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12.11.2004

The "armor" question to Rumsfeld was a put-up job

(Cue the "Drudge Report" flashing light) Drudge is reporting that the soldier that asked Sec. Rumsfeld the question about lack of armor for Humvees was put up to it by a reporter.

An email from the reporter is posted in the Drudge story, but here is an interesting highlight:
I was told yesterday that only soldiers could ask questions so I brought two of them along with me as my escorts. Before hand we worked on questions to ask Rumsfeld about the appalling lack of armor their vehicles going into combat have. While waiting for the VIP, I went and found the Sgt. in charge of the microphone for the question and answer session and made sure he knew to get my guys out of the crowd.

So during the Q&A session, one of my guys was the second person called on. When he asked Rumsfeld why after two years here soldiers are still having to dig through trash bins to find rusted scrap metal and cracked ballistic windows for their Humvees, the place erupted in cheers so loud that Rumsfeld had to ask the guy to repeat his question.
This is obviously a case of a reporter using the subjects of his own reporting to advance an agenda. Case in point,
The great part was that after the event was over the throng of national media following Rumsfeld- The New York Times, AP, all the major networks -- swarmed to the two soldiers I brought from the unit I am embedded with. ... The national media asked if they were the guys with the armor problem and then stuck cameras in their faces. The NY Times reporter asked me to email him the stories I had already done on it, but I said he could search for them himself on the Internet and he better not steal any of my lines.
Now the question is, what was the reporter's motivation? Putting the soldiers up to asking the question was wrong in my mind, but why did he crave the coverage for this story? Was it to help the soldiers, or was it to stick it to the DOD and the Secretary?

Michelle Malkin states that
The reporter sounds like a bit of a creep, but his heart seems to be in the right place and whether or not soldiers were "coached," the e-mail does not take away from the fact that the armor gap is a real problem."
She is correct, the gap is real. But I take a slightly different view on it, there will always be a gap in military equipment. No country, even one with the industrial capability of the US, is ever going to be able to give their soldiers everything they want or need. We need to work as hard as we can to provide our soldiers with what they need, but we will never be able to give them everything they deserve.

Every soldier in the US Armed Forces is risking his life for us, and those lives are so precious that what they deserve is everything, and that's is just not possible. As Rumsfeld said, "you go to war with the army you have, not the army you may want."

UPDATE: INDC Journal has a good (but not big) round-up of coverage of this story in the blogosphere.

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2 Comments:

  • Rumsfeld's response "you go to war with the army you have, not the army you may want" is so rediculous. DOD could have requested dramatic increases in production from defense contractors in the months leading up to the invasion.
    Also who cares if the question was planted or who asked it, the fact of the matter is that it brought to light a serious issue in regards to the safty of our troops. As of now it looks like it has initiated a response as news reports have said their will be a large increase in armor production. Looks like it worked.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:01 PM  

  • The issue here is not whether or not this is a problem, I absolutely think it is. But the DOD is huge, the amount of procurement that goes into preparing for and executing a war is enormous. With this as the frame of reference, it is reasonable to assume that not everything goes perfectly well. In WWII the US troopers used pieces of German beach defenses to weld on to their tanks as hedge busters. Should they have had equipment to do this? Yes. Did the US knwo they would have to be going through the hedgerows? Yes. Why wasn't it done? Well, I'm just guessing but building planes, tanks, trucks, and ships to invade Europe with probably took up resources that could have been used to come up with the hedgerow cutters.

    I'm not saying that the question was invalid, I am saying that we cannot possibly supply an Army with everything, we simply have to do our best.

    By Blogger Brian, at 5:17 PM  

What do you think?

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