Home > Iraq News, Political Ranting > And Yet More Evidence They Don’t Give a $#*% About the Troops

And Yet More Evidence They Don’t Give a $#*% About the Troops

December 9th, 2004

On the tail of the story that Bush and Rumsfeld care so little about the troops that they won’t even sign the letters to the families of the fallen, comes this bit of news from Kuwait, where Rumsfeld was answering soldiers’ questions in a ‘town hall’ style meeting. Apparently he figured he’d just get praise and adulation, but one soldier asked a very pointed question from an airplane mechanic from the 278th Regimental Combat Team of the Tennessee Army National Guard:

Why do us soldiers have to dig through local landfills for pieces of scrap metal and compromised ballistic glass to up-arm our vehicles? And why don’t we have those resources available to us? … A lot of us are getting ready to move north relatively soon. Our vehicles are not armoured. We’re digging pieces of rusted scrap metal and compromised ballistic glass … picking the best out of this scrap to put on our vehicles to take into combat. We do not have proper armament vehicles to carry with us north.

Now that’s a good question. It’s not as if this problem hasn’t been known about, much less been in the spotlight, for more than a year now. We’ve heard stories about soldiers draping bullet-proof vests along the side of their humvees in order to compensate for this. So what was Rumsfeld’s flinty response?

It isn’t a matter of money, it isn’t a matter on part of the Army of desire. It’s a matter of production and capability of doing it. As you know, you go to war with the Army you have, not the Army you might want or wish to have.

That’s his response. “You go to war with the army you have.” Okay, let’s say that’s true. The war started 21 months ago. The deficit of vehicle armor was brought up by many in the initial months of the war. So, as Rumsfeld suggests, does it take more than a year an a half to produce and send armor parts to the battlefield? Of course not. Just the same as with body armor–the government could have provided the troops with enough, they just didn’t fucking care. There was always enough money for that. There was enough money to give their cronies multi-billion dollar no-bid contracts of which we now see huge portions were stolen or pissed away. They got the $87 billion money which they touted as being “for the troops,” which Bush lashed out at Kerry for because he voted for an alternate $87 billion bill and therefore “denied” money “for the troops.” It was always “for the troops” when they wanted to win a political fight.

But now those same troops still don’t have the equipment they need, equipment that the Bush administration could’ve gotten them long ago. And those troops are still dying (1,276 as of today, most recently Private 1st Class Andrew M. Ward, KIA in Ramadi) and they still don’t have what they need, they’re digging through garbage to find “hillbilly armor” and Rumsfeld just stares back at this kid and tells him to suck it up. Worse than that, he actually tried to tell the soldier that he was being stupid about it: “I’ve talked a great deal about this with a team of people who have been working hard at the Pentagon… if you think about it, you can have all the armor in the world on a tank and a tank can be blown up. And you can have an up-armored Humvee and it can be blown up.” I’m sure that made the soldiers feel better about it. Of course, Rumsfeld was talking out of his ass at that particular moment; most vehicles aren’t blown up with such excessive amounts of explosives, and the armor would save many lives.

These are the people who got voted back into office. Rumsfeld is almost the only cabinet secretary who will stay on. I can only imagine that the primary reason soldiers vote predominantly Republican is due to the induction process in which the soldiers’ self-image is deliberately stripped down so it can be rebuilt, a process which, indirectly, has a political flavor. Here’s an interesting study someone should do: find the political leanings of people about to go into the military, then find those same people after one year in the military and ask the same questions. Because I have trouble understanding why people who are so abused and mistreated by Republicans vote for them so enthusiastically.

As General Wesley Clark said, “The Republicans do like weapons systems and Democrats like people.” He was being charitable, of course. The truth is, the Republicans in power don’t give a shit about the troops.

Categories: Iraq News, Political Ranting Tags: by
  1. Tim Kane
    December 9th, 2004 at 23:25 | #1

    Why do American Soldiers hate America?

    21 months. hmmm, thats about the amount of time it took to develope the Mustang fighter, the Hellcat fighter, I think entire Aircraft carriers were built in that kind of time in WWII, – thats about how long it took to build the transcontinental railroad. 21 months. What have they been doing?

    The Bush model is becoming unglued. The dollar is in danger of free fall, The army is understaffed, undergunned and over extended in Iraq and all because the most important thing was to give the filthy rich tax kickbacks. They are back door drafting grandmothers back into the Army now, yet Iraq is becoming less secure. When Bush looses all of his moral authority to lead the troops, what will that mean to America’s defense against real threats?

    I went from being a moderate centrist, hardly caring about politics in 1998 to a member of the reactionary moderate extremist. I hate the fact that Bush has made me into some kind of a wackoconspiracy nut job when it comes to politics.

    I am not surprised that he doesn’t give a f-ck about the troups. He dodged his chance to serve when he was young, he is not in community with them, but at photo ops and campaign speeches can pull off the elusion of being one with them.

    Soldiers are the ultimates chumps to the chimps plays. But its just one Chump in many.

    I am convinced that Bush wants to undermine every institution that was not created by Republicans. Which is 90% of the federal Goverment. Were talking Social Security, Medicaid/Medicare, Nato, UN, EPA (Actually Nixon created this). One way to do this is to create a free fall in the Dollar, forcing emergency measures to save the country.

    He creates crisis were there arn’t any, then deystroys the institutions under the guise of trying to save them. After the Emergency we will have a minimalist government because thats all we can afford – social security, the social contract all of that will be gone. Republicans will control government by manipulating elections and we will become a full bread banana republic. Its breathtaking to see America descend into a self imposed dark age – and baring some suprise in the 2006 election, it can’t be stopped.

Comments are closed.