Thursday, May 13, 2004

Having your head up your ass is not good for your hearing 

This is hard to believe. No, it's not. It's very believable, when you think about it.

Wow. From Spencer Ackerman's TNR blog:

THE CRASSEST THING EVER SAID BY A MEMBER OF THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION: Today, speaking before hundreds of beleaguered American soldiers at a town hall meeting at Camp Victory in Baghdad, Donald Rumsfeld actually had the nerve to refer to his bureaucratic problems in Washington (you know, that torture thing) and say--again, in front of brave U.S. troops who put their lives and health on the line every day in Iraq--"I'm a survivor."

I wonder if it occurred to Rumsfeld how appalling his statement was when he heard questions like these from our troops:

Q: Sir, my unit, the 2nd Brigade -- (inaudible) -- Cav, we have five out of the six red zones in this country. And with the up- armored humvees, the new -- (off mike) -- humvees they're bringing over with the -- (inaudible) -- those doors are not as good as the ones on the up-armored humvees -- (inaudible). We even lost quite -- we lost some soldiers due to them, and we're trying to make a change -- (inaudible). The question is, are we going to get more up-armored humvees?

And the second question I wanted to ask is, they have the new -- (inaudible) -- vests out that covers your -- (inaudible). We need those because we have taken some casualties due to the shrapnel from IEDs going through the side. The front parts are good, but the sides are not. Thank you.

General Myers's answer: "We're trying to get them to you as fast as we can." Rumsfeld declined to field that one.

Q: This is the second time you've testified this week, sir, for pay and allocations in the budget for the armed forces ... Do we foresee an increase across the board so we maybe get more additional -- armored kits, or armor, hazard pay, weapons, basic health and comfort items for soldiers overseas?

General Myers's answer: "I'm not sure of any budget shortfall that prohibits from providing the kind of equipment we need to do our job. We have other issues in production and getting things going, like the up-armored humvees as we try to ramp up production; it takes time to facilitize a plant so they can produce more. But--so there's some lag times." Rumsfeld steered clear of that one, too.

Q: Sir, there are many DOD civilians who are here in the theater, and many of us are unarmed. And many times we're placed in harm's way in convoys and we have no means to protect ourselves. And I know there's been many memos and letters I've seen floating around saying it's the policy to arm civilians if they need to be armed, if they're in harm's way. But there seems to be a resistance -- (inaudible) -- to actually provide arms to us. I was wondering what the current policy is on that.

Rumsfeld took a swing: "I could admit I don't know." General Sanchez's follow-on: "We're working that and we have been for some time. And we'll get--I'll get a specific status for you. Okay?"

But, remember, Rumsfeld is the survivor.


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