The Army you have


Geraldine Sealey
December 13, 2004 11:00PM (UTC)

More from the Scrap-Metal Army files:

"COLUMBUS, Ohio -- At a time when some U.S. troops in Iraq are complaining they have to scrounge for equipment, six Ohio-based reservists were court-martialed for taking Army vehicles abandoned in Kuwait by other units so they could carry out their own unit's mission to Iraq.

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"The soldiers say they needed the vehicles, and parts stripped from one, to deliver fuel to Iraq, but their former battalion commander said Sunday the troops should at least have returned the vehicles to their original units.

"The reservists in the 656th Transportation Company had to move their equipment along with the fuel and likely did not have enough vehicles to do so in one trip, their former battalion commander, Lt. Col. Christopher Wicker, said in a telephone interview Sunday.

'That would have required multiple trips back. They do not have many cargo trucks. They are fuel haulers,' he told The Associated Press."

And as we all know by now, "multiple trips" in Iraq means "multiple opportunities to get blown up," although the reservists didn't mention safety as their motivation here. Maybe these folks should have returned the trucks they used, but we can't really blame them for looking for creative ways to get their jobs done, and as safely as possible, if the military isn't providing them with the equipment they need. Put this under the heading of, as Donald Rumsfeld would put it, "going to war with the Army you have, not the Army you want."


Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at Salon.com.

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