Thursday, October 13, 2005

Petition for Getting Our Troops Armor They Need

To save money, US Army officials order just 50 percent of the ALQ-156 flare-launching systems needed for the Illinois-Iowa National Guard fleet of Chinook helicopters. The flare-launching systems allow helicopters to evade heat-seeking missiles. “A conscious
decision was made not to buy as many as we need,” Lt. Gen. Roger C. Schultz, director of the Army National Guard, later explains
the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “It's a decision that has some level of risk with it.” [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 12/27/2003]
People and organizations involved: Roger C. Schultz
1997

Major Clifford E. Day at the Air Command and Staff College in Alabama concludes in a paper that the US military's reliance on soft-skinned Humvees during the operation in Mogadishu, Somalia “needlessly put ... troops in harms way without the proper equipment to successfully complete the mission.” [MSNBC, 4/15/2003 Sources: Critical Analysis on the Defeat of Task Force Ranger]

(January 2003)

The Bush administration's proposed 2004 defense budget would cap raises for E-1s, E-2s and O-1s at 2 percent, which is
significantly below the average raise for military personnel of 4.1 percent. [The Army Times, 6/30/2003]
People and organizations involved: Bush administration

(2003)

The Illinois-Iowa National Guard is deployed to Iraq. The unit is sent with 14 of its Chinook helicopters. However only two of them are outfitted with aircraft survivability equipment. The remaining helicopters will operate in Iraq unprotected. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 12/27/2003]

(Summer 2003-March 2004)

The US Army?s official guidance on the issue of “hardening” soft-skinned Humvees and other lightly-armored vehicles includes a recommendation for soldiers to put sandbags on the floorboards to reduce the impact of explosions. Since the summer, the soldiers' preferred solution to the problem of unprotected vehicles has been to hire local contractors to add steel to the bodies of their vehicles

(see March 2003 and later). [MSNBC, 4/15/2003]


http://cooperativeresearch.org/timeline.jsp?timeline=us_military_s_treatment_of_us_troops

Congressman John B. Larson Tuesday called for an immediate Congressional investigation into the Pentagon’s procurement system that has led to more than a year’s delay in supplying improved body armor to soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. As part of that investigation, Larson (CT-1) said that Pentagon officials, including Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, should be held liable for any findings of dereliction or wrongdoing.

“These delays are a disgrace,” Larson said. “The administration has repeatedly lapsed in its duty to provide the men and women it sends into war the best equipment possible. After two years and with all the appropriate funding levels, an investigation needs to be done into why this hasn’t been done. Our troops should not have to wait a day, let alone a year. Our men and women need all the protection we can offer them, and their families and the American people need to know that we’re doing everything we can to protect them. If we can spend billions of dollars on the national missile defense program and the nuclear bunker buster program and tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, there’s no reason for this to be happening.”

Larson said that action should be taken against Pentagon officials if the investigations yield evidence of willful neglect or incompetence.

If so, those officials should resign or be dismissed, he said.

That wait for upgraded armor is symptomatic of the Pentagon’s failure since the war began to adequately outfit troops with body
protection¸ Larson said. Despite complaints from troops, their family and Congress, the Administration has dragged in acquiring and distributing the armor, he added.

“The Administration has wanted to avoid talking about timetables, but giving our troops safer body armor is one timetable that cannot be put off. It is a top priority that needs to be acted on now. If those in charge aren’t standing up to that responsibility, then we need
leaders who will. ”

A poorly-run procurement system has stalled the replacement of existing armor with thicker ceramic plates that could better protect military personnel from insurgent gunfire. Reports cited that gunfire has killed at least 325 troops, about half the number killed by bombs.

Larson has longstanding concerns about Pentagon’s record of supplying body armor throughout the Iraq war. He introduced an
amendment, passed in the 2004 defense spending bill, requiring the Pentagon to reimburse military personnel and family members who spent their own money for protective gear that the Pentagon had failed to supply.

From the outset, troops were sent to Iraq with a shortage of armor. Larson pushed for the reimbursement measure following a 2003 forum on Iraq in East Hartford. At the forum, an East Hartford mother Pene Palifka said that her son, Bill Palifka of the CT National Guard’s 248th Engineer Co., had been sent to Iraq without the “Interceptor” body armor that American troops were supposed to have been issued. Worried for her son’s safety, she spent about $1,100 to buy it for him.

The measure covered purchases through the end of 2003, since the military assured Congress that in 2004 it would supply upgraded
armor to all troops – the same thicker-plated armor hanging in procurement limbo.

“So far the Pentagon’s assurances have been empty,” Larson said. “Our civilian leaders need to be held to their word.”

Investigate Body Armor Delays for Troops

No matter what side of the aisle you plant your butt on, we can all agree our troops deserve the best equipment in a timely matter.

http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/viewArticle.asp?articleID=1905

"Congressman John B. Larson Tuesday called for an immediate Congressional investigation into the Pentagon's procurement system that has led to more than a year's delay in supplying improved body armor to soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. As part of that investigation, Larson (CT-1) said that Pentagon officials, including Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, should be held liable for any findings of dereliction or wrongdoing. "

I prefer hanging to liable, but I am from Texas.

"From the outset, troops were sent to Iraq with a shortage of armor. Larson pushed for the reimbursement measure following a 2003 forum on Iraq in East Hartford. At the forum, an East Hartford mother Pene Palifka said that her son, Bill Palifka of the CT National Guard's 248th Engineer Co., had been sent to Iraq without the "Interceptor" body armor that American troops were supposed to have been issued. Worried for her son's safety, she spent about $1,100 to buy it for him. "

Our war families should not be doling out money for this. If we got money to build pointless bridges, we should have enough to outfit our men and women with the best we got.

Here's a good exercise in American absurditiy. Since I am in central Mexico, I can't pull this off, but... Can someone call UPS or DHL and see how long it would take to send a package to Baghdad? Then you could easily ask why it only took two days to send your package to the troops, but the Pentagon has dragged their feet on this for over 2 years. Destroy the perfume warrior princes with wit, not anger. Works every time.

"It is the duty of the patriot to protect his country from its government." -- Thomas Paine

http://elandslide.org/elandslide/petition.cfm?campaign=veterans&refer=home

Let's REALLY Thank Our Brave Soldiers...
Restore Bush's Cuts to Veterans Benefits!

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