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Pentagon fails to protect troops in Iraq

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August 23, 2007

The Pentagon expects to deliver only 1,500 mine-proof armored vehicles to Iraq by the end of the year, less than half the number promised a month ago, a spokesman said Wednesday.

Press secretary Geoff Morrell said the Pentagon will not be able to meet its goal of delivering 3,500 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles by the end of the year.

“If we could get 1,500 to theater by the end of this year that would be a positive development,” he said.

Morrell said production of the vehicles will ramp up through December, and the Pentagon still hopes to meet its production target by the end of the year.

But it takes about 50 days to equip and ship a vehicle to Iraq, too long to get the bulk of the newly produced vehicles to Iraq by the end of the year, he said.

“We’re trying very hard to condense the time it takes to equip these vehicles and get them to theater,” he said.

Morrell initially attributed the delays to not being able to line up enough vendors to meet the production goal, which he described as a “best case scenario.” But he later told reporters that was wrong.

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates made the MRAPs the Defense Department’s top acquisition priority after learning that not a single marine has been killed in one.

On July 18, the Pentagon announced plans to use a 1.2 billion dollar boost in funding accelerate production of the million dollar vehicles.

Assistant Secretary of Defense John Young said then that the Pentagon hoped to produce 3,900 MRAPs by the end of the year, and deliver 3,500 of them to Iraq.

The MRAP’s raised chassis and V-shaped hull is designed to deflect explosions outward, offering greater underbelly protection against roadside mines than Humvees.

The Marines have only about 200 of the vehicles in theater. The army, which had resisted buying more because of their greater weight, has only about 300 similarly designed armored vehicles in Iraq, Pentagon officials said.

12 Responses to Pentagon fails to protect troops in Iraq

  1. TeklaThoenblad

    August 24, 2007 at 5:14 am

    During WWII it took an average of 56 days to build and equip a Liberty Ship. Now it’s taking 50 days to build an armored vehicle?

  2. Jellicoe

    August 24, 2007 at 1:54 pm

    It’s simple. GET OUT NOW.

  3. gene

    August 23, 2007 at 8:43 am

    We all know here at CHB that all this crap coming from our government (irregardless which branch) is mostly (just that) “CRAP” talk, ie. excrement pooring forth on a daily bases. God how I have begun to hate these people. My faith in this nation has totally evaporated but the memories of a different time will always remain.

    All I have left now is a strong desire to help and their are plently of opportunities locally to do that. I do appreciate all who post here and dam sure enjoy your comments.

    Couple of ativan, a good stiff drink and head on over to CHB…well it just don’t get much better than that!!!!

  4. michaelstephenlevinson

    August 23, 2007 at 9:35 am

    The following is exactly about the vehicle situation in Iraq, and is part of my Exit Strategy essay. When I was a candidate for president, in 1988, I made a half hour speech on New Hampshire Public Television. The station manager told the newspapers and all the student volunteers operating the TV equipment (they charged me $515 for the studio time) that I was going top strip naked in the middle of the speech so they listed Motor Week in the papers.

    In spite of only a couple – three hundred voters watching part, flipping their remotes, 43 people voted for me. The NHPTV sprechen is on You Tube! It’s uploaded backwards, part three first, but go to YouTube and type in PoetProphet – and see me describing Glow Bell War Ming 18 years ago from my Television Scripture c. 1971. michaelslevinson dot commie is my campaign site – a work in progress.

    When you read the following you will see my post is exactly about the vehicle issue!

    We either refocus our presence in Iraq, on democracy and commerce for their own sakes, or pull up stakes! Americans out of uniform in Iraq are death squad targets, as I, on Hoover’s original list, am FBI’s most potent, oldest target. Lucky, J. Edgar’s group is squad less, their fascist itch, gone since Ruby Ridge, and now, after all of these years, arrived on the set, Hoover’s Jew. See Slimes’ archive; Enter, “jacklegs jumping up.” Read Maureen. Bush’s blurt is calling for a Hoover crew.

    Liken Iraq’s interim constitution to our own Articles of Confederation. Iraq needs a constitution that will last. They do not have one yet. Ours should be their base. We are the youngest nation on the planet, with the oldest standing government. Our constitution and Bill of Rights should be translated, and the Iraqis challenged to read it.

    The Iraqi people might embrace our tried and tested methods where everyone’s rights are protected and all religions are equal under the rule of law! Our own Constitution, in place, could bring about closure to the Iraqis’ internecine fighting, leaving only Saddam’s Baathists, and al Qaeda’s sponsored terrorists for the Iraqi militias to deal with.

    We should be going over our constitution for the Iraqis line by line on television all day long; I’m ready to do it, and in their newspapers, too, so Iraq’s people adapt our constitution as their own. Unless we win the peace, the war was completely a waste, all those lives wasted for Bush’s vanity, but to win we need some innovation, beyond our constitution, with thousands more of our own people doing their part, some good in Iraq, or we can’t pull out.

    Those going over should be civilians, not soldiers in uniform! It’s time the American people are embedded with the Iraqis, key to our success! We need to deliver our constitution to every village, pass out translated copies with a hand shake, and help establish democracy in Iraq, from the bottom up, which is the way democracy has always started up, contrary to Bush’s style of doing business, top down above us, and to do it right, to win, we need the right truck.

    In order to leave Iraq, peace, our victory, we must supplement our troops with 40,000 citizen ambassadors. President Bush must order an independent retrofitting of ten thousand off road trucks that today gather dust at our dealerships, with volunteer ambassadors from every state aboard, in forty vehicle teams. Christen our trucks, The Scorpion Brigades, with license plates from every state, and Onstar hooked up, so we are there, too. F-150’s, Sierras, and Silverados are made for the job. I can hear the announcer’s voice proclaiming, “like Iraq!”

    In my administration this dangerous civilian volunteer mission will pay minimum $27 an hour with double time for overtime, including life insurance paid by Uncle Sam. The president must instruct our potential citizen ambassadors to go to their favorite dealerships and register for emergency service. His refusal our reason to immediately begin his impeachment! Required you bring your own assault rifles with cases of ammo, too; and not be afraid to pull the trigger with a person in the crosshairs, or you can’t make the trip. In Iraq kill al Qaeda or be killed.

    The “I” in the acronym IED, precedes the “E” for Explosive. “D” is for Device. “I” they say, is for Improvised, but we are the true innovators, not our acro-bureaucrats. Commonest of sense, our ‘can-do’ American spirit dictates the take out menu for off-road, retrofit embedding. Coat trucks desert cream, especially the chrome; uniformly splotch beige; rig grills with cast iron shields to protect motors, also splotch; beef suspensions; enlarge gas tanks; add Mobile One to crank with charcoal dip filters of air conditioning. Fasten compasses to dash. Reupholster camper tops with police grade Kevlar and Dragon Skin, same stuff in door panels. Using junkyard iron, plate truck undersides and doors. Be nimble enough to squeeze through a sunroof or stay home and dream.

    Include the best dash-bracketed 40 band CB’s and most importantly, high powered binoculars, with police radar guns, too, distance calibrated, so when our Scorpion Brigades dash around the desert floor in forty-tooth combs we mean any suspicious Iraqis rolling, or foreign Jihads going home, stopping to plant a road-side bomb, and then rolling on, are guaranteed their surface-to-surface laser-guided ticket.

    Load cases of bottled water, freeze-dried everything, and microwaves, with delicious ready-to-eat stuff bought local, off of the retail shelf.

    Every mission critical democracy truck flown over should include a digital camcorder and laptops with wireless Internet access, so we can see what is up with our citizen volunteers. The camper tops need tow missile brackets, so over night, trained civilian gunners can sit their tails on the spare tires to fire. Every quad cab has to have 50 caliber machine gun brackets on their roof, so when the need arises, whoever rides shotgun on the border can ride standing upright in the sunroof, and stinger a crossing suicide bomber, besides the foreign interlopers going home on leave, who need their tires blown out in their tracks, in the middle of nowhere, then swatted like flies.

    We should be getting our quad cabs readied for off road desert duty immediately! The army pipeline for bureaucracies’ armored vehicles is 18 months. Our Scorpion Brigades could get their iron plating welded and ready for emergency service inside 48 hours!

    The president must speak to us; give the order. C5-A Constellations should be flying from city to city, loading trucks bumper-to-bumper with crews aboard, tailgate parties scheduled to be held on the desert floor. Bush’s refusal is a major reason to throw him out! We cannot allow Bush to sacrifice any more of our precious kids in a guerrilla gun battle that refuses to finish, that guaranteed, without these above described, retrofit, quad-cab 4-wheel drive, off-road trucks in the mix.

    The genuine threat of impeachment could motivate his wife to read her Bush our riot act. The wimp must surely realize the more our troops are wounded or killed, the less likely republicans will hold their offices, shown by the mid-term elections of 2006. When this was first written down, before FBI came knocking on my door with my email to editors of newspapers in hand, Americans killed in Iraq numbered 650 and counting. 4000 were reported as wounded, politic-speak for body parts sheared off, and 13,000 casualties. What qualifies the label: casualty?

    Ten thousand trucks, four civilian ambassadors in each, is the minima required to establish a foundation for Iraqi democracy and peace. As long as Bin Laden sends volunteers to al Qeada in Iraq, why can’t we?

    Besides visiting every country hamlet and town, to make friends, assess needs and begin a grass roots, people to people Marshall Plan; in groups of forty, with cells and CB radios, our Scorpion Brigades will seal, in and out, all of Iraq’s borders, guarding the oil pipe lines, too, while watching all the highways and byways, in quartets and pairs, parked off-road a few miles apart, their CB’s and cop-car radar guns, powered to mark insurgents that pull off road to plant explosives, along with their human detonators, left back to trigger their remotes from behind the nearest berm.

    Our spotters can CB down the two-lanes which car needs disabling, etc., then proceed to take out the sucker left there to blow us up. The Scorpion Brigades on guard will nail each and every insurgent they encounter especially by the border, enabling us to secure Iraq at large.

    The Scorpion Brigades, ten thousand trucks strong, will binocular every checkpoint, neutering that issue. The Jihad insurgency pays its own way, smuggling oil they cash out every day in Jordan and Syria. We will ‘ticket’ the tankers long before they pull up to the Iraqi border.

    Insurgency is a full time occupation. But insurgents have to eat. When we own the length of all the borders with our Scorpion Brigades, the continuous feed of recycled terrorists from around the Middle East will be canceled, as will their means of finance, which are smuggled goods.

    10,000 quad-cabs, four people strong in each, ought to be enough to control all of Iraq’s borders, visit every hamlet and town, and also own the roads leading to the outskirts of the al Qaeda controlled provinces.

    We want the Iraqi parents to let us bring back 25 thousand of their kids to America with us, to live in America and go to our schools, for a couple years anyway, so the kids are safe from flaring violence in Iraq, and learning democracy here. This kid exchange, for the Iraqis, goes with Congress awarding Iraq favored nation status, so our citizen quad cab ambassadors can palaver ready deals with the farmers in every village we visit for all their figs, nuts and dates, packed on the spot for export, in exchange for American cash over the Iraqi barrelhead.

    I seek the nomination of both political parties, so we present to the world a united face, the first step toward my coming natch a rill that will suffice as world peace, beginning with a peaceful night, when all the world’s peoples will be doing the same thing at the same time: watching my whirled wide sprechen on TV. I promise in advance, to spout a delicate sensible, ‘mull tie ling well’ rhyme, in every line, so all on the planet, our good ship mother earth, feel they are participants.

    Regardless your party affiliation, my Iraq Exit Strategy is a viable way to stage a military draw down and get out without a debacle. Unless we seal Iraq’s borders first, when the date certain for leaving is public, and we begin a pull out, al Qaeda cells from surrounding Arabic lands will send recruits to practice bag an American, the Bush legacy: our patriots body bagged, but beheaded, their missing heads lined on the roadside, heads as melons, wired to a scarecrow stake, dead eyes on a roll, haunting our troops on their way to the airport, remotely blown. Osama Bin Laden’s barbaric message will reign. We must not allow it.

    Nor can we stall Iraqi civil war or talk them down absent my program. The above, my end war strategy isn’t a game. Dumpster Bush-Cheney and their plan for ‘privatizing Iraq’s oil. Impeach them. Let Iraqis be in charge of their own oil and country. With 25 thousand Iraqi kids in America, going to school, Iraq will become our very firm ally, a bastion of western styled democracy, a model for all the Iranian and Syrian and Palestinian kids to follow.

    You have a choice: world peace or smoke and mirrors.

  5. gene

    August 23, 2007 at 11:19 am

    WOW!!!! (michael) above. Dam.. that was a fascinating read.
    Talk about total dedication to a mission. Our troops need these vehicles for protection, as many as they can get.

    Just so I want be off base in reference to the above article.

    On the subject of us (this nation) being in Iraq based on lies and for purposes secretly conspired by some very evil individuals, well thats another story.

    I see that part of the world as a very unique culture created over thousands of years and we (this nation) are similar to aliens landing and attempting to impose a way of life that is only suitable on the other side of the universe.

    We simply need to get the hell out of their….(but) and its those “buts” that always create chaos…..greedy individuals want that black gold (oil) and will stop at nothing to acquire the second largest oil reserve in the world (Iraq).

    This crap about democracy is insane coming from a nation that at one time represented this way of life but now has morphed into something entirely the opposite.

  6. www.nazilieskill.us

    August 23, 2007 at 11:59 am

    Maybe they will cancel a few missions. Maybe they won’t bust down so many doors. Maybe they will use the stuff they have to mount a rear guard and get out!

    Except for the largely ignored bill of rights, our system of government, as based on the rest of the constitution, is nothing but a license to steal.

    John Hanks, Laramie, Wyoming

  7. acf

    August 23, 2007 at 1:58 pm

    Maybe they could do like they do with recruitment – cut standards, and reduce their goal to 1495, then they could say they exceeded the goal. What seems to be the problem, not the excuse, that keeps them from outfitting their troops? It isn’t as if this problem with explosives cropped up last week.

  8. yarply

    August 23, 2007 at 10:02 pm

    Well, it would not surprise me if the pentagon and the government as a whole has each person in the military insured so they make a profit off them if they are killed.

  9. SEAL

    August 23, 2007 at 11:18 pm

    I confess to have stopped reading that insanity above when I got to the part where he was going to get a shitload of unfit disorganized people killed while doing something totally stupid.

    I’m really tired of people who think they know what is best for other people or nations. They are always the ones I find who have never been to these countries and know absolutely nothing about the people there.

    First of all you cannot force democracy upon any people at the point of a gun. Neither can you sell democracy to a people who consider their religion above their life to the point where they will kill their own children to conform to it.

    Democracy is live and let live. Tolerate your neighbor. But where you have religions coexististing that mandate that all who do not conform to your religion must die, you cannot have a democracy. The only solution is to separate these religions and allow them to rule themselves according to their own principles.

  10. yarply

    August 24, 2007 at 12:02 am

    Freedom, given not earned, is a wasted concept. It is like when someone gives you money which you have not earned for yourself. It is piddled away and not truly appreciated. You cannot truly ‘GIVE’ someone freedom. It needs to be fought and won for oneself. If you go out and fight and bleed for something you can appreciate the cost and can place a value on what you have fought for.
    Somethings are hard to explain, but I can best equate it to people who have won millions in the lottery. They usually spend it all and in a short time are broke. They did not have to work for it thus they piddled it all away. It is almost always the same when something is given to someone. Its easier to place value on something you cared enough about, to earn for yourself,,, or they may say,, who asked you to do this, I didn’t want it to begin with.

  11. ekaton

    August 24, 2007 at 12:50 am

    “Freedom, given not earned, is a wasted concept. It is like when someone gives you money which you have not earned for yourself. It is piddled away and not truly appreciated.”

    Which is exactly what happens when we give trillions and trillions of tax dollars to 535 people whose attitude is “hey, its only tax dollars”.

    — Kent Shaw

  12. Bill Robinson

    August 24, 2007 at 4:15 am

    I agree with Seal. The thought of sending volunteers into a country which is a total combat zone is ridiculous. I can just see the nightly beheadings on AlJazeera TV of captured volunteers.
    We need to vacate Iraq. Get out. Leave. Be gone. Staying there is stupidity equaled only by our Chief Executive’s frequent pipe dream pronouncements. Bush does not want a democracy in Iraq. Bush and his daddy are in bed with the Saudis–the KINGDOM of Saudi Arabia. Bush is not going to really strive for a democracy and upset his pals running the Kingdom. He and his daddy are getting too much money from the Saudis to risk upsetting them.
    That is the beauty (I shudder at the term, but it really fits here) of the Bush/Cheney cabal–they act like they want a democracy in the middle east (Israel doesn’t count because everyone hates Israel)while they give up looking for Ossama bin Laden and while they prolong an unwinnable war that is making them both richer every day. They don’t want democracy and they don’t want an end to their cash cow–the conflict in Iraq.
    The saddest thing of all is that they don’t care how many Americans they have to kill to maintain the status quo.