Make Rumsfeld Squirm
When Donald Rumsfeld was put on the defensive 2 days ago by questions from U.S. soldiers, he blamed part of their equipment problems on the manufacturer of Humvees. According to Rumsfeld, the company that manufactures Humvees, and the company that manufactures their armor, were running at full capacity; nothing more could be done.
Not so, according to Lee Woodward of AM General, the company that makes Humvees. He said "If they call and say, 'you know, we really want more,' we'll get it done." Michael Fox, of O'Gara-Hess & Eisenhardt, the company that turns Humvees into fully armored vehicles, also said they can provide more if the government requests. Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana said the companies could increase production from 450 a month to 550 a month by February, if necessary. Bayh told the Pentagon last April that more armored Humvees could be built. He told reporters that this was another example of the Bush administration's lack of focus in Iraq. "It borders on the naive," he said.
So, Rummy, what's the scoop? Which is it?
It'll be interesting to see the Bush administration's frantic PR and damage-control efforts to contain the controversy. When politicians sloganize about "supporting our troops," the public tends to believe them and expects them to back up this slogan with money and equipment. Maybe it's time for the Bush administration to find out how the public reacts when they realize "support our troops" is just an empty slogan.