Thursday, May 13, 2004

Why does Bush hate the troops? From yesterday's Newsday, via AP:

 Wounded soldiers say slow Army trucks left them exposed to attack

When Troy Mechanick and Robert Hemsing left for Iraq, they were told their New York Army National Guard unit would be equipped with fully armored vehicles.

Instead, the two men found themselves last month traveling in a slow-moving five-ton diesel truck that, they say, made them vulnerable to an Iraqi ambush that left them seriously wounded and claimed the life of one of their friends.

"We were lied to, and I'm saying that not for myself but for the others still over there," said Mechanick, a sergeant from Hudson Falls, N.Y.

While questions about insufficient armor for troops in Iraq have centered around unarmored Humvees, Mechanick and Hemsing say the use of Army five-ton trucks to transport personnel leaves soldiers even more exposed to attack.

Mechanick and about a dozen soldiers were ambushed Easter Sunday when a rocket-propelled grenade, or RPG, struck their diesel truck.

Killed in the attack was Pfc. Nathan Brown of South Glens Falls, N.Y., a friend of both men....

The soldiers said when they first arrived in Iraq, they had armored Humvees. But those vehicles were switched to other units, and Mechanick began riding in Army five-ton trucks, which are bigger, slower, and offer less protection.

"Our nickname for the five-tons was `RPG magnets,"' said Mechanick, 32. "It was only a matter of time before we were hit, and we knew it." ...

"A slow-moving big vehicle like that? You've got to be an idiot not to be able to hit it with an RPG," said Hemsing, 21, of Glens Falls, N.Y....

"The fact is, the five-ton is very, very slow," said Mechanick, who suffered extensive injuries on his left side and lost a finger in the attack.

"I'm angry that Nate died," said Hemsing, who expects to spend months at Walter Reed recovering.

"I'm not supposed to be in a friggin' hospital. I should be in Iraq with my buddies," he said....

Either we should fight this damn war with adequate troops and materiel or we should get the hell out.

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