This is one of the most disturbing things I’ve heard since the beginning of this criminal war in Iraq. ABC News is reporting that the Marine Corps has asked for a new type of armored vehicle which they hope will be better suited to dealing with the harsh realities of guerilla warfare in Iraq.
From ABC News:
The Marine Corps hopes to replace all its 3,700 Humvees in Iraq, but it will take until 2009 and will cost $3.7 billion, since each vehicle costs $900,000. Until then, the Marines will have to make do with the more vulnerable armored Humvees available to them now.
The new hull-armored MRAPs, or Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles, have V-shaped floors that deflect the force of the blast away from the vehicles. Humvees are more vulnerable because they have flat floors that absorb the blast from roadside bombs. MRAPs are said to provide survival rates four to five times greater than do armored Humvees.
Roadside bombs take a heavy toll on U.S. forces in Iraq. More than 700 Marines have been killed in Iraq since the war began in 2003, nearly two-thirds of them in Humvee attacks, the Pentagon said.
The fact that Bush is sending 22,000+ additional forces into a civil war that Republican Senator Gordon Smith called “absurd” and “criminal” without the equipment that will keep solider safer is beyond the pale.
Additionally, this declaration makes it clear that officials are planning to wage this war going at full-force (they couldn’t justify this major expense without the war surging at full-throttle) for at least another three years.
The Army plans to buy 2,500 MRAP vehicles over the next three years but sees them as an additional equipment option and not a replacement for its 14,000 up-armored Humvees in Iraq. Up-armored Humvees have increased armor protection.
This is criminal.