Crude Facts about Combat

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Crude Facts about Combat

Pentagon Study Links Fatalities to Light Armor

My Son's Last Words Before He Went Back: 'I Don't Know Who My Enemy Is'

Another Iraq War Legacy: Badly Wounded US Troops

Rumsfeld Refuses To Pay Back Military Families For Lifesaving Body Armor

War Wounds: Breaking a Taboo, Army Confronts Guilt After Combat


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Rumsfeld Refuses To Pay Back Military Families For Lifesaving Body Armor:

The Traitor Defies Congress:
"How Many Of Those Killed Could Have Been Saved With The Proper Equipment?"

Families Still Forced To Buy Their Own Protection

"The administration is either showing complete incompetence or utter indifference," "Rumsfeld is violating the law,"

September 29, 2005
By Rick Maze, Army Times staff writer & The Associated Press.

Soldiers and their parents are still spending hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars for armor they say the military won't provide.

"Your expectation is that when you are sent to war, that our government does everything they can do to protect the lives of our people, and anything less than that is not good enough," said a former Marine who spent nearly $1,000 two weeks ago to buy lower-body armor for his son, a Marine serving in Fallujah.

The father asked that he be identified only by his first name 'Gordon' because he is afraid of retribution against his son.

"I wouldn't have cared if it cost us $10,000 to protect our son, I would do it," said Gordon. "But I think the U.S. has an obligation to make sure they have this equipment and to reimburse for it. I just don't support Donald Rumsfeld's idea of going to war with what you have, not what you want. You go to war prepared, and you don't go to war until you are prepared."

In a letter to Dodd in late April, David Chu, undersecretary of defense for personnel, said his office was developing regulations to implement the reimbursement, and would be done in about 60 days.

Tired of waiting for the Pentagon to launch an authorized program to reimburse troops who buy their own personal protective gear for combat deployments, the chief congressional sponsor of the program wants to wrest control of it from defense officials.

Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., attached a provision to last year's defense authorization bill authorizing 'but not requiring' the Defense Department to reimburse troops up to $1,100 for the expense of body armor and other protective gear and health and safety equipment not provided by the military.

The Pentagon has never paid a dime.

"Rumsfeld is violating the law," Dodd said in an interview with The Associated Press. "It's been sitting on the books for over a year. They were opposed to it. It was insulting to them. I'm sorry that's how they felt."

At a Thursday news conference, Dodd said he is not sure why it is taking so long and wonders whether the Pentagon intends to actually reimburse anyone.

"The administration is either showing complete incompetence or utter indifference," he said. "It feels as if I am getting a rope-a-dope with them, hoping I would go away."

Dodd apologized to service members, their family and friends for the delay and vowed to try to get a provision attached to another defense bill 'probably the 2006 defense appropriations bill' ordering reimbursement and putting unit commanders, not Pentagon officials, in charge.

Appearing with Dodd at the news conference was Marine Sgt. Todd Bowers, now a reservist attending college who pulled two tours in Iraq. On his last deployment, Bowers said he was fired on by a sniper but saved by equipment 'a rifle scope hit by the sniper bullet and goggles that protected his eyes from shrapnel' that were not supplied by the Marine Corps.

Bowers bought the goggles for about $100, and his father bought the scope for about $600.

Dodd has the backing of major military and veterans' groups.

"We share your disappointment that the Defense Department still has not implemented it 11 months after it was enacted," said retired Vice Adm. Norbert Ryan Jr., president of the Military Officers Association of America.

Retired Army Master Sgt. Michael Cline, executive director of the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States, said the Pentagon's refusal to pay is hard to understand, given the 91-0 vote by the Senate last year in favor of Dodd's original proposal.

Noting the ongoing stream of casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq, Cline said the military should support any effort to get more protection to troops.

"How many of those killed could have been saved with the proper equipment?" Cline said.

Soldiers and their families have reported buying everything from higher-quality protective gear to armor for their Humvees, medical supplies and even global positioning devices.

Dodd said he is worried the Pentagon will reject most requests for reimbursement. Turning the decision over to the troop commanders will prevent that, he said, because the commanders know what their soldiers need and will make better decisions about what to reimburse.

Dodd also said he wants to eliminate the deadline included in the original law, which allowed soldiers to seek reimbursement for items bought between September 2001 and July 2004. Now, he said, he wants it to be open-ended.

"I'm tired of this, obviously they're not getting the job done," said Dodd. "If you have to go out and buy equipment to protect yourself, you're going to get reimbursed."

[And if neither you nor your family have enough money to buy what you need? Think about that. Billionaires run the government and buy the politicians, but hey, if you can't afford protection and supplies, you can go be dead.

[The enemy is not in Iraq. There is no enemy in Iraq. They're fighting because they've been invaded, and occupied by George W. Bush. The enemy is back here, in Washington DC.

[Iraqis and U.S. troops have the same enemy. Wow, what a surprise. T]

For more info about combat see the source:

For Immediate Release

Sen. Dodd Announces Legislation to Reimburse Troops for Purchasing Essential Safety Equipment

September 29, 2005

WASHINGTON - Sen. Chris Dodd today announced that he will introduce legislation directing the Department of Defense to reimburse soldiers who purchase essential military equipment for serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"The United States government has few higher priorities than the safety and well-being of U.S. troops deployed in harm's way. In my view, that starts with equipping them with the gear they need to operate safely and successfully," said Dodd. "But when it comes to backing our troops in this way, the Administration is either showing complete incompetence or utter indifference. That's why I'm once again introducing legislation to allow for our troops, their family members and others to be reimbursed for critical safety equipment used in Iraq and Afghanistan. We shouldn't have to introduce a law for this to happen. American can do better and it must."

After troubling reports surfaced of troops digging into their own pockets to purchase critical safety equipment, Dodd authored legislation last year to reimburse them, their families, and charitable groups for these purchases. Despite President Bush signing the bill into law in October 2004, the Department of Defense has yet to comply as was required by February 25, 2005. The current law allows for claims of up to $1,100 to be filed by U.S. troops and evaluated and approved by the Secretary of Defense. These reimbursements were to be made for purchases made between September 11, 2001 and July 31, 2004.

Since the Secretary of Defense has yet to comply, Dodd's legislation would take the reimbursement program out of the Defense Secretary's hands and instead allow troops' unit commanders to decide which equipment was eligible for reimbursement. In addition, the measure would cover all purchases made for troops deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan because reports still indicate that military personnel continue to be insufficiently equipped.

Dodd was joined today by Iraq War veteran Sergeant Todd Bowers, who said his eye and possibly his life were saved by safety equipment he purchased on his own, and Retired Brig. Gen. Richard M. Green, legislative director for the National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS) and Retired Master Sergeant Michael P. Kline, executive director for the Enlisted Association of the National Guard (EANGUS) of the United States. So far, both NGAUS and EANGUS endorsed the bill along with the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW), and the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA).

In a letter of support for Dodd's legislation, Dennis Cullinan, director of legislative service for the VFW wrote, "If DoD is unable or unwilling to provide important safety and protective gear to this nation's fighting men and women, then they must be able to procure it themselves without incurring expenses on their own."

"We share your disappointment that the Defense Department still has not implemented it 11 months after it was enacted. In view of that inordinate delay in providing relief for those sent in harm's way, MOAA also supports your new amendment...," said VADM Norbert R. Ryan, Jr. USN (Ret), president of the MOAA.


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