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Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Support Our Troops!

This is one of the few rallying cries I always back 100%. I may not support a particular war into which our troops are sent, but I am always concerned about their well-being, and I believe every concerned citizen ought to share this sentiment.

Apparently, some in the military establishment prioritize differently. Here is a report by Colonel David Hackworth about the plight of the of the US Army's 89th Company, 57th Transportation Battalion out of Fort Eustis which is currently deployed to Iraq and whose primary responsibility is traveling that country's dangerous roads and delivering various goods to the units in the field. According to Hackworth,
...they're driving thin-skinned trucks that wouldn't stop a heavy-duty spitball. Fiber doors don't come close to stopping AK-47 slugs, and a rocket-propelled grenade round rips through a truck like a paratroop boot through a barracks window.
That doesn't sound like a safe vehicle to drive through what can become an active battlefield on a moment's notice. However, the officers in charge appear not to consider this a high-priority issue.
When the 89th left Fort Eustis, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Helmick, the unit's former battalion commander, said they'd be issued up-armored trucks in Kuwait. The troops are still waiting. And their new commander, Lt. Col. Myrna Merced, doesn't seem to care if the soldiers are protected as long as the convoys run on time.

A soldier in Merced's battalion alleges she's "incompetent and certifiably insane. And our chain of command knows this and is doing nothing. In the meantime, my fellow soldiers are paying the ultimate price because we don't have the right stuff."

Another soldier in the 57th says: "She [Merced] is currently under investigation. Three of her company commanders have filed complaints on her. A BDE [Brigade] commander has ordered her to undergo psychiatric care, and medication."
Well, if what these soldiers are saying is correct, ladies and gentlemen, we have a battalion in the war theater under the command of somebody unstable enough to require psychiatric treatment. No further comment. Kudos to David Hackworth for once again telling it as it is, and let us hope these problems are fixed in the shortest possible order.

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