My latest column looks at the latest stage of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s attempted political makeover. An excerpt:
Move over, Joan Rivers. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is vying for the title of undisputed queen of the cosmetic makeover. Having undergone a cultural warrior collagen injection with her recent crusades against violent video games and flag-burning, Hillary has traded in her ratty black pantsuit for a new politicized accessory to enhance her electoral figure:
Last week, a group called Soldiers for the Truth leaked results of an unpublished Pentagon study that reportedly found that as many as 80 percent of a random sample of Marines killed in Iraq from wounds to the upper body could have survived if they had had extra body armor. On Friday, the New York Times seized on the study. Faster than you can say “quagmire,” Hillary landed on ABC’s Good Morning America to lambaste the Bush administration as “incompetent” and its failure to provide more armor “unforgivable.”
“We perhaps could have avoided so many of these fatalities with the right body armor,” concluded Brigadier General Clinton, who immedia tely dashed off letters to Sen. John Warner, R-Va., chairman of the Armed Services Committee; Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., the ranking Democrat on the Armed Services Committee; and Francis J. Harvey, secretary of the Army. Smarter-than-thou Clinton is, of course, demanding an investigation (highly recommended by image consultants to boost one’s pro-military posturing).
Hillary bashed President Bush and Vice President Cheney for callously letting troops die and said she was “just bewildered as to how this president and this vice president continue to isolate themselves from different points of view.”
Well, I am bewildered, too. Bewildered at how such a supposedly brilliant and savvy woman — and who is supposedly in tune with American troops — can so blithely ignore the grave trade-offs involved in this matter.
To start off with, no, our body armor is not perfect. It has its vulnerabilities which I won’t get into for obvious reasons, but overall it does a remarkable job of protecting soldiers, marines, airmen and everyone else who wears it. Body Armor has saved numerous lives in Iraq and Afghanistan and it will continue to do so, especially as it is modified to better meet the threat we face. However, there are limitations as to how much armor you can add onto an individual and maintain his effectiveness as a soldier: when I step out the gate I am wearing on my person body armor, a kevlar helmet, my M4 rifle with a few hundred rounds of ammunition, my M9 sidearm with another hundred rounds of ammunition, 2-3 quarts of water, a portable radio, night vision equipment, and numerous other odds and ends. Butt naked to full combat load probably adds about 40+ pounds to my frame, give or take a grenade.
The end state is that you can only add so much weight to a soldier’s basic load before that effectiveness starts to degrade…t the end of the day, body armor protects the force, but capturing or killing insurgents before they attack us is what really saves lives. The best defense is a good offense.
Okipunk is more blunt:
If Senator Klintoon and “Soldiers For Truth” had their way, US troops would be put into 100 pounds of ceramic plates, be forced to conduct patrols from tanks, and live in underground bunkers. And then presumably blamed for the failure to keep the peace.
Earth to idiots: if troops wanted to be “safe” all the damn time, they would not elect to join the military. Which is a dirty, dangerous, thankless job even in peacetime. If anyone joined up to be “safe”, then may I suggest a career change?
To insurance adjuster, perhaps?
Murdoc Online weighs in:
Long-time readers of MO will know that I’ve been critical of the armor situation in the past. And I’ll continue to be critical in the future until absolute perfection is attained and US troops in combat zones are totally protected from every possible threat. But these stupid headlines and sensationalizing of a military study intended to improve our capability doesn’t help anyone.
Well, let me correct myself right here. Sensationalizing this story, making it sound like negligence or inability to cope with enemy tactics is killing troops does help some. They’re called the “enemies of America”. And not all of them are not American. So many in the media seem so focused on the “good old days” of media glory that they appear unable to report on military matters in a meaningful way.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Legacy Media only seems to know three things about the military: My Lai, the Pentagon Papers, and the words “Tet Offensive”.
Send your point of view to Hillary here.
Reader M.K.: “Not enough body armor? Maybe she’d like to explain why real armor was withheld from our toops in Mogadishu.”
Reader Peyton Randolph of the Army National Guard’s Battle Command Training Center:
Dear Senator Clinton,
Body armor has saved countless lives in Afghanistan and Iraq, and has been improved several times during the last few years as new technology becomes available and as lessons are learned about particular vulnerabilities. We seek to constantly improve the equipment used by our soldiers, while not withholding from them the best that is currently available, in favor of something better in the future.
Body armor can be better, and will be. It is currently pretty darned good. Improvements usually come with a weight penalty, however. A problem that the Army and Marines have both had to deal with is soldiers leaving armor plates out of their vests so that they can move faster. Just adding armor to the current body armor packages will overload our service men and women. We have to seek solutions that are technically sophisticated, more effective, and lighter. That rarely equates to simply adding more armor.
Our body armor is the best in the world, and can be better. For you to be heard by Soldiers, Marines and their families apparently just asking for “more,” and blaming the allegedly inadequate armor on your political opponents makes you look foolish, not hawkish. Too many of the voters know better.
The story you posted about Hillary and the body armor reminds me of the deployment of the B17 bomber in WW2. The initial deployment of B17Es and B17Fs suffered numerous losses, and even after the introduction in the fall of 43 of the B17G with the famous chin turret, losses were very high. On two raids in fall of 43, 105 B17s were lost (with crews of 10 men). Two raids.
Not until fighters with extended range fuel tanks (P47s and P51s – the “little friends)”) came into theater – spring of 44 – did the bomber raids have protection.
Could you imagine if the politicians of today were in charge back then? They would still be having hearings and investigations as to why that incompetent FDR didn’t have more P51s. Of course, they’d be holding them auf Deutsche….
More: 1LT Micah J. Garrison responds with “A soldier informs with the facts.”blog comments powered by Disqus
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