Saturday, January 14, 2006

Tell Kline Body Armor Is Not Optional

Paul Rieckhoff and other veterans have been calling for a congressional investigation in why American troops are not getting adequate body armor. Yet Congressman Kline (MN R) has remained silent regarding this national disgrace.

Once before I posted on Kline's appalling record regarding protecting our troops. While Kline wraps himself in the flag with his numerous trips to Iraq, it's all smoke an mirrors without any substance. John Kline, as a member of the House Armed Services Committee, should be working night and day to ensure our troops have the necessary body armor.
From USA Today
After Army and Marine Corps generals were summoned Wednesday to a closed-door briefing on Capitol Hill, the brass emerged with vows to improve body armor for all U.S. troops in Iraq. The Times report continued, noting that "such armor has been available since 2003," but the Pentagon declined to supply it to the troops despite "calls from the field for additional protection."
Members of Congress were reacting to a newly reported analysis by the Armed Forces Medical Examiner, which concluded that 80% of the fatal injuries to Marines in the study might have been prevented by additional armor coverage. Side armor, a special concern, is just beginning to arrive in Iraq.
The internal government report obtained by the New York Times and published in an article this past weekend confirms that "80 percent of the marines who have been killed in Iraq from wounds to the upper body could have survived if they had extra body armor." Did Congressman Kline know of this report even as he travel around Iraq? Why didn't he immediately hold a press conference and demand this issue be addressed? Does his support of the troops only extend to Bush's war agenda?

More than 2000 American troops have died during combat. And according to the Times analysis, hundreds of the deaths could have been prevented if our soldiers were equipped with the right kind of body armor. Armor that costs as little as $260 per set.

Even Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has said there has been an ongoing shortage of body armor for soldiers in Iraq because the government did not anticipate the scope of the insurgency. Armor producing company have announced that they have the ability to produce more, but the army hasn't ordered it. Add into this the fact the private contractors have adequately protected vehicles but our troops don't. While Kline can travel around Iraq's green zone in the best armored vehicle available, our troops are still cutting up plywood to protect their Hummers.

What possible comfort can Kline give to the families of the dead? Kline voted to send our troops into harms way without caring enough to make sure they had the necessary armor and adequate protection. It's a national disgrace!

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