Sen. John Kerry slammed President Bush on his treatment of the U.S. military in Iraq Saturday, citing an admission by a senior military official that U.S. troops went into the war unprepared.It can only be one of two ways. Either John Kerry is an idiot, or he believes you are an idiot.
The Massachusetts senator, in the Democrats' weekly radio address, referred to an admission this week by acting Secretary of the Army Les Brownlee that U.S. troops were not prepared when the president sent them in to topple Saddam Hussein.
"Republican and Democratic leaders were right to join together to say to the Bush administration that this is just unacceptable," Kerry said. (Full story)
"If I am president, I will be prepared to use military force to protect our security, our people, and our vital interests. But I will never send our troops into harm's way without enough firepower and support."
Kerry said that U.S. helicopters in Iraq even now "are flying missions without the best available anti-missile systems" and that "un-armored Humvees are falling victim to roadside bombs and small-arms fire.
"The Bush administration waited through month after month of ambushes and only acted to start manufacturing armored door kits three months ago," he said.
Let's take these one at a time.
"But I will never send our troops into harm's way without enough firepower and support."
We went from the Iraq-Kuwait border to owning Baghdad in less than 3 weeks with a little more than 2 divisions. Frankly, Senator, we kicked ass. Firepower wasn't an issue, and support was no more of an issue than it has been in any war...and much less of an issue than in some.
"are flying missions without the best available anti-missile systems" and that "un-armored Humvees are falling victim to roadside bombs and small-arms fire."
Senator, welcome to the US Military's procurement and development cycles...cycles influenced greatly by the Federal Acquisition Regulations which are Congress' work, Senator, not the Department of Defense. Oh yeah, and the fielding of new equipment is also a function of Congress' funding, Senator.
What anti-missile systems do you speak of Senator? When were they finally tested and approved? How long do you think it takes, Senator, for systems to be fielded? The limiting factor on fielding is money...if we have tons of money then we can hire an infinite number of contractors to upgrade the helicopters in short order. Where was the legislation to do that prior to our entrance into Iraq, Senator?
If you TRULY want to speed up the production of such armaments for our military, Senator, you will strip out the Buy American clauses and the "Small and disadvantaged business clauses" from the Federal Acquistion Regulations, Senator...because both of those cost the US Taxpayer money, and lengthen the amount of time to procure items, Senator. Where was the legislation to do this, Senator?
"Un-armored HUMMWVs" Senator? If you had a single solitary clue Senator you would know that HUMMWV's were never intended to be armored. As I've written here before, the HUMMWV replaced the Jeep. The Jeep was never armored. Nor was it expected to be. If you are so gol' darned concerned about HUMMWV armament, Senator, where was your "Congressional" inquiry to the Department of Defense asking about the absence of armor on HUMMWV's long ago?
The HUMMV was never designed to be an armored vehicle because on a traditional battlefield it doesn't need to be. And fighting on traditional battlefields is how Congress funds the US Military. The problem we face now is that this war on terror is not fought on a traditional battlefield.
I defy you to show me one solitary line in any Defense Department Budget for "occupation operations" Senator. But it is precisely because we are in this unforseen situation that the issue of armor on HUMMV's has even come up.
To be fair to former Army Chief of Staff Shinseki, the Stryker vehicle envisioned hostile urban operations, Senator. Were you out there introducing legislation to hurry this vehicle into production and fielding, Senator? I didn't think so.
Senator, spare us the intimation of your prescience...you didn't have it, you don't have it.
It is so easy for you to snipe, Senator...because sniping doesn't actually require any action...only what you are good at...criticizing and Monday morning quarterbacking.
You want to run on your record as a veteran, Senator? I mean, you know...veteran to veteran, Senator, not veteran to one who never served.
Then show me what you've done for the Soldier lately, Senator, other than to criticize the Commander in Chief and use the soldier as a pawn to get you elected.