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Sunday, October 31, 2004

Cannon Fodder

Or, perhaps, I should have titled this one "Tax Cuts At Work". Here is the essence of it,- the US troops in Iraq are still not properly fitted with the armor protection, GPS's and other items they need to do their job and stay alive doing it. At times, soldiers (or their families) end up buying the gear themselves.

Here is yet another piece on this problem in The New York Times. The gist of it can be surmised from the first two articles.
When the 1544th Transportation Company of the Illinois National Guard was preparing to leave for Iraq in February, relatives of the soldiers offered to pay to weld steel plates on the unit's trucks to protect against roadside bombs. The Army told them not to, because it would provide better protection in Iraq, relatives said.

Seven months later, many of the company's trucks still have no armor, soldiers and relatives said, despite running some of the most dangerous missions in Iraq and incurring the highest rate of injuries and deaths among the Illinois units deployed there.
Every time I read an article of this sort, my first reaction is, predictably, the issuance of a stream of invective directed at those responsible. The invective grows in its intensity as days and months of the occupation of Iraq tick by.

The problem is not something that just popped up. Col. David Hackworth, one of the highest decorated US warriors of all times, has written about these same issues previously, as have many others.

In every street in the US one gets to see the "Support Our Troops" banners. But without real action, these banners are bound to remain just that,- a bunch of pieces of plastic with lettering on them.

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