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Archive for Saturday, February 7, 2009

Deep shame

A recent investigation reveals the Pentagon’s horrible judgment regarding Humvees and their capabilities.

February 7, 2009

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The headline in Wednesday’s USA Today is a shameful indictment: “Pentagon ignored Humvee warnings: ‘94 report: Combat vehicle a ‘deathtrap.’”

We’re then told that U.S. Army and Marine Corps officials knew nearly a decade before the invasion of Iraq that the workhorse Humvee vehicle was a major hazard to troops even with armor added to protect it against roadside bombs.

This disgraceful evaluation comes from an inspector general’s report. Data distributed throughout the Army and Marine Corps after the Persian Gulf War in 1991 and the Somalia venture in 1994 urged the development of armored vehicles to avoid the devastation of roadside bombs and land mines. However, according to the report, the Pentagon failed to act.

How many lives were lost or how many combatants suffered crippling injuries because of this glaring ignorance of valid data?

Desperate U.S. troops added makeshift armor to their Humvees, and the Pentagon reportedly took action to retrofit the vehicles with better protection after the threat of roadside bombs escalated in 2003 and 2004. Yet the retrofitted Humvees remained vulnerable to various explosive devices because of the vehicles’ “flat bottom, low weight, low ground clearance and aluminum body,” the inspector general reported.

In 1994, valid reports showed that the Pentagon chose to bypass data saying that Humvees “even with a mine-protection retrofit kit developed for Somalia remained a deathtrap in the event of an anti-tank mine detonation.”

We’re told that the Pentagon deemed it impractical to develop the needed fleet. The military had spent hundreds of millions on Humvees, and drawn-out ground wars, which is precisely what was encountered in Iraq, were seen as a thing of the past. Adaptability was a joke.

Even now, with better equipment, troops suffer four times more casualties from roadside bombs while riding in Humvees instead of the mine-resistant vehicles they really need. Now we’re told the Pentagon plans to field an all-terrain armored vehicle to provide off-road maneuverability and enough armor to deflect the growing threat of roadside bombs in Afghanistan. Yet even these vehicles do not negate the great risk to the people we send into action, since 722 Americans were wounded and 161 killed in 2008 missions.

It is tragic enough that even our best and latest equipment is not as effective as it needs to be in combating bombings and mine impact. Consider how many have suffered needlessly because the Pentagon was so cavalier in those days when better equipment was badly needed.

This is a disgrace and there should be deep shame over this gross mismanagement. Decision-makers need to be brought to the forefront and held accountable.

Comments

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 5 years, 10 months ago

"How many lives were lost or how many combatants suffered crippling injuries because of this glaring ignorance of valid data?"Are we still of the delusion that valid data or even lives are relevant in matters of war?

purplesage 5 years, 10 months ago

How does this degenerate into a forum on tax cuts or more spending? GM, recipient of government bail-out funds, built these things and the military bought them. There is no excuse, at the design level, or at the decision to purchase an unsafe vehicle, for putting men and women at risk when it could be prevented. I read a few years ago that there were many HumVees without armor protection in service in the War on Terror. The Carter administration, the Clinton administration, and now, maybe the Obama administration put the men and women of the United States military at risk.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 10 months ago

"The Carter administration, the Clinton administration, and now, maybe the Obama administration put the men and women of the United States military at risk."Is there a reason for the rather glaring omissions in this list?

notajayhawk 5 years, 10 months ago

Poor little logrithmic. Never let the facts get in the way of a good BDS-rant.For the edification of logrithmic - and the LTE writer - the MRAPs don't completely stop roadside bombs, either - and they knew about that years ago.http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2007-05-31-mrap-insurgents_N.htm?csp=34Of course, now everyone is jumping on the MRAP bandwagon. Think of the bright side the LTE writer and loggie can save your comments from above, and ten years from now, when troops get killed in the MRAPs, you can just respost the same drivel by just changing 'Humvee' to 'MRAP.'Still and all, the MRAP is better than the Humvee - at least it is for now, until the lighten it to make it a better offroad vehicle for Afghanistan (lighten=less armor). And I agree that it was unconscionable for Congress to try to hold up funding a while back to ship them to Iraq - thanks in no small way to Jack Murtha (pssst - loggie - he's a Democrat). I'm glad the loggies of the world are coming 'round - when they want to know why there's no money for their universal healthcare plans and other entitlements, hopefully they'll remember screaming vehemently for replacing all the modern-day Jeeps of the armed forces with ones that cost over a million dollars apiece.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 10 months ago

Decisions about the use of military power are almost always completely political, and as such, require little "military" knowledge. The previous administration proved without a doubt that their arrogant stupidity and corruption in political matters carried over in their decisions in military matters.

Godot 5 years, 10 months ago

Prepare for a huge increase in the number of officers retiring, and of academy graduates doing "five and out." This is the Clinton years on steroids. This just shows Obama up to be a double dealer again. Of course, I did not believe him when he said he would listen to the commanders in the field, I knew that one was a bald faced lie.

Godot 5 years, 10 months ago

Logrithmic, treason is being committed this weekend by the Federal Reserve Chairman and the Treasury Secretary - are you going to call for their heads?

Mixolydian 5 years, 10 months ago

Wow, how did we ever win WWII in the puny little Jeep, or the under powered thin duece and a half or the under gunned sherman against the panzer?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 10 months ago

"Prepare for a huge increase in the number of officers retiring, and of academy graduates doing “five and out.” "If the "war" department is turned a true defense department, along with a cut in its budget of about 70%, they really should be looking for something productive and useful to do with their time, anyway.

spankyandcranky 5 years, 10 months ago

Articles like this are almost completely pointless. It brings to light a problem, barely offers a suggestion on how to solve it, and doesn't give any further information on how to follow through with that suggestion. "Decision-makers need to be brought to the forefront and held accountable." OK, how are we, the readers, supposed to make THAT happen? No specific names of who or how to contact are given. Helpful? No. I don't think so. If you just want to wine, go to a bar. When you've come up with a plan involving some action, let us know.

Corey Williams 5 years, 10 months ago

madmike (Anonymous) says…"He is crazy as a $hithouse rat!!!"Since your posts indicate you seem to be stuck in grade school, madmike, let me counter your argument: It takes one to know one.

Corey Williams 5 years, 10 months ago

Mr_Nancy_Boy_To_You (Tom Shewmon) says…"... followed by a rabid Bush hating corrupt liberal media/blogosphere for the following eight years..."Come on Tom, I've asked for this before; but even though you continually fail to follow through, I'll ask again. Give me one article that shows a proof of liberal bias. Just one that will show me the "corrupt liberal media" beyond a shadow of a doubt.

rusty2 5 years, 10 months ago

GM knew about this from day one of making these vehicles.lots of money in WAR.just ask Herbert Walker Bush, agent for Carlyle Group,his son W, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Rice, Frank Carlucci Carlyle Group and Bush I dept of defense,James Baker III also Carlyle Group,Fred Malek Carlyle Group,all of these promoted the WAR in Iraq for profit.

rusty2 5 years, 10 months ago

thanks logrhythmic......commondreams is a great website.in the 80's Cheney/Rumsfeld would be a quagmire --and later changed their tune, for profit.

rusty2 5 years, 10 months ago

read more about the Carlyle Group, they recently lost control of the White House.avoid a terrorist attack in August 2001? nah.....http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carlyle_...

rusty2 5 years, 10 months ago

read how the pentagon under W learned to love & pay for the weapons that nobody wanted / sold by the Carlyle Group (King Fahd & buddies)http://www.villagevoice.com/2002-04-30/news/the-carlyle-connection/1

Tom Miller 5 years, 10 months ago

...deepsigh...d_mn, log...at least you are consistant...

Corey Williams 5 years, 10 months ago

Mr_Nancy_Boy_To_You (Tom Shewmon) says…"I've backed them up hundreds of times Corey, but a vampire can't see his/her reflection in a mirror, so it's pointless."I've never seen you post anything that could prove your point about a possible media bias. If you've done it before, then it won't be hard to do it again, will it?"You don't know you're a left-wing zealot. You never will and therefor you can't spot bias if it hit you between the eyes."Let me rephrase that and tell it back to you: You don't know you're a right-wing zealot. You never will and therefore you can't spot bias if it it you between the eyes.

Corey Williams 5 years, 10 months ago

Actually, Tom, in the first seven pages of your posts, going all the way back to February 3rd (you do have a lot of time on your hands, don't you?), the only posts you made with any links to outside pages, they were to youtube. Why don't you back up your crazy claims? Too busy looking up videos on youtube?

notajayhawk 5 years, 10 months ago

logicsound04 (Anonymous) says… "Top responses to a column about the Pentagon's failure to heed a report in 1994?""Survey says:1. Clinton hates our soldiers"Refresh my memory - who was the president in 1994? Seems like this report was completed, and ignored, while ol' Bill was the commander-in-chief.

jonas_opines 5 years, 10 months ago

"You don't know you're a (direction)-wing zealot. You never will and therefor you can't spot bias if it hit you between the eyes." Right-thinker.Phreaow! It's too early for that kind of irony.

jafs 5 years, 10 months ago

The comments on this story illustrate why we never get anywhere solving our problems.If Clinton ignored this information, he was wrong to do so.However, the information has been there for over 10 years - some other folks must have ignored it as well, no?Also, I'm not clear on who make the decisions on a practical level - perhaps the Pentagon does.The point is, rather than pointing fingers and trying to find blame, we should be correcting the situation.

jayhawklawrence 5 years, 10 months ago

We should keep in mind that the KGB and other spy agencies around the world have been attacking us with disinformation since the time of Lenin and Mao. What better battleground to attack in our democracy than the ones that control our minds.The media and our educational system. These have all been used by our enemies.If a nation cannot support it's elected commander in chief than we just put ourself in a weaker position. I prefer to see us as Americans rather a polarization of left wingers and right wingers. This mindset is little better than a form of mental illness in my view and makes us vulnerable to manipulation by forces within and outside of our country.Support your President.

verity 5 years, 10 months ago

jafs---"The comments on this story illustrate why we never get anywhere solving our problems."jayhawklawrence---"I prefer to see us as Americans rather [than] a polarization of left wingers and right wingers. This mindset is little better than a form of mental illness . . ." What they said.

jonas_opines 5 years, 10 months ago

Thanks for supporting my point, Right-thinker.

Corey Williams 5 years, 10 months ago

Mr_Nancy_Boy_To_You (Tom Shewmon) says…"More for you Corey, because I'm sure you'll brand MRC as a right-wing nut outfit and not bother to read the extensive material they provide proving their case of bias."Every single link you put up from the Media Research Center did not mean a thing when I went to the "about the MRC" section and saw that fool L. Brent Bozell 3's name. Where it says they perceived a liberal bias in the media, but could only find "anecdotal evidence of liberal journalists' bias..." but that the "anecdotal examples of bias do not prove a liberal agenda." So L Brent Bozell 3 took the steps to develop the News Tracking System,"a custom-designed computer database and archiving system that today provides the conservative movement's now-thriving media personalities and the public alike, with the evidence necessary to confront the liberal media." The fact that Bozell is involved at all means that anything on the site is junk in my opinion, due to the moronic and vapid editorials he has written.The sad thing is that you get your "proof" from that site. It shows your beliefs to be farther right than the average person, but that's fine. You can have your opinion just like I can have mine. But to blame all of your perceived woes of this country on the liberal media is laziness. You're tilting at windmills, which is exactly what politicians on both sides want. To keep you busy without actually doing anything. While you're here on these boards railing about this liberal biased media they keep telling you about, are you actually doing anything to change things? Not just you, but everyone on these boards. They all have opinions about the way things ought to be, but they get the satisfaction of letting everyone here know their opinion and that seems to be the end of it. Nothing ever changes because none of this means a thing.Oh, and Tom, I love it when you get so mad you resort to name calling. It's nice to know that you're still stuck in the elementary playground, mentally.

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