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Four Color Politics

Mainly the Quotes of the Morning, with occasional Other Crap.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Quotes of the Morning: Shock and Awe

“Spc. Thomas Wilson had asked the defense secretary, ‘Why do we soldiers have to dig through local landfills for pieces of scrap metal and compromised ballistic glass to up-armor our vehicles?’ Shouts of approval and applause arose from the estimated 2,300 soldiers who had assembled to see Rumsfeld.
Rumsfeld hesitated and asked Wilson to repeat his question.
‘We do not have proper armored vehicles to carry with us north,’ Wilson, 31, of Nashville, Tenn., concluded after asking again.
Wilson, an airplane mechanic whose unit, the 278th Regimental Combat Team of the Tennessee Army National Guard, is about to drive north into Iraq for a one-year tour of duty, put his finger on a problem that has bedeviled the Pentagon for more than a year. Rarely, though, is it put so bluntly in a public forum.
Rumsfeld said the Army was sparing no expense or effort to acquire as many Humvees and other vehicles with extra armor as it can. What is more, he said, armor is not the savior some think it is.
‘You can have all the armor in the world on a tank and a tank can (still) be blown up,’ he said.”
-Associated Press, December 8, 2004

“In related news, the Army will no longer be giving soldiers helmets. After all, you can be wearing a helmet and still be blown up, and they will no longer be selling toothpaste in the commissaries, since you can brush every day and still get cavities.”

"You go to war with the Army you have, not the Army you might want or wish to have."
-Donald Rumsfeld, December 8, 2004

“Or the administration that you might want. We have one that places too few troops to control the objective in the theatre of operations, and then shorts them on the items that might save their lives. Well, it isn’t like they lie to us about this stuff though. They’re honest about their situation, bad though it is.”

“U.S. military spokesman Lt. Col. Matthew Beevers said Saturday that Tillman was killed Thursday night in a firefight at about 7 p.m. on a road near Sperah, about 25 miles southwest of a U.S. base at Khost.
After coming under fire, Tillman’s patrol got out of their vehicles and gave chase, moving toward the spot of the ambush. Beevers said the fighting was “sustained” and lasted 15-20 minutes.
Beevers said Tillman was killed by enemy fire, but he had no information about what type of weapons were involved in the assault, or whether he died instantly.
An Afghan militiaman fighting alongside Tillman also was killed, and two other U.S. soldiers were wounded.
A local Afghan commander, Gen. Khial Bas, told The Associated Press that nine enemy fighters were killed in the confrontation.
Bas said six other enemy fighters were believed to have escaped. Beevers said he had no information about any enemy fighters killed.”
-MSNBC, April 26, 2004

“The Army's public release made no mention of friendly fire, even though at the time it was issued, investigators in Afghanistan had already taken at least 14 sworn statements from Tillman's platoon members that made clear the true causes of his death. The statements included a searing account from the Ranger nearest Tillman during the firefight, who quoted him as shouting ‘Cease fire! Friendlies!’ with his last breaths.
Army records show Tillman fought bravely during his final battle. He followed orders, never wavered and at one stage proposed discarding his heavy body armor, apparently because he wanted to charge a distant ridge occupied by the enemy, an idea his immediate superior rejected, witness statements show.
But the Army's published account not only withheld all evidence of fratricide, but it exaggerated Tillman's role and stripped his actions of their context. Tillman was not one of the senior commanders on the scene — he directed only himself, one other Ranger and an Afghan militiaman, under supervision from others. And witness statements in the Army's files at the time of the press release describe Tillman's voice ringing out on the battlefield mainly in a desperate effort, joined by other Rangers on his ridge, to warn comrades to stop shooting at their own men.”
-Washington Post, December 6, 2004

“Now I believe that every soldier fighting in the Army right now is brave. Goddess knows that I haven’t got the guts to do it. And dying for your country is one of the most noble and honorable things that you can do, but for the military to lie about it and sugar-coat the situation to make it sound more ‘heroic’ is inexcusable. I hope that Rumsfeld has trouble sleeping.”

“Out, out damned spot.”
-Lady MacBeth


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