Army Buying Off Blogs as Hillary Stands UP
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton called the Bush administration
“incompetent” when it came to protecting the troops in combat
and called the lack of adequate body armor for soldiers and Marines “unforgivable.”
So far in Iraq, more than 2,100 American troops have
been killed. Critics like Clinton, D-N.Y., say that many of these deaths
are the result of inadequate body armor. A secret Pentagon study of 93 Marines
who were killed in Iraq found that 74 died after they were hit by a bullet
or shrapnel in the torso or shoulders — areas unprotected by the armor
most are issued.
“We perhaps could have avoided so many
of these fatalities with the right body armor,” said Clinton,
who recently wrote letters to Sen. John Warner, R-Va., chairman of the Armed
Services Committee; Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., the ranking Democrat on the
Armed Services Committee; and Francis J. Harvey, secretary of the Army,
calling for an investigation into why troops were not being protected.
Clinton pointed to President Bush and Vice President
Dick Cheney as the culprits. Some have said that supplying Marines and soldiers
with armor that covers their sides is too expensive — costing about $260
for each person. Clinton said that considering the United States' defense
budget was half a trillion dollars, the additional protection was affordable.
She said the administration had refused to listen to people in the field
like Paul Bremer, former ambassador to Iraq, who said the United States
needed more troops in Iraq to pacify the country.
“This is Bush/Cheney policy. â€¦
I've been one of the leading critics pointing out all the failures, the
incompetencies,” Clinton said. “I am just bewildered as to how
this president and this vice president continue to isolate themselves from
different point of views. He's [President Bush has] got three more years
in office. Some of us wish this wasn't the case.”
Congress recently passed a law to reimburse troops
who purchased the armor themselves, but Clinton said not all of those people
had been given their money.
“It's our duty to protect our men and
women in uniform,” said Clinton, who is rumored to be considering a
run for the White House in 2008. “They are protecting us, our interest.
They have been sent there by our president. The very least we can do is
give them the very best body armor and armored vehicle.”
Republican talk about supporting the troops has turned out to
be cheap rhetoric that is not backed up in actions. This reality has reached
critical mass under George W. Bush. The issues of armor is particularly appalling, considering that if Marines would have had the armor they
in 10 of the casualties could have been avoided. Unfortunately,
the news and facts about the issue aren't getting noticed everywhere, which is why Hillary's position on the Armed Services Committee is so important (also why many believe she's running in '08). There is another reality as well. Republicans don't want the ineffectual management of this war to get out and neither do many of the people in the higher ranks of the Armed Forces.
Arkin reported yesterday that the Army is buying news and this
time they're going to the blogs. Some mentioned are Black
Hand Clapping and Fuzzilicious
Thinking. Here's the email being sent around, but only to military bloggers
and conservatives, it would seem.