its own existence.

    by zdefender on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 12:18:05 PM PDT

  •  YOU'RE SURPRISED? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Geotpf

    When I was in the army, the Germans we trained in Fort Bliss had the new equipment, and still took an hour to fire; we had the OLD equipment, and didn't get the new stuff fro two years. It was parked next to us and some general had to sign a permission slip for us to get it and usew it.

    This was at the height of the cold war, and we had to be ready to fire in thirty seconds.

    Don't be surprised; the US Army is one big fuck up.

  •  Thanks for this. (0+ / 0-)

    This is disgusting and tragic--but not unexpected.

    The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

    by irishwitch on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 12:51:04 PM PDT

  •  Pentagon thinks troops Cannon Fodder n/t (0+ / 0-)

    have we hit bottom yet?

    by eddienic on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 01:37:33 PM PDT

  •  Off to the Hague with everyone of these (0+ / 0-)

    incompetent, complicit rat bast*****.  Evidently, the manufacturer in South Africa was not a contributor to the rethug Party and therefore, could not be given a contract to produce vehicles that would save the lives of American troops.

    The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all - JFK- 5/18/63-Vanderbilt Univ.

    by oibme on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 02:35:41 PM PDT

  •  MRAPs are a fantasy (0+ / 0-)

    Do you really believe this crap that these vehicles are the panacea that will "protect the troops"? That it'll be all smooooth sailing for the grunts as they cruise the Baghdad strip? Bullshit! Have you seen what the effects are of the explosives they're driving over these days? A fucking tank wouldn't necessarily keep one safe.

    Hell, go look at the videos; they're all over the web. And leave the sales pitch to the war profiteers, please.

    "Here they come, marching into American sunlight." – Don Delillo, Mao II

    by subtropolis on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 03:11:08 PM PDT

    •  Worth noting. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      subtropolis

      All vehicles are vulnerable to two things: anything that damages their drive trains, and anything that can supply enough brute force to violate their hulls.

      For the latter, we've seen heavy tanks go flying, quite literally, into the air after rolling over IEDs made from 2000-lb bombs. Nothing in the world will protect a vehicle from that kind of force. And for the former, well... tanks throw their tracks quite easily: if you have welding gear, you can make caltraps that will force track shoes apart and break the linkages. Hand weapons like RPG-7s will also do the trick. Vehicles that run on tires can develop flats or burst tires, too, and anything that has wheels (tracks are just stretched wheels, right) can get a bent axle or spin a bearing. It's true - in their own way, vehicles are their own worst enemies.

      But box-shaped vehicles also face an extra threat, which is from weapons hitting them from directly underneath. You may have noticed that tanks and many armored cars have sloped or curved hulls wherever possible - the reason is, it makes any given hit (including a hit from an EFP, the jet of hot metal created by a shaped-charge weapon) much more likely to be a glancing hit rather than a solid one. Glancing hits are less likely to penetrate armor, destroy equipment and kill the crew.

      It's true - EFPs are pretty dangerous. But what I said about angles still holds true, because an angle hit needs to penetrate more armor than a perpendicular hit; the armor dissipates more energy that way, and armor liners (made out of heavy fabrics like Kevlar, for example) can absorb yet more of it.

      The field record of MRAP vehicles is something I don't honestly know all that much about. However, other countries have been using them for a while rather than buy HMMVWs from us. I wonder why, if the MRAP designs are not effective. HMMVWs are just a simple sort of truck, so they're probably easier and cheaper to build and maintain.

      This argument should not be construed as suggesting we should spend lots more money on Iraq; it's just that, if the flow of HMMVWs to that country (for the remaining duration of American military presence there) could be replaced by a flow of v-hulled trucks, it might help trim IED casualties.

      Socialism: Aspirin for your social-welfare headaches. (Use in moderation.)

      by Shaviv on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 04:28:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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