Dear Mr. President

February 14, 2007
Blog
Recent reports have suggested that the tens of thousands of soldiers being sent to escalate the war in Iraq will not have the armor and equipment needed to perform their mission and protect their lives.

Thousands of Army Humvees Lack Armor Upgrade

Washington Post - February 12, 2007

U.S. Army units in Iraq and Afghanistan lack more than 4,000 of the latest Humvee armor kit, known as FRAG Kit 5, according to U.S. officials. The Army has ramped up production of the armor, giving priority to troops in Baghdad, but the upgrade is not scheduled to be completed until this summer, Army officials said. That is well into the timeline for major operations launched last week to quell violence by Sunni insurgents and Shiite militias, which the U.S. military now views as the top security threat in Iraq.

Pace: Not enough equipment for surge

UPI - February 6, 2007

U.S. Marine Gen. Peter Pace admitted to the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday equipment will be a problem when U.S. forces in Iraq are increased.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Leader Harry Reid wrote to President Bush on this grave issue today. Two quotes from the letter:

"As Iraqi leaders bicker, the violence in Iraq continues to inflict casualties on our troops at unacceptably high rates. Equally disturbing is the fact that thousands of the new troops you are sending to Iraq as well as those already there will apparently not have the armor and equipment they need to perform the mission and reduce the likelihood of casualties."

"Mr. President, it is wrong to deploy troops to the Iraqi theater until they have the up-armored Humvees, equipment, lodging, training and other support required to carry out their mission. We hope you will work with us to make sure that they do. Our troops and their families deserve nothing less."

Read the full letter in the extended entry.

The President

The White House

Washington D.C., 20500

Dear Mr. President:

As you know, conditions in Iraq continue to deteriorate at a rapid pace. The brunt of the problems in Iraq stem from long-standing sectarian differences, as well as the failure of Iraqi leaders to make the compromises necessary to reach a sustainable political settlement. In such an environment, current and former senior military leaders have concluded that additional military force will not end the civil war in Iraq, it will only inflame it.

That is why we oppose your plan to deepen our military involvement in Iraq with the deployment of more than 20,000 additional troops. We regret that despite the broad bipartisan opposition to your plan in the Congress and in our nation, you have chosen to proceed with this unwise escalation. With this latest troop surge, you have delivered exactly the wrong message to the Iraqi regime, namely that our military commitment is open-ended and there will be few if any consequences for their failure to make progress toward a national political reconciliation.

As Iraqi leaders bicker, the violence in Iraq continues to inflict casualties on our troops at unacceptably high rates. Equally disturbing is the fact that thousands of the new troops you are sending to Iraq as well as those already there will apparently not have the armor and equipment they need to perform the mission and reduce the likelihood of casualties.

According to recent news reports, the Army lacks thousands of advanced armor kits for Humvees that could protect against roadside bombs, the cause of 70% of American casualties in Iraq. In addition, we understand that existing shortages of trucks and other crucial equipment such as jamming devices, radios and other gear will only be exacerbated by the troop surge. Lodging and logistical support is also reportedly in short supply for the newly deployed forces. We hope these reports are wrong, but we suspect they are not.

Mr. President, it is wrong to deploy troops to the Iraqi theater until they have the up-armored Humvees, equipment, lodging, training and other support required to carry out their mission. We hope you will work with us to make sure that they do. Our troops and their families deserve nothing less.

Thank you for your consideration of our views on this important matter.

Sincerely,

Harry Reid

Senate Majority Leader

Nancy Pelosi

Speaker of the House