Rumsfeld’s fig leaf falling
Monday, December 13, 2004
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER EDITORIAL BOARD
The fig leaves are tumbling from the cover story Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld gave to a soldier’s query on Wednesday about the lack of armored vehicles available in Iraq.
“It isn’t a matter of money. It isn’t a matter on the part of the Army of desire. It’s a matter of production and capability of doing it,” Rumsfeld answered when pressed on the armor question in Kuwait.
But that appears to be simply not true. Cox News Service reported Friday that both the company that makes Humvees for the military and the company that adds armor to the utility vehicles could make plenty more, if the Pentagon would ask them.
Also apparently not true are the assurances President Bush had given just the day before to families of Marine casualties during a visit to Camp Pendleton, Calif. “We’re doing everything we possibly can to protect your loved ones…”
There is still a critical shortage of armored-up Humvees and only a tiny percentage of the nearly 9,000 military transport trucks used to supply troops in Iraq are armored. Even the Humvees with added armor remain unprotected on the top and bottom, and the added weight of the armor reportedly has increased the stress on, and failure rate of, the vehicles’ transmissions.
The families of those risking their lives in Iraq ought not be reassured but enraged. This was a war of opportunity, not necessity, so there is no excuse for, as Rumsfeld put it, “going to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have.”