Saturday, February 16, 2008

Money for Nothing

The administration and Pentagon have been supporting the troops as usual. For two years part of that "support" was refusing to allocate funds for MRAPs (mine-resistant, ambush-protected) trucks.

While war funds flood to Halliburton and its subsidiaries, hundreds of US Marines have been killed or injured by roadside bombs in Iraq because they weren't protected by the latest equipment. No surprise to anyone, really. Has this administration or the Pentagon treated our troops as anything more than cannon fodder through this entire exercise in insanity? This from the AP:
Marine Corps bureaucrats refused an urgent request in 2005 from battlefield commanders for blast-resistant vehicles, an internal military study concludes. The study, written by a civilian Marine Corps official and obtained by The Associated Press, accuses the service of "gross mismanagement" that delayed deliveries of the mine-resistant, ambush-protected trucks for more than two years. Cost was a driving factor in the decision to turn down the request for the so-called MRAPs, according to the study. Stateside authorities saw the hulking vehicles, which can cost as much as a $1 million each, as a financial threat to programs aimed at developing lighter vehicles that were years from being fielded. . . .

Among the findings in the Jan. 22 study:

_ Budget and procurement managers failed to recognize the damage being done by IEDs in late 2004 and early 2005 and were convinced the best solution was adding more armor to the less-sturdy Humvees the Marines were using. Humvees, even those with extra layers of steel, proved incapable of blunting the increasingly powerful explosives planted by insurgents.

_ An urgent February 2005 request for MRAPs got lost in bureaucracy. It was signed by then-Brig. Gen. Dennis Hejlik, who asked for 1,169 of the vehicles. The Marines could not continue to take "serious and grave casualties" caused by IEDs when a solution was commercially available, wrote Hejlik, who was a commander in western Iraq from June 2004 to February 2005.

_ The Marine Corps' acquisition staff didn't give top leaders correct information. Gen. James Conway, the Marine Corps commandant, was not told of the gravity of Hejlik's MRAP request and the real reasons it was shelved, Gayl writes. That resulted in Conway giving "inaccurate and incomplete" information to Congress about why buying MRAPs was not hotly pursued.

_ The Combat Development Command, which decides what gear to buy, treated the MRAP as an expensive obstacle to long-range plans for equipment that was more mobile and fit into the Marines Corps' vision as a rapid reaction force. Those projects included a Humvee replacement called the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle and a new vehicle for reconnaissance and surveillance missions.

_ The Combat Development Command has managers — some of whom are retired Marines — who lack adequate technical credentials. They have outdated views of what works on the battlefield and how the defense industry operates, Gayl says. Yet they are in position to ignore or overrule calls from deployed commanders.

And of course, for doing the study and sharing results, Franz Gayl was given several awards and lauded by President Bush as a hero and true American.

Ok, you got me. Of course not. Gayl ended up filing for whistle-blower protection when he was threatened with disciplinary action after meeting with congressional staff on Capitol Hill.


Blogger TomCat said...

Bush/GOP-speak Dictionary
Support the troops=Use them as cannon fodder

2:04 PM  
Blogger Mr. Natural said...

Not only THAT, but BUSHCO has been working behind the scenes to DE-FUND AND DE-LEGITIMIZE the whilstleblower protections! I hope the motherfuckers ALL lie dead and rotting in the street in front of their mother's house as they have left so many others!

Oh golly, do I sound angry?

12:58 AM  

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