Sunday, June 26, 2005

Safer Vehicles for Soldiers: A Tale of Delays and Glitches

As Donnie 'Ratf*cker' Rumsfeld contentedly strokes himself during an official visit to Iraq, he travels in air conditioned style, with his feet up and his branch and bourbon chilled. Of course, he uses the latest armored super vehicle, supplied to him by his buds at Halliburton. After all, he wouldn't want to lose a nail or something. He does this while expecting the families of the troops to buy their body armor for them all the while knowing that he cut the funding of the safer replacements of the HumVee less than a month before the NeoCons started their little private war in Iraq...

Apparently that 'only the best for our boys' just applies to
Lyin' Little Ratfucker NeoCons not the regular troops.

from the NY Times:

During a visit to Iraq last year, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld rode in a Rhino Runner, a steel-reinforced vehicle that its maker says is designed to withstand 7.62 x 39-millimeter and 5.56-millimeter ammunition, overhead airbursts and explosive devices up to 1,000 pounds.
David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images

When Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld visited Iraq last year to tour the Abu Ghraib prison camp, military officials did not rely on a government-issued Humvee to transport him safely on the ground. Instead, they turned to Halliburton, the oil services contractor, which lent the Pentagon a rolling fortress of steel called the Rhino Runner.
State Department officials traveling in Iraq use armored vehicles that are built with V-shaped hulls to better deflect bullets and bombs. Members of Congress favor another model, called the M1117, which can endure 12-pound explosives and .50-caliber armor-piercing rounds.

Unlike the Humvee, the Pentagon's vehicle of choice for American troops, the others were designed from scratch to withstand attacks in battlefields like Iraq with no safe zones. Last fall, for instance, a Rhino traveling the treacherous airport road in Baghdad endured a bomb that left a six-foot-wide crater. The passengers walked away unscathed. "I have no doubt should I have been in any other vehicle," wrote an Army captain, the lone military passenger, "the results would have been catastrophically different."

Yet more than two years into the war, efforts by United States military units to obtain large numbers of these stronger vehicles for soldiers have faltered - even as the Pentagon's program to armor Humvees continues to be plagued by delays, an examination by The New York Times has found.


Today, commuting from post to post in Iraq is one of the deadliest tasks for soldiers. At least 73 American military personnel were killed on the roads of Iraq in May and June as insurgent attacks spiked. In May alone, there were 700 bombings against American forces, the most since the invasion in March 2003. Late Thursday, a suicide car bomber killed five marines and a sailor in a convoy of mostly female marines who were returning to camp in Falluja. Thirteen others were injured. Officials said the vehicles most likely included a seven-ton truck.


The Pentagon has repeatedly said no vehicle leaves camp without armor. But according to military records and interviews with officials, about half of the Army's 20,000 Humvees have improvised shielding that typically leaves the underside unprotected, while only one in six Humvees used by the Marines is armored at the highest level of protection.

The Defense Department continues to rely on just one small company in Ohio to armor Humvees. And the company, O'Gara-Hess & Eisenhardt, has waged an aggressive campaign to hold onto its exclusive deal even as soaring rush orders from Iraq have been plagued by delays. The Marine Corps, for example, is still awaiting the 498 armored Humvees it sought last fall, officials told The Times.


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