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The Army bans privately purchased body armor

Support the troops! Support the troops! Support the troops!

But don’t let them try to protect themselves when the REMFs in the Pentagon can’t get them the body armor they need:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Soldiers will no longer be allowed to wear body armor other than the protective gear issued by the military, Army officials said Thursday, the latest twist in a running battle over the equipment the Pentagon gives its troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“We’re very concerned that people are spending their hard-earned money on something that doesn’t provide the level of protection that the Army requires people to wear. So they’re, frankly, wasting their money on substandard stuff,” said Col. Thomas Spoehr, director of materiel for the Army.

Sorry, son, we’ve got no body armor to give you, but we can’t let you go buying any body armor that might be weaker than the body armor we’re not giving you.

Are there any Republicans out there who are willing to take a stand for the troops?

“Outrageously we’ve seen that (soldiers) haven’t been getting what they need in terms of equipment and body armor,” said Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., who wrote legislation to have troops reimbursed for equipment purchases. “That’s totally unacceptable, and why this directive by the Pentagon needs to be scrutinized in much greater detail.”

Didn’t think so. Holding our government to account for the shameful lack of support for the troops, especially when Halliburton is raking in profit hand over fist even when they don’t fulfill their no-bid contract obligations, why, that’s so much harder than slapping a magnetic yellow ribbon on the back of the Town Car, ain’t it?

Still, it isn’t unimportant for the military to have safety standards:

“I don’t think the Army is wrong by doing this, because the Army has to ensure some level of quality,” said Paul Rieckhoff, executive director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. “They don’t want soldiers relying on equipment that is weak or substandard.”

But, Rieckhoff said, the military is partially to blame for the problem because it took too long to get soldiers the armor they needed. “This is the monster they made,” he said.

Indeed. You don’t want your soldiers going out and buying substandard armor and fighting as if they are fully protected when they are not. But tell me how substandard armor is worse than no armor at all? If someone is shooting at me and I don’t have a helmet, I’ll gladly throw a deep saucepan on my head and call it good enough for now.

This wouldn’t be a problem if not for the incredible incompetence and lack of planning by this administration hell bent on going to war.

Military officials have acknowledged that some troops — often National Guard or Reservists — went to war with lesser-quality protective gear than other soldiers were issued.

“We’ll be upfront and recognize that at the start of the conflict there were some soldiers that didn’t have the levels of protection that we wanted,” Spoehr said. Now, he added, “we can categorically say that whatever you’re going to buy isn’t as good as what you’re going to get” from the military.

And that shipment should be coming any day now, Private. Now get yer ass back out on patrol!

By the time this Iraquagmire is over, the Republican Party will have lost the military vote like the Democrats lost the South after the Civil Rights Act. And when they push that national debt to $10 trillion, they’ll lose the fiscal conservatives, too. It’s too bad it is going to take over five thousand dead soldiers (just you wait), over half a trillion dollars (mark my words), a domestic attack that makes 9/11 look like toilet-papering someone’s house (I imagine sometime around October 2008), and a major economic depression (try to avoid the sidewalks near Wall St.) before enough Americans can get past stopping the gays from doing whatever it is they’re upset at gays for doing and finally vote in their own self-interest and for the good of America (c’mon, America, vote for the lesser-evil of the two corporate whore parties in these next two elections, will ya?)

Sorry for the rant, but as a former National Guard troop with a National Guard brother-in-law spending his fourth year on active duty after signing up for two years as a part-timer, I get just a wee bit emotional about soldiers, especially Guardsmen, getting the shaft from their government… a shaft with Halliburton’s logo on it, thrust in forcefully without lube by oilmen in business with the House of Saud. I fantasize about having the power to snap my fingers and magically transport Pretzeldunce and Cheneyburton straight to Tal-Afar or Fallujah or Kirkuk with no body armor and an impossible mission. I monitor the casualty reports from Afghanistan and feel relief when my brother-in-law’s name is not on the list and guilt when I realize I felt relief at the fact that some other mother’s son just died.

I am sick of this war and sick of the incompetent criminal capitalist war profiteers who are running it.

[Post, cross, khaki, 1 ea. for Writ, Radical, FRU# 69-420]

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