July 1, 2007

Abandon the Armored Vehicles!

In an article entitled, "Iraq ambush caps bloodiest months for US" Associated Press writer ROBERT H. REID reports:
A huge bomb explosion followed by a hail of gunfire and grenades killed five U.S. soldiers, the military said Friday. The attack climaxed the deadliest three-month period for the Americans since the war began.

He quantifies this, saying,

The toll for the past three months — 329 — made it the deadliest quarter for U.S. troops in Iraq since the March 2003 invasion. That surpasses the 316 soldiers killed during November 2004 to January 2005.

The November 2004 to January 2005 date range includes the second battle of Fallujah.

Maj. Gen. Joseph F. Fil Jr., who heads U.S. forces in the Iraqi capital, reported that the ambush involved a very large, deeply buried bomb that is difficult or impossible to detect. As a result, AP writer Ried reports,

Such "deep buried bombs" have been especially effective against U.S. vehicles, including Humvees, Bradley fighting vehicles and Strykers, prompting commanders in some areas to shift to foot patrols to avoid losing so many soldiers in a single blast.

Imagine that, the rag tag Iraqi insurgents have succeeded in forcing US troops to abandon the "security" of their armored vehicles and take to foot.

Think of it. US tax payers invest huge sums into these vehicles and their use is rendered a security risk by some irregular rebels. "Don't drive those vehicles around, you might get a bunch of guys killed." Sheeeit. That's pathetic. Reminds me of the American Revolution, except this time the Americans are the Red Coats.

Costs per Vehicle:

Humvee: The cost of an armored Humvee, built from scratch, is $150,000.[1]

Stryker: The Average acquisition cost per Stryker vehicle:
November 2000 (original estimate): $3.34 million
December 2003: $4.13 million. [2]

Bradley Fighting Vehicle: Average cost each about $3.2 million [3]

When the military has to abandon it vehicles, it seems like another sign of US impotence. I'm reminded of a profound observation by James K. Galbraith in Mother Jones Magazine. He says,

Bush and Cheney have done more than bungle a war and damage the Army. They have destroyed the foundation of the post-Cold War world security system, which was the accepted authority of American military power. That reputation is now gone. [4]


1. "Frantically, the Army tries to armor Humvees", MSNBC, Michael Moran, April 15, 2004. Surely the cost is higher now, and ... it's better not to use them, lest you get nailed by a "deeply buried bomb."

2. US General Accounting Office, August, 2004.
GAO report number GAO-04-925 entitled 'Military Transformation: Fielding of Army's Stryker Vehicles Is Well Under Way, but Expectations for Their Transportability by C-130 Aircraft Need to Be Clarified' which was released on August 12, 2004.

3. Federation of American Scientists, Bradley Fighing Vehicle.

4. Mother Jones Magazine, "Quitting Iraq won't undo the the war’s damage to U.S. security.", James K. Galbraith. March/April 2006.

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