December 9, 2008


What Donald Rumsfield failed to mention when he famously said that America had to "go to war with the army it has" in response to criticisms from soldiers about a lack of armor is that the US went to war with the army it couldn't be bothered upgrading.

The US Marine Corps asked the Pentagon's inspector general to perform the audit after coming under fire for setting aside an urgent request from field commanders in 2005 for Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) armored vehicles.

"DoD (Department of Defense) was aware of the threat posed by mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in low-intensity conflicts and of the availability of mine-resistant vehicles years before insurgent actions began in Iraq in 2003," the audit found.

"Yet DoD did not develop requirements for, fund, or acquire MRAP-type vehicles for low-intensity conflicts that involved mines and IEDs," a summary of the report said.

"As a result, the department entered into operations in Iraq without having taken available steps to acquire technology to mitigate the known mine and IED risk to soldiers and Marines," it said.

Heads should roll for this, even now, including those in charge of Marine Corps procurement, the Corps itself and Rummie as top man at the DoD at the time (and we all know where the buck eventually stops). Their inertia and lack of action even long after it was obvious what was needed led to hundreds of unnecessary deaths and tens of thousands of wounded, ruined lives. We're talking about at least half the entire butcher's bill from Bush's military adventures. This isn't a matter of history to the crippled, the dead and their families and justice demands accountability.

Can servicemen even bring a class action suit? I'm thinking about if the powers-that-be won't respond appropriately, which I highly doubt they will.

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