After giving a pep talk of sorts to mostly Guard and Reserve soldiers, Rummy got a couple of tough ones put to him in an Q&A session:
Army Spc. Thomas Wilson, for example, of the 278th Regimental Combat Team that is comprised mainly of citizen soldiers of the Tennessee Army National Guard, asked Rumsfeld in a question-and-answer session why vehicle armor is still in short supply, nearly three years after the war in Iraq.
“Why do we soldiers have to dig through local landfills for pieces of scrap metal and compromised ballistic glass to uparmor our vehicles?” Wilson asked. A big cheer arose from the approximately 2,300 soldiers in the cavernous hangar who assembled to see and hear the secretary of defense.
Rumsfeld hesitated and asked Wilson to repeat his question.
“We do not have proper armored vehicles to carry with us north,” Wilson said after asking again.
Rumsfeld replied that, “You go to war with the Army you have,” not the one you might want, and that any rate the Army was pushing manufacturers of vehicle armor to produce it as fast as humanly possible.
Rummy’s right, but it’s still no excuse. There should be no money spent on things like the F-22 fighter until everyone currently fighting in a war has the proper equipment. I’ve harped on this before and I imagine I’ll do so again.
But I wonder if “nearly three years after the war in Iraq” wan an intentional or unintentional error. March of 2003 to December of 2004 is 21 months. 21 months is NOT “nearly three years.” Probably an inadvertent error. Probably.
Other questions involved Stop-Loss and the supposed preferential treatment active-duty troops get over Guards and Reserves.