Hillbilly armor and adaptability

Chattanooga Times Free Press reporter Edward Lee Pitts has criticized the military for not having full armor for all vehicles in Iraq and has admitted he convinced the soldier at Secretary Rumsfeld's press conference to ask his question for him on the subject. This has caused a feeding frenzy among the press who hate this war, and who are now trying to make the standard for going to war that every single vehicle in the Motor Pool must be refitted before it gets shipped out. The press writes as if troops can only be sent overseas in a textbook deployment. Like me, you may have trouble remembering that when Clinton sent the troops to Mogadishu without any armor at all, the press jumped on him for doing so. But I am certain that they must have, since they are so even—handed in their treatment of serious issues.

This is exactly what's wrong with armchair generals and particularly citified ones. Journalists now want us to believe that soldiers using their mechanical skills in upgrading vehicles is a scandal and not ingenuity, a  virtue. The press thinks that a platoon ordering a Humvee is just like an editor buying a Lexus in Chicago or Atlanta. If it doesn't have all the features you requested, either the shop won't ship it to you or you can send it back. After all, the editor wouldn't take an acetylene torch and create a sunroof on a car he bought, were it missing this feature he had requested. Why should soldiers in the field have to adapt to changing conditions? Doesn't the Army know about The Lemon Law? Couldn't they call the Dept. of Consumer Affairs?

Perhaps the soldiers should have complained to John Kerry, the standard—bearer of the opposition party, but he and ten other Democrats voted against supplying additional body armor in the $87 Billion Iraq War supplemental funding bill. I haven't seen a word about that in the press articles today. I have seen an article saying that John Kerry is going to Iraq, apparently to complain about the lack of body armor that he also complained about during the debates — the same body armor he voted against funding. He was against body armor funding before he was for it.

In World War II, the Navy retrofitted some regular ships and made them small aircraft carriers. They were second rate, but they fought in the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Also, the Civil Air Patrol, flying along our coast looking for German U—Boats, actually had pilots who home—made bomb racks at the bottom of their plane. One was reported to have sunk a U—Boat. Many pilots risked their lives by returning with a bomb still in place, a potentially fatal risk in a hard belly landing.

I am not old enough to have read the newspapers in those days, but my history books in public high school did not criticize Franklin Delano Roosevelt for the shortage of bombers to patrol the US coasts and the risks Civil Air Patrol pilots took. Gee, I wonder the history teachers of the United Federation of Teachers never criticized Roosevelt for this "unnecessary risk."

I'm not saying that we should accept the readiness standards of 1942 today. But we would be better served by the press accepting reality. Probably, a better job could, and now will be done in expediting the flow of safer vehicles to our forces in Iraq (and elsewhere), thanks to the question asked of the SecDef in Kuwait. The press should report on correctible shortcomings in our war effort, but it doesn't do the country any good for them to spin their articles as if they were writing for the Chicken Little Sky Is Falling Tribune.

Things get confused in both the rapid deployment for war, as well as the fog of battle. The press thinks they are doing us a service with their attitude in these articles — they are not. And their agenda is very transparent. When military papers use the term "Hillbilly Armor," they do so with humor and respect for soldiers' adaptability. When some editor, sitting at a plush desk Stateside uses the term to describe a quick fix in the field, it is perceived as a smug "Gotcha" — because often that is what they is meant to be. 

Jack Kemp is not the politician of the same name.

Chattanooga Times Free Press reporter Edward Lee Pitts has criticized the military for not having full armor for all vehicles in Iraq and has admitted he convinced the soldier at Secretary Rumsfeld's press conference to ask his question for him on the subject. This has caused a feeding frenzy among the press who hate this war, and who are now trying to make the standard for going to war that every single vehicle in the Motor Pool must be refitted before it gets shipped out. The press writes as if troops can only be sent overseas in a textbook deployment. Like me, you may have trouble remembering that when Clinton sent the troops to Mogadishu without any armor at all, the press jumped on him for doing so. But I am certain that they must have, since they are so even—handed in their treatment of serious issues.

This is exactly what's wrong with armchair generals and particularly citified ones. Journalists now want us to believe that soldiers using their mechanical skills in upgrading vehicles is a scandal and not ingenuity, a  virtue. The press thinks that a platoon ordering a Humvee is just like an editor buying a Lexus in Chicago or Atlanta. If it doesn't have all the features you requested, either the shop won't ship it to you or you can send it back. After all, the editor wouldn't take an acetylene torch and create a sunroof on a car he bought, were it missing this feature he had requested. Why should soldiers in the field have to adapt to changing conditions? Doesn't the Army know about The Lemon Law? Couldn't they call the Dept. of Consumer Affairs?

Perhaps the soldiers should have complained to John Kerry, the standard—bearer of the opposition party, but he and ten other Democrats voted against supplying additional body armor in the $87 Billion Iraq War supplemental funding bill. I haven't seen a word about that in the press articles today. I have seen an article saying that John Kerry is going to Iraq, apparently to complain about the lack of body armor that he also complained about during the debates — the same body armor he voted against funding. He was against body armor funding before he was for it.

In World War II, the Navy retrofitted some regular ships and made them small aircraft carriers. They were second rate, but they fought in the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Also, the Civil Air Patrol, flying along our coast looking for German U—Boats, actually had pilots who home—made bomb racks at the bottom of their plane. One was reported to have sunk a U—Boat. Many pilots risked their lives by returning with a bomb still in place, a potentially fatal risk in a hard belly landing.

I am not old enough to have read the newspapers in those days, but my history books in public high school did not criticize Franklin Delano Roosevelt for the shortage of bombers to patrol the US coasts and the risks Civil Air Patrol pilots took. Gee, I wonder the history teachers of the United Federation of Teachers never criticized Roosevelt for this "unnecessary risk."

I'm not saying that we should accept the readiness standards of 1942 today. But we would be better served by the press accepting reality. Probably, a better job could, and now will be done in expediting the flow of safer vehicles to our forces in Iraq (and elsewhere), thanks to the question asked of the SecDef in Kuwait. The press should report on correctible shortcomings in our war effort, but it doesn't do the country any good for them to spin their articles as if they were writing for the Chicken Little Sky Is Falling Tribune.

Things get confused in both the rapid deployment for war, as well as the fog of battle. The press thinks they are doing us a service with their attitude in these articles — they are not. And their agenda is very transparent. When military papers use the term "Hillbilly Armor," they do so with humor and respect for soldiers' adaptability. When some editor, sitting at a plush desk Stateside uses the term to describe a quick fix in the field, it is perceived as a smug "Gotcha" — because often that is what they is meant to be. 

Jack Kemp is not the politician of the same name.