The Daily Mislead – 2004-04-27 08:53:51
President Bush has promised to listen to military commanders and give the troops whatever they need to defend themselves in Iraq. White House spokesman Scott McClellan said last week that the “the President looks to the commanders in the theater to make the determinations of what is needed for our troops” (1).
Yet the President continues to withhold funding that military officials say is desperately needed to plug shortfalls in armor and protection equipment (2). And, according to a new study, those shortfalls have meant 25% more American casualties in Iraq (3).
According to Newsweek, an unofficial study circulating through the army shows that of the 190 soldiers killed by landmines, improvised explosive devices, or rocket-propelled grenade attacks, “almost all those were killed while in unprotected vehicles, which means that perhaps one in four of those killed in combat in Iraq might be alive if they had had stronger armor around them.”
Additionally, “thousands more who were unprotected have suffered grievous wounds, such as the loss of limbs.”
Instead of following through on his promise to give the military the protection equipment it needs, however, President Bush has left major funding holes in the most basic areas. The situation has gotten so dire that military commanders last week desperately begged Congress to fill key shortfalls left by the President’s budget.
They described a $132 million shortfall for bolt-on vehicle armor, an $879 million in shortfall for combat helmets, and a $40 million shortfall for body armor.
Meanwhile, according to the Chicago Tribune, the White House has “dramatically reduced the number of Abrams tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles in Iraq” — even as the fighting intensified, leaving troops to “ride in lightly protected Humvees, trucks and troop carriers” that are much more vulnerable to attack (4).
1. Press Briefing by Scott McClellan, 04/21/2004, http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1208427&l=30741.
2. “War May Require More Money Soon”, Washington Post, 04/21/2004, http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1208427&l=30742.
3. “The Human Cost”, Newsweek, May 3, 2003, http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1208427&l=30743.
4. “Insurgents’ escalation taxing U.S. capabilities”, Chicago Tribune, 04/24/2004, http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1208427&l=30744.
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