12.08.2004

Tennessee's 278th puts Rumsfeld on the spot


Today, SecDef Rummsfeld dropped in on the boys for a little pep talk, because when you're sending boys off to war while pushing papers and kissing the president's ass it's pretty damn easy to be peppy.

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But he picked up a bit of a heckler. One soldier asked Rumsfeld,
"Why do we soldiers have to dig through local landfills for pieces of scrap metal and compromised ballistic glass to up-armor our vehicles?"
Hundreds of troops cheered the soldier, who was Spc. Thomas Wilson from Nashville of the 278th Regimental Combat Team of the Tennessee Army National Guard. It's not clear whether everyone else there was from the 278th or not. The 278th is based in Tennessee, with units spread throughout east and middle TN, a lot of them here around Knoxville.

Rumsfeld asked the soldier to repeat the question.
"A lot of us are getting ready to move north (into Iraq) relatively soon. Our vehicles are not armored. We're digging pieces of rusted scrap metal and compromised ballistic glass that's already been shot up, dropped, busted -- picking the best out of this scrap to put on our vehicles to take into combat."

"We do not have proper armament vehicles to carry with us north."

Rumsfeld's reply was that "not every vehicle has the degree of armor that it would be desirable for it to have."
Yeah, 6 yards of solid steel would be desirable, but at the very least a plate of steel would be simple for the Army to provide. After all these guys, and gals, are getting killed both on the way to Iraq and on the way home.
Rumsfeld added, "As you know, you go to war with the Army you have, not the Army you might want or wish to have at a later time."
In other words, calm down. Tough shit.

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Those guys are soldiers and will soldier on with or without uparmored Humvees. They aren't bitching and whining. They just want to know why the Army thinks a slab of metal is worth more than their life. And Rumsfeld seems to have a hard time fathoming why they could be so upset when he sends them to battle on the cheap. 'Course, he's never been shot at so it probably all seems remote to him.

Fuck him and this whole goddamn war. I wouldn't take ten Princeton peacetime ROTC Navy pilot forture-500 Donald H. Rumsfelds for one Spc. Thomas Wilson from Nashville of the 278th Regimental Combat Team of the Tennessee Army National Guard.



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