Friday, September 30, 2005


This story gets lost in the midst of Delay, Miller, Robertson, Hurricane cleanup etc. It is right out of another dimension, with signposts up ahead: The Rumsfeld Zone…

Nearly a year after Congress demanded action, the Pentagon has still failed to figure out a way to reimburse soldiers for body armor and equipment they purchased to better protect themselves while serving in Iraq.

Soldiers and their parents are still spending hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars for armor they say the military won’t provide…

…Your expectation is that when you are sent to war, that our government does everything they can do to protect the lives of our people, and anything less than that is not good enough,” said a former Marine who spent nearly $1,000 two weeks ago to buy lower-body armor for his son, a Marine serving in Fallujah…

…“The bottom line is that Donald Rumsfeld and the Defense Department are failing soldiers again,” said Paul Rieckhoff, executive director of Operation Truth, an advocacy group for Iraq veterans.—[emphasis added] AP 9/29/05

Senator Chris Dodd from Connecticut is looking into the matter. He says, “If you have to go out and buy equipment to protect yourself, you’re going to get reimbursed.” Better yet, if you’re going to serve your country as a soldier, your country better fully equip you or not send you out in the first place.

There is an amazing account of the waiver of minimal protection in a May 9, 2005 article in Army Times. The reason for the waivers:

“I concurred with the program manager’s decision to waive the 11 lots in order to rapidly replace the PASGT flaks with a superior, advanced body-armor system,” [Gen. William] Catto said in the statement. “Due to the massive deployment associated with [Operation Iraqi Freedom], this was considered to be an urgent need, and was deemed to be in the best interest of deployed Marines at that time.”...

...The waivers came at a time when U.S. forces were facing increased risk from roadside bombs, ambushes and intense urban combat.--Army Times 5/9/05

“Be Part of the Action,” “Aim High,” “It’s not just a job. It’s an adventure!” "Be all that you can be,” “BYOBA” [Bring Your Own Body Armor].

And check out this incredible post by Paul Rieckhoff, veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and the Executive Director and Founder of Operation Truth, America's first and largest Iraq Veterans group at Huffington Post.

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