January 11, 2006
Hillary Wraps Herself in Armor
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:
a group called Soldiers for the Truth leaked results of an unpublished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
perhaps could have avoided so many of these fatalities with the
right body armor," concluded Brig. Gen. Clinton, who immediately
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).
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."
am bewildered, too. Bewildered at how such a supposedly brilliant
and savvy woman -- who is supposedly in tune with American troops
-- can so blithely ignore the grave trade-offs involved in this
different points of view? Listen to soldiers from the 101st Airborne
Division's 3rd Brigade, who must don some 40 pounds of protection
and gear while fighting in the desert heat. Capt. Jamey Turner,
35, of Baton Rouge, La., a commander in the 1st Squadron, 33rd
Cavalry Regiment bluntly reminded the Associated Press:
"You've got to sacrifice some protection for mobility. If
you cover your entire body in ceramic plates, you're just not
going to be able to move."
Josh Suthoff, 23, of Jefferson City, Mo., said: "I'd go out
with less body armor if I could."
a legitimate debate to be had about the Army's supply system,
military procurement, and contracting squabbles over body armor.
However, challenging the leaked study's premises, Spc. Robert
Reid, 21, of Atlanta, commented: "It's the Army's responsibility
to get soldiers the armor they need. But that doesn't mean those
deaths could have been prevented."
blogger at Baghdad Guy (http://baghdadguy.blogs.com/baghdad_guy/)
who serves in the U.S. Army, 101st Airborne Division, 506th Infantry,
sums it up:
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
... Too much weight means a soldier moves slower, tires more
easily, [maneuvers] less stealthily and spends more time feeling
sorry for himself instead of focusing on the mission. And then
there's the bulkiness that becomes an issue as you move through
tight space and wedge into the seats of military vehicles that
were not designed with comfort and/or legroom in mind. All these
tradeoffs must be addressed before you make the decision to
add armor, it must be determined that the armor will be effective,
and then it must be designed in a way that minimizes impact
on our ability to do our job."
spotlight-grabbing, 2008-planning Hillary isn't interested in
sober analysis of trade-offs on the battlefield.
She is too
busy playing dress-up to listen to the troops she says she cares
so much about now.
2005 Creators Syndicate