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Rummy gets reamed by the troops

Instead of the usual pumped-up cheering session with carefully selected troops, Rummy got blasted in a Q&A; session in Kuwait. These soldiers are about to get deployed in Iraq, and they don’t have the resources they need — and they are not afraid to speak up. Please read the utter bullsh*t responses that Rumsfeld shovels; I don’t see him getting out there in the battlefield to get his ass shot at — he’d certainly make sure if it were his son or daughter out there he’d have the vehicles armored. Oh wait, if they were his relatives he’d get them out of having to serve. Nevermind. (AP):

Disgrunted U.S. soldiers complained to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumself on Wednesday about the lack of armor for their vehicles and long deployments, drawing a blunt retort from the Pentagon chief.

You go to war with the Army you have,” he said in a rare public airing of rank-and-file concerns among the troops.

In his prepared remarks earlier, Rumsfeld had urged the troops — mostly National Guard and Reserve soldiers — to discount critics of the war in Iraq and to help “win the test of wills” with the insurgents.

Some of soldiers, however, had criticisms of their own — not of the war itself but of how it is being fought.

Army Spc. Thomas Wilson, for example, of the 278th Regimental Combat Team that is comprised mainly of citizen soldiers of the Tennessee Army National Guard, asked Rumsfeld in a question-and-answer session why vehicle armor is still in short supply, nearly two years after the start of the war that ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

Why do we soldiers have to dig through local landfills for pieces of scrap metal and compromised ballistic glass to uparmor our vehicles?” Wilson asked. A big cheer arose from the approximately 2,300 soldiers in the cavernous hangar who assembled to see and hear the secretary of defense.

Rumsfeld hesitated and asked Wilson to repeat his question.

“We do not have proper armored vehicles to carry with us north,” Wilson said after asking again.

Rumsfeld replied that troops should make the best of the conditions they face and said the Army was pushing manufacturers of vehicle armor to produce it as fast as humanly possible.

And, the defense chief added, armor is not always a savior in the kind of combat U.S. troops face in Iraq, where the insurgents’ weapon of choice is the roadside bomb, or improvised explosive device that has killed and maimed hundreds, if not thousands, of American troops since the summer of 2003.

You can have all the armor in the world on a tank and it can (still) be blown up,” Rumsfeld said.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding