Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Empty Armor Promises

Considering Bush's usual invocation of "support the troops" -- to thunderous applause of course -- this story from a couple of weeks ago should b reinterated.

Two years after Rumsfeld blithley informed his troops of this, it looks like we're still going to war with the army we have (or had) rather than the one we would wish for:
The thousands of troops that President Bush is expected to order to Iraq will join the fight largely without the protection of the latest armored vehicles that withstand bomb blasts far better than the Humvees in wide use.
Naturally, the Republican Congress did nothing to improve the situation.

But this botch really assumes a galling quality when listening to Gen. James T. Conway, commandant of the Marine Corps, who tells us that, well, those armoured vehicles are really "expensive." I was unware that this was a concern for the Pentagon. There seems to be plenty of money -- $25 billion in fact -- to dole out to Lockheed for the F-35, which won't come online for probably ten years.

This is just one more item in the litany that makes us wonder: on what exactly are we're spending $8 billion/month that the Pentagon is strapped by the costs of armoured vehicles? And why is Congress continuing to put up with this nonsense? Loren Thompson has one explanation and sounds a familiar refrain:
The key reason it is taking so long is pretty simple: At each step along the way for the past four years, the key policymakers have assumed we were just months away from beginning to withdraw. As a result, they never made long-term plans for occupying the country effectively.
They assumed we were months away from withdrawal, four years ago. Troops are continuing to die because "key policy makers," whoever they are, simply won't pay attention to what this administration is doing. Either that or the policy makers are Pentagon and White House wonks, one of them being this president, who simply don't care.


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