Friday, December 17, 2004

 

Where Do Our Priorities Lie?

Rumsfeld continues to come under criticism from Republican Senate members for the whole armor shitstorm. That's great and everything, but in all fairness, I've got to ask why it took until now to start putting the pressure on the Pentagon? I mean, I'm glad that reality is finally setting in, but why did it take a single question from a soldier (even if it was planted by a reporter) to get the ball rolling on this? 1,000 combat deaths didn't drive home this point sufficiently? Shame on Rumsfeld, but also shame on those that choose to speak up only now.

We've already allocated a couple hundred billion dollars to this war effort, and to think that in the 20 months since starting the war (not to mention the half-year-long run-up) we've found it possible to armor only 5,000 HUMMVs is ri-fuckin'-diculous. Sure, I'm sure that plenty of apologists will wring their hands and give standard excuses like we're got too much government regulation of contractors or that we're still suffering from Clinton-era cuts, but the fact remains that a 12-figure budget for this little exercise still hasn't resulted in putting a half-inch or so of steel plate between our soldiers and their enemy.

Yet, we still managed to pull off another anti-missile test this past week. It failed, and so it represents a $100B effort that has yet to bear a usable system. But if you want to hear Rumsfeld (a big proponent of missile defense during the Clinton era) talk about "a matter of physics", he isn't talking about trying to shoot down a tiny warhead moving at 18,000 MPH - he's instead trying to explain away the fact that we're simply not putting forth a reasonable effort to keep our men from getting killed in vehicles that were never designed to be front-line combat support vehicles (um, we learned this over 10 years ago - check out page 28).

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