Ill-Equipped Troops, Where's NYT's Outrage Now?
The New York Times jumped on the story of ill-equipped troops being sent into a combat zone in 2004; so where are they in 2009?
This appeared Thursday, May 7, in Newsmax.com:
The equipment delay is "a considerable concern," Gates said as he toured a dusty forward base in south Afghanistan where some 200 newly deployed Marines and sailors are arriving each day as part of the buildup of 21,000 new U.S. troops.
"I heard this on several occasions today, that the equipment is coming in behind the troops and is not here and available for them when they arrive," Gates said at a news conference Thursday night in Kabul before a fly-around through bases in Afghanistan.
Now set the clock back to December 2004. Recall when a young soldier asked then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who was visiting Iraq, why troops there lacked proper armor to protect their trucks. Here’s how the NYT reported that story of ill-equipped troops:
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld came here [Iraq] Wednesday to lead a morale-lifting town hall discussion with Iraq-bound troops. Instead, he found himself on the defensive, fielding pointed questions from soldiers complaining about aging vehicles that lacked armor for protection against roadside bombs.The paper took delight – it comes through their words – in ridiculing Rumsfeld and the lack of preparedness on the part of the Bush administration.
Mr. Rumsfeld, seemingly caught off guard by the sharp questioning, responded that the military was producing extra armor for Humvees and trucks as fast as possible, but that the soldiers would have to cope with equipment shortages. ''You go to war with the Army you have, not the Army you might want or wish to have at a later time,'' he said.
Specialist Thomas Wilson, a scout with a Tennessee National Guard unit set to roll into Iraq this week, was the first to step forward, saying that soldiers had had to scrounge through landfills here for pieces of rusty scrap metal and bulletproof glass -- what they called ''hillbilly armor'' -- to bolt to their trucks.
''Why don't we have those resources readily available to us?'' Specialist Wilson asked Mr. Rumsfeld, drawing cheers and applause from many of the 2,300 soldiers assembled in a cavernous hangar here to meet the secretary.
So where’s their patented storyline of ridicule now? It’s essentially the same story today as then, is it not? Yet their ridicule this time is conspicuous by its absence. What’s up with that?