Unarmed is not unarmored

On the radio this morning I caught part of a discussion between John McCain and John Roberts. Here’s the bit in question:

General Lee’s un-uparmored armed Humvee

CNN’S JOHN ROBERTS: I wanted to talk to you about the situation in Iraq. Yesterday in an interview with Wolf Blitzer on The Situation Room. I want to play this back for you. You had this to say about the situation there.

[McCAIN CLIP]: General Petraeus goes out there almost every day in an unarmed humvee. I think you oughta catch up. You are giving the old line of three months ago. I understand it. We certainly don’t get it through the filter of some of the media.

ROBERTS: Senator, did you mean to say that, that General Petraeus goes out every day in an unarmed humvee?

SEN. JOHN McCAIN (R-AZ): I mean that there are neighborhoods safe in Iraq and he does go out into Baghdad and the fact is there has been significant progress and people are stuck in a time warp of three months ago. Of course, it’s still dangerous. Of course it’s still very dangerous. We only have two of the five brigades there and we are already seeing significant progress.

ROBERTS: Because I checked with General Petraeus’s people overnight and they said he never goes out in anything less than an up-armored humvee.

And the radio show hosts (I think it was the William Bennett show, whatever it’s called) agreed that even though McCain had been wrong about the Humvee the larger point was what mattered.

Now, this is a rough paraphrasing, and I had joined in part-way through, but I think I basically got it right. McCain did use the term “time warp”, which seems about right. He says three months ago and I say 40 years, but we agree in principle.

Murdoc asks three questions:

A) Why is Roberts so clueless as to not know the difference between “unarmed” and “unarmored”?

B) Why didn’t McCain jump on him for it?

C) Why didn’t the radio show hosts get a clue and straighten things out? (Or get straightened out by callers, if they take any?)

I don’t have time to look right now, so does anyone know if the General’s regular Humvee has a machine gun or other weapon? I guess I’d be a bit surprised if it did. Armed escort vehicles with him, for sure, and armed troops in the vehicle with the General.

If some amateur blogger at home realizes that Roberts didn’t address McCain’s point, why can’t the professionals?

(For all I know, others in the ol’ blogosphere have already jumped on this. Or maybe it’s ancient history. I don’t know. Point me in the right direction if you’ve seen more on it.)

Dukes of Fallujah pic from here.

UPDATE: Think Progress has kindly posted the video and a partial transcript. It was originally an interview with Wolf Blitzer which was brought up by CNN’s John Roberts. I posted part of the transcript above in place of my original paraphrasing. The original paraphrasing is posted below for completeness.

McCain definitely said “unarmed”. I don’t know if he meant “unarmored”, but he said “unarmed” and it seems clear that no one at CNN (or Think Progress, apparently) knows the difference.

If McCain really meant what he said, he should have jumped on them for being clueless. But the guts to fight back against stupid crap haven’t really been there for a while.

This is the paraphrased discussion I originally posted before I found a transcript:

McCain: The security situation in Iraq is improving. Things are a lot safer than they were three months ago. Everyone seems stuck in a time warp from three months ago. General Petraeus drives around in an unarmed Humvee.

Roberts: Really? Because I spoke with the military and they said that General Petraeus NEVER travels in anything less than an uparmored Humvee. Would you like to restate what you said?

McCain: Well, the important point is that the security situation is improving


  1. I won’t be surprised if the General’s armored Humvee does not have a gunner. Given the location of the turrent, the gunner’s ass or balls would be inches from the General’s face. I would be shocked if the vehicle in front of and behind his vehicle were not heavily armed.