The Public Doesn't Get It

By GotDesign
I guess I shouldn't be surprised, though. I was just over at Penn Station Subs getting a sandwich for lunch. While I was waiting, an older couple began discussing yesterday's inaugural. The conversation at first focused on the pricetag for the inaugural celebration and, somehow, jumped to Rumsfeld using military payrolls to fund body armor and armor for Humvees. The question was asked, "why weren't the Humvees armored originally?" "Why didn't they have body armor?"

It struck me how woefully uninformed the American public is. While I know that there are some who seek to be informed, more often than not, they turn to the MSM for their information. And we know what a farce that is. personally, I would expect that the people would pay attention to the events of recent history for an understanding of the underpinnings of current events.It's almost like the French, in 1939, asking why the Germans are so hostile to France. Hello! Clemenceau! Versailles! War reparations and war guilt! But I digress. When in 1991 the Soviet Empire collapsed, suddenly Democrats had a joy-gasm and started eyeing up the defense budget. How can we yank the stuffings out of the defense budget and ... hmmmm ... buy everyone healthcare, or some such thing? Congress started closing military bases, cancelling weapons programs, and reducing military spending. All of this happening while Osama bin Laden is organizing Al Qaeda and beginning to plan terrorism worldwide.

But how does 1990s defense budgeting figure into body armor and Humvees? Very simple. A drawn-down, underfunded, undermanned military is thrown into combat after the attacks of September 11th. As Donald Rumsfeld himself has said, you go to war with the army you have. Even if it is not properly armed. Like with any other roganization, maintaining inventory (of weapons, armor, etc.) is expensive. The Army doesn't maintain warehouses of body armor and armor for Humvees. As the couple asked, "why weren't the Humvees armored originally?" Well, Humvees are the modern Jeep. They are designed merely to be a behind-the-frontlines transport. The Army has Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs) for delivering troops to the front lines and transport them around the battlefield. APCs are armored, Humvees (with certain exceptions) aren't. If our troops were facing a traditional war -- with drawn lines of battle and a fixed front line -- we would probably not be having this discussion about Humvees. But, the terrorists are smart enough not to attack APCs or tanks. They attack the weakest links -- the Humvees and other unarmored vehicles. Therefore, we are now trying to armor our weakest links.

Basically, the root question is "why weren't we ready?" As a drill sergeant once told me, "always prepared, never ready." But it is very difficult to be prepared. Especially when you aren't notified in advance of a terrorist attack.

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