Supporting Our Troops

February 20, 2007
Blog
During last week's debate, House Democrats made it clear that we will not cut funding for troops serving in Iraq. We also sent a strong message to the President: He will no longer have a blank check for the war in Iraq. In response to Democratic statements on restoring accountability to Iraq appropriations, Republicans have accused Democrats of not supporting the troops. But two recent Pentagon reports demonstrate that our troops are currently paying the price for the Administration's failure to provide them with proper equipment:

U.S. Troops Went Without

Troops Lack Up-Armored Vehicles.

[DOD/IG, Equipment Status of Deployed Forces, 1/25/07]

Troops Lack Communications Equipment.

[DOD/IG, Equipment Status of Deployed Forces, 1/25/07]

Troops Lack Electronic Jammers for Roadside Bombs.

[DOD/IG, Equipment Status of Deployed Forces, 1/25/07]

Troops Lack Heavy Machine Guns.

[DOD/IG, Equipment Status of Deployed Forces, 1/25/07]

The Shortages Will Be Exacerbated with Bush's Escalation Plan: "President Bush's plan to send five additional U.S. combat brigades into Iraq has left the Army and Marines scrambling to ensure that the troops could be supported with the necessary armored vehicles, jamming devices, radios and other gear, as well as lodging and other logistics."

[Washington Post, 1/30/07]

The fact is, our troops are paying the price for the Administration's failure to provide for them. As Speaker Pelosi and Leader Reid wrote to the President last week:

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.

Watch Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-FL) on the House floor recount his conversation with President Bush over adequately protecting our troops:

It is wrong to deploy troops to Iraq until they have the up-armored Humvees, equipment, lodging, training and other support required to carry out their mission. House Democrats will work to ensure that they do - our troops and their families deserve nothing less.