Tuesday, December 09, 2008


I don't know how these people can live with themselves:

Report: IED threat known before war

Military leaders knew the dangers posed by roadside bombs before the start of the Iraq war but did little to develop vehicles that were known to better protect forces from what proved to be the conflict's deadliest weapon, a report by the Pentagon inspector general says.

The Pentagon "was aware of the threat posed by mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) … and of the availability of mine resistant vehicles years before insurgent actions began in Iraq in 2003," says the 72-page report....

Marine Corps leaders "stopped processing" an urgent request in February 2005 for Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles from combat commanders in Iraq's Anbar province after declaring that a more heavily armored version of existing Humvee vehicles was the "best available" option for protecting troops, the report says....

The military continued relying mainly on Humvees until May 2007, when then-incoming Defense secretary Robert Gates called procurement of the MRAPs his top priority....


... The inspector general's nine-month inquiry was the result of complaints by Franz Gayl, a civilian defense official and whistle-blower who had accused the Marine Corps of "gross mismanagement" that led to a nearly two-year delay in shipping the MRAPs to Iraq.

Had the MRAPs been built and sent after commanders first asked for them in early 2005, hundreds of deaths and injuries could have been prevented, Gayl charged in a study that was first reported in February by The Associated Press....

The February 2005 urgent request for 1,169 MRAPs was signed by then-Brig. Gen. Dennis Hejlik. The Marines could not continue to take "serious and grave casualties" caused by IEDs when a solution was commercially available, wrote Hejlik, who was a commander in western Iraq from June 2004 to February 2005.

Yet despite the stark wording of Hejlik's plea, the request was mishandled and eventually lost in bureaucracy. The inspector general puts most of blame on officials at Marine Corps [Combat] Development Command....

And what was the thinking there? AP told us in February, when the initial study was completed:

...Cost was a driving factor in the decision to turn down the request for the so-called MRAPs, according to the study. Stateside authorities saw the hulking vehicles, which can cost as much as a $1 million each, as a financial threat to programs aimed at developing lighter vehicles that were years from being fielded.

... Hejlik’s request was shuttled to a civilian logistics official at the Marine Corps Combat Development Command in suburban Washington who had little experience with military vehicles. As a result, there was more concern over how the MRAP would upset the Marine Corps' supply and maintenance chains than there was in getting the troops a truck that would keep them alive, the study contends.

... The Combat Development Command, which decides what gear to buy, treated the MRAP as an expensive obstacle to long-range plans for equipment that was more mobile and fit into the Marines Corps' vision as a rapid-reaction force....

Minstrel Boy cites another factor:

The other reason was that MRAPs are heavy and big; too big to fit into an Osprey which is the Corp's pet project - rather a stupid pet trick. It doesn't work well, it costs so much it isn't actually used in combat and it crashes a lot. But most of all the Osprey's limited capacity has caused the Marines to support very bad vehicles like the Growler and aviod very good vehicles like the MRAP.

And he adds this appalling postscript, which reminds us how much we could count on our government throughout the Bush years to Support The Troops:

Two months ago, I got a call from a soldier who was present when my son was killed in an unarmored humvee. Before the mission, my son told this specialist that he hoped they were attacked by indians because the wood panel siding they had constructed for their humvees would only be able to stop arrows.

Good grief.

No comments: