US Troops Complain about Insuffecient Armor Protection




 
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December 9th, 2004  
Kane
 

Topic: US Troops Complain about Insuffecient Armor Protection


Quote:
U.S. Troops in Kuwait Fire Complaints at Rumsfeld

Wed Dec 8, 5:08 PM ET

By Tabassum Zakaria

CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Wednesday faced open criticism from his own U.S. troops, who complained about inadequate armor for Iraq (news - web sites) and questioned a policy that stops them from leaving the military when their voluntary term ends.

The unusually blunt public exchange came at a town hall-style session with American soldiers at this camp 12 miles south of the border with Iraq, where more than 1,200 U.S. troops have died since the March 2003 invasion.


Hundreds of troops applauded a comrade who complained to Rumsfeld that U.S. forces were being forced to dig up scrap metal to protect their vehicles in Iraq because of a shortage of armored ones.


"Now why do we soldiers have to dig through local landfills for pieces of scrap metal and compromised ballistic glass to up-armor our vehicles? And why don't we have those resources readily available to us?" the soldier asked.


Rumsfeld asked the soldier to repeat the question.


The soldier said, "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 conceded that "not every vehicle has the degree of armor that it would be desirable for it to have," and said the Army was hurrying to provide more armored vehicles, adding 400 per month.


But 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."


"If you think about it, you can have all the armor in the world on a tank and a tank can be blown up. And you can have an up-armored Humvee and it can be blown up," Rumsfeld said.


Rumsfeld also faced other questions about equipment shortages and the U.S. role in Iraq after elections scheduled for Jan. 30.


"Now settle down, settle down. Hell, I'm an old man, and it's early in the morning. I'm just gathering my thoughts here," the 72-year-old Rumsfeld said lightheartedly at one point.


"UTTERLY UNACCEPTABLE"


In Washington, Democratic Sen. Christopher Dodd (news, bio, voting record) of Connecticut called Rumsfeld's comments about the armor "stunning," and said in a letter to the secretary, "Your response -- 'You go to war with the Army you have' -- is utterly unacceptable."


The Army has acknowledged problems in supplying sufficient numbers of the armored Humvee, a light vehicle that without extra armor can be especially vulnerable to attacks by insurgents using roadside bombs and rocket-propelled grenades.


At the Pentagon (news - web sites), chief spokesman Lawrence Di Rita said U.S. Central Command, responsible for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan (news - web sites), had asked for 21,000 Humvees with extra armor, and about 19,000 had been provided.


Bush administration officials, in particular Rumsfeld, have repeatedly rejected charges that insufficient forces were sent to Iraq after last year's invasion to stabilize the country, which is now in the grip of a bloody insurrection.

Another soldier asked Rumsfeld what the Pentagon was doing "to address shortages and antiquated equipment that National Guard soldiers ... are going to roll into Iraq with?" The soldier was referring to allegations that regular Army units have been given better equipment than reservists.

"No way I can prove it, but I'm told that the Army is breaking its neck to see that there is not a differentiation" in the quality of equipment, Rumsfeld said.

Another soldier asked Rumsfeld about the Army's "stop-loss" policy that has prevented thousands of troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan from leaving the military when their volunteer service commitment ends.

Rumsfeld said it was a fact of life for troops during war because it helped maintain "cohesion" for units needed on the battlefield.

"It's basically a sound principle, it's nothing new, it's been well understood" by soldiers, he said. "My guess is it will continue to be used as little as possible, but that it will continue to be used."

In Washington, Republican Senator John McCain criticized that approach. "We've got to expand the size of the military in order to handle a situation we're going to be in for many years, and stop-loss is a terrible thing for morale," he told CNN.

Rumsfeld later flew to India for talks with Indian officials at the end of a trip that took him to Kabul to see Karzai sworn in on Tuesday. (Additional reporting by Charles Aldinger and Will Dunham at the Pentagon)
Source: Reuters

What do you think in terms of its impact on the safety of US ground troops?
December 9th, 2004  
egoz
 
we touched on it a bit when someone asked about up armored hummers in iraq. some troops were actually complaining about the extra weight of the hummers with up armor that made it difficult to transport by helo. but my opinion is the soldiers on the ground know what they need. so why not give it to them? at the same time you really can't always get what you want because of simple logistics. SNAFU pretty much says it all.
December 9th, 2004  
egoz
 
Now this is interesting. It is President Bushes response to the questioning of Rumsfeld. The interesting part is a member of the media, supposedly, helped put together some questions with the soldiers since the media wasn't allowed to ask any questions themselves.
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December 9th, 2004  
03USMC
 
 
That really does not surprise me in the least. Yes they should Up Armor the Hummvees and Prime movers. But that only gives limited protection against small arms fire and roadside bombs. Even an up armored isn't gonna fare well against an RPG.
December 10th, 2004  
RnderSafe
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 03USMC
That really does not surprise me in the least. Yes they should Up Armor the Hummvees and Prime movers. But that only gives limited protection against small arms fire and roadside bombs. Even an up armored isn't gonna fare well against an RPG.
Nor the majority of IEDs. Uparmoureds are also very slow, and very cumbersome .. very hard on the engine, transmission and suspension. Not to say they do not have their place, and we do need some .. but they will hardly be the end all be all of casualties, despite what the media likes to portray.

I've always had a choice, and have always chosen not to go with the uparmoured SUVs, HMMWVs .. not enough mauverability, too cramped and not enough protection to bother.
December 10th, 2004  
Italian Guy
 
 
What do RPG, IED, HMMMW etc stand for?
December 10th, 2004  
Redleg
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Italian Guy
What do RPG, IED, HMMMW etc stand for?
RPG = Rocket Propelled Grenade
IED = Improvised Explosive DEvice
HMMWV = High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (Hummer)


Any more questions??
December 10th, 2004  
Italian Guy
 
 
No, thanks sir . 8)