War on the Cheap


Jesus. I knew it was bad but it didn’t know it had come to this:

[O]n March 19, the night before the 2nd Battalion, 23rd Regiment, crossed the Iraqi border, Marines in Fox Company, drawn mainly from Utah and Nevada, learned they would not have armored vehicles equipped with powerful weapons. Instead, they would ride into combat in soft-sided trucks with few heavy arms.


In the days of fighting their way to Baghdad, Davis’ and Lee’s battalion, honored by the Reserve Officers’ Association as the nation’s finest Reserve infantry unit, found they were short on ammunition, hand grenades, signal devices, chemical weapon detectors and heavy guns.


At one point, food became so scarce that gunners held up signs to passing Army combat engineers scrawled with the words “Will Shoot for Food.”


Fox Company also was short on ammunition for its M240 Gulf machine guns, the largest weapon the infantry can carry. There were so few colored signal flares that the company scrapped plans to use them. Some Marines stuffed bullets into their pockets because they had no ammunition pouches. And the company had only 75 hand grenades for its 200 Marines, who are trained to carry two to four grenades each.


The Marines were so famished from hauling around more than 100 pounds of personal gear and digging foxholes that they begged food from passing Army combat engineers. The engineers tossed them extra MREs.Still, Marines picked through trash piles, looking for portions the Army troops hadn’t eaten. They usually found dehydrated cream and sugar packets intact. They gulped down the contents dry or mixed them with water for a concoction of calories and protein.

“We acted like Iraqi children,” said Lance Cpl. Brent Bower of Salt Lake City. “We were hungry.”

Finally, headquarters told the company to eat its humanitarian foodstuffs, which had been held in reserve for the Iraqis.

Donald Rumsfeld should be shot. Not impeached, not fired. Shot. At dawn by a firing squad of Marines from Iraq.

Unbelievable. There are no words for this. To send troops into battle without equipment or food. No excuse. No forgiveness.

Read the rest. You need to know how bad it was (is) and the excerpts only scratch the surface of what’s reported in the piece. It was even worse than that. Much worse.

I can’t go on.

(Link from Phaedrus)

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