John Murtha just made a live statement on CNN (and other shows, I’m sure), that I found quite powerful. I have transcribed the live coverage below the fold.
Here is a link to the actual resolution he introduced today asking for Rumsfeld’s resignation.
He is referencing as well a report as to military readiness that he has reviewed. I will try to find a link and update the diary.
…non-deployed combat brigades, managed by the Army’s Forces Command. And the vast majority of them are rated the lowest readiness ratings. The ratings are caused by severe equipment shortages.
The situation facing the Army Guard and Reserve is comparatively worse. Not currently mobi8loized, about 4/5ths received the lowest readiness ratings. 4/5ths. The same is true for the Army Reserve. Personnel shortage is the major reason behind the decline in the Guard and Reserve readiness shortages created, for the most part, by mobilization having [lapped] or personnel having been pulled from units to augment others. So they’re not going as a unit in many cases. As a matter of fact, the Adjutent General of Pennsylvania says we can’t send units any longer because of the constriction on the National Guard in Pennsylvania, and Pennsylvania’s probably the most deployed National Guard in the country – we have to send individuals to fill units.
As we come to expect, the US Army [is] embued with the whatever it takes spirit of commitment and hard work. It’s been given a mission, and it will complete that mission. Try to complete that mission. Yet it’s becoming increasingly apparent the level of commitment has not been met by the Secretary of Defense and the other civilian officials charged with overseeing and assuring the well being of our military. The mere fact that roughly 1/2 of the US Army is at the lowest level of military readiness speaks volumes in this regard.
Perhaps most troubling to many Army senior uniformed leaders is the lack of national attention to the Army’s plight. To emphatically state that the global war on terror will last for years yet fail to even acknowledge, let alone take steps to address, the Army’s readiness, equipment and personnel shortfalls is short-sighted at best. At worst, it’s unconscionable, because the future security deterrent power of the United States is dangerously at risk.
Let me tell you – it’s completely insensitive for the Secretary of Defense to talk to the people that he represents – the young troops – who are out in the field day after day in 120 degrees carrying 70 pounds on their back, and tell them we don’t have a crystal ball. They want answers. They want to know – and of course the reason is we don’t have enough troops to be deployed over and over again. And to say that because they’re volunteers shows a compelte insensitivity to the situation that these families go through and I go to the hospitals all the time. And the thing that I worry about the most is the fact that the troops not only are in missions that they don’t understand in many cases but also the future of the military.
And I’m introducing a resolution today asking for the resignation of Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld not only for his past mistakes – he said the weapons of mass destruction – we know where they are – he said this war won’t last six weeks, maybe six months – he said it would cost $50 billion dollars. We sent troops into battle without the appropriate armored vests – I was the one that found the armored vest shortages when I went to Iraq. So not only for his past mistakes, but for the future of the military and that’s the thing that I worry about the most since I’ve spoken out – is the readiness. We can talk about Iran and Iraq, and we can talk about North Korea – but if you don’t have a strategic reserve, which we don’t have now – and those troops, when they’re being trained, they don’t have the equipment to train, and so they shift equipment all over the place. And then they go into a field where they get the equipment, but they aren’t trained on the exact equipment they’ve used [sic].
Now going back to General Schoomaker’s comments – one of the problems we had in that operation was that those helicopters they flew, the pilots were not familiar with them…
CNN ended its coverage here.
My emphasis added. He speaks the truth, and with conviction, yet again.