Great response from a Recon soldier over in Iraq to a recent article about the silly armor stunts the Democrats are pulling lately:
As an Infantry soldier currently in Iraq I feel compelled to comment on this article and point out several issues that could mislead the public back home. I shouldn’t let articles like this bother me but I’m frustrated because I know people will read or see this interview and assume that what they are being told is the 100% truth and won’t put any thought or research into it. I’m also sick and tired of politicians and journalists commenting on subjects they don’t know much about. I’ll try to keep my comments as concise as possible. A brief description of the armor we have: our vests consist of flexible kevlar material that covers everything from the neck to the waist. There are velcro pouches on the front and back for our ceramic plates that cover the vital organs (what we refer to as “center mass”). There are also additions to the vest: throat, neck, and arm pieces that extend the coverage of the vest. We have some sort of protection from our waists to our necks. While the flexible kevlar portion of the vest doesn’t provide as much protection as the ceramic plates most of the vest has to consist of the flexible kevlar for several reasons. If the entire vest was strong enough to protect from all types of possible bullet wounds it would be so heavy that it would be physically impossible to wear. Also, if the entire vest was as thick and solid as our plates it would be impossible to move around in it and extremely uncomfortable. Also, most soldiers don’t want to wear all of the armor we’ve already been given. We received “new and improved” plates for our vests but some of us never put them in because they weighed more than the old ones. The additional gear (throat, neck, and arm protectors) is so uncomfortable and ridiculous that a lot of soldiers refused to wear them. Units had to threaten soldiers with non-judicial punishment (loss of rank, money, assignment of extra duty, or a combination of these three) to force soldiers to wear them.
Soldiers will always be killed in wars. There is no way to protect soldiers from every type of injury they may face. There are also a lot of “freak” incidents that can never be explained. Two examples: one soldier was hit square in the chest (on his ceramic plate) by a rocket propelled grenade. It blew both his arms off but he survived. Another soldier took one round in the armpit just above where the armor ended and died. I liked what Secretary Rumsfeld said about the inadequate armor issue the article refers to. He responded (I paraphrase) that unfortunately you can’t go to war with the military you want but you must go to war with the military you have. I’ve been very impressed with the speed the military has shown in getting new and better equipment to us. Within the last year we’ve already gone through several upgrades in individual body armor. We’ve been given so much gear that one person could never wear it all. And for those of you not familiar with the military, the only organization more slow and inefficient in making changes is the federal government itself. If you listened to everything some people say about how we are equipped and supplied over here you’d think we were running around barefooted in our underwear with sticks and slingshots for weapons.
Another reason this article frustrates me is because you never hear people like Mrs. Clinton propose solutions to any of the problems they address. She says, “This is Bush/Cheney policy. ? I’ve been one of the leading critics pointing out all the
failures, the incompetencies,”. Ok then Mrs. Clinton, tell me what you’d do differently. These people are never challenged to tell what they would do differently or how they would do it. It’s always appoint a committee or nominate a board to conduct an investigation. If you’re going to complain about something tell me how you’d like to try to fix it. Re-read the article and realize how much of the interview talks in generalities and makes broad accusations against the current administration without presenting any alternative views or suggestions. I was extremely frustrated when Mrs. 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.” It is quite easy for Mrs. Clinton to say that the military should be able to afford it new armor, but it isn’t that easy. It’s not feasible (logistically or financially) for the military to field new equipment every time something new or better comes out because we’d be in a constant state of change. And the part about Paul Bremer makes me laugh. She refers to “people in the field like Paul Bremer”. Mr. Bremer was never in the military chain of command. President Bush has repeatedly stated that he will always provide whatever the military commanders on the ground ask for.
Most of this article addressed issues in the past (reference Mr. Bremer and Secretary Rumsfeld). The remarks Mr. Bremer made about not having enough troops was addressing the situation right after the invasion, not the current situation, since we’ve already begun troop reductions. Hindsight is always 20/20. We can always second guess battle plans based on their results. And if you think this interview wasn’t for personal political reasons, don’t forget this quote (in case you missed it): “He’s [President Bush has] got three more years in office. Some of us wish this wasn’t the case.” If I have to listen to many more politicians or journalists misconstrue what is really going on over here and discuss topics about which they know little or nothing or address issues for personal or political reasons I think I’m going go crazy. I truly believe that reporting like this occurs because some politicians and news media rely on the ignorance of their readers, listeners, and constituents and know that these people will believe what they see and hear without question, without doing their own research. Until these people are questioned and challenged this behavior will continue. I guess I’d better quit now, sorry for wasting your time. I’ve already wasted enough of my valuable spare time on this subject, even though there are many more issues this interview refers to that I’d like to address (military budgets, fiscal policy, military service, politicans who are suddenly military experts, etc). I’ll be more than willing to “talk politics” after I return home (sometime in May, I hope!). If any of you have questions or concerns about what’s really going on over here, as always e-mail them and I’ll reply as soon as I can. I hope all of you have a blessed 2006. God bless. Micah.
1LT Micah J. Garrison
HHC TF 2-130 Infantry
APO AE 09381
Lt. Garrison hit the nail on the head.? They love to scream about whats wrong with the Iraqi war but have no solutions.? You cannot encase a soldier in a metal cacoon, the need for armored protection has to be weighed with the soldiers mobility, or he will be useless in combat.
My favorite part of his response has to be:
“If you listened to everything some people say about how we are equipped and supplied over here you’d think we were running around barefooted in our underwear with sticks and slingshots for weapons.”
And that is exactly the problem.? The left KNOWS that what they are saying and alleging is not true, but they believe they can get votes by alleging this crapola.? That’s what it comes down to, politics.