Thursday, December 16, 2004

Got Armor?

The excuse de jour:

GEN. SMITH: I mean, we're always concerned. I mean, we -- this requirement has increased as the enemy's tactics have increased. We've now got a very large requirement. We didn't have the same requirement a year ago. And that has increased as the enemy has changed his tactics. He has recognized that he cannot take us on in a direct fight. He loses every time. So he has chosen to operate in our rear areas and use improvised explosive devices to attack us in the rear area. And in doing that, it's changed the way we have to armor our vehicles that normally would operate pretty freely in the rear area and wouldn't require armor.

So that is a change. So yes, we're concerned that he has changed his tactics, and it's required us to armor vehicles that might otherwise not armor.

At the same time, it's worth noting that not every vehicle in Iraq needs to be armored. You know, the vehicles that operate on the installations are generally not going to be armored. I would tell you that down on the southern areas, where the United Kingdom operates, they aren't going through a huge thrash to try and armor every vehicle. And frankly, in those 14 provinces where we get less than four activities a day, it may not be required that every vehicle there be armored as well.

Specious is as specious does, I now it's the insurgent's fault that U.S. military vehicles are not properly outfitted, and it's the insurgent's fault because they've changed tactics to exploit an obvious weakness. Oy. My head spins:

12/13/2004: Spc. Robert W. Hoyt, 21, of Ashford, Conn., died Dec. 11 in Baghdad, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his HMMWV while conducting convoy operations. Hoyt was assigned to the Army National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 102nd Infantry Regiment, Bristol, Conn.

12/13/04 IHA: Iraqi insurgents attack US supply convoy
A nine-truck convoy supplying the US military in Iraq was attacked on Monday in the town of Garma, near the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, by a group of insurgents who called themselves the "Al-Rahman Army"

12/15/04 Centcom: SOLDIER DIES OF FATAL WOUNDS - confirmed
One 1st COSCOM Soldier died as the result of a gunshot wound received during a convoy mission south of Baghdad near Forward Operation Base Kalsu at approximately 10:30 p.m. Dec. 14.

Ok, let's do a little mental exercise - what do each of the above incidents (by all means not an all-inclusive list) have in common?

The word, convoy. Remember the group of Alabama National Guard soldiers who wouldn't run a convoy because of safety concerns, including armor? I knew you did...