How Many Troops Have Died For Lack of Equipment?
by James Glaser
The European and Pacific edition of the Stars and Stripes reports that the Pentagon will now send 4,060 mine-resistant vehicles to Iraq by the end of the year, and these will replace many of the Humvees our troops have been using.
Thousands of our troops have been killed and wounded by roadside bombs planted by Iraqi insurgents. Many of out troops have suffered injury because the Pentagon failed to provide equipment with armored protection against these roadside mines.
Total cost for these replacement vehicles is $2 billion, but we are throwing so much money at Iraq, a couple of billion more is only about what we spend every week over there now. These vehicles are called Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles. They have a V-shaped hull which is designed to force any blast off the side, and they are taller than a Humvee, as Stars and Stripes reports, "Their additional height gives the blast more time to expand, lessening its impact."
"In my mind, our biggest blunder has not been incorporating the V-shaped undercarriage for our armored vehicles," said Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss., chairman of the sea power subcommittee. "This technology existed before the conflict in Iraq began. . . . It is well past time that we deploy this potential lifesaving vehicle."
I don't know how many times President Bush has talked about how he will make sure we provide all the equipment our troops will need in Iraq, but it is bunch. Now after over three years of losses, the military brass decides it is time to send this new equipment. Here we are sending over 4000 of these new vehicles and I have to wonder why we stockpiled them for so long? Why didn't we start sending them after the first ten were built? We are constantly shipping equipment over to Iraq, so it makes no sense at all to hold back this life saving equipment so that we can now send thousands all at one time.
"Support the Troops" is a bumper sticker and a slogan everyone uses, but the proof is in the pudding as they say, and Washington has been remiss for far too long. George Bush can sure talk the talk, but he still hasn't figured out how to walk the walk.
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