Wednesday, December 08, 2004

A soldier asked a frank question of Donald Rumsfeld. ABC follows up:

They call it "hillbilly armor" -- U.S. military vehicles protected with scrap metal salvaged from landfills. And now U.S. soldiers want to know how long they will have to scavenge for junk to protect themselves in combat....

... Kurt Hendler, a reservist serving with the Seabees, the Navy's construction force ... and his welding partner, Joe Parrot, are customizing the standard equipped personnel trucks with new steel doors, higher sides and deflecting roofs -- all fashioned from steel plates intended for road repairs in Iraq.

"We cover up the doors and put on some three-inch plate to protect the passenger and driver's side from IED [improvised explosive device] attacks, sniper fire and any other small-arms fire," Hendler said.

This makeshift armor ended up saving the life of a crew whose vehicle took a direct hit from a rocket-propelled grenade. They say it will take 2 ½ months to get a new door to replace the one that was damaged....

I love that -- they have to use steel that was intended for Iraqi reconstruction. Our own troops are being shortchanged, the people we're trying to liberate are being shortchanged -- too bad we're not, y'know, the richest country in the world or anything.

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