Why Now?
Friday, December 10, 2004
  Armor, what Armor?

The NPR/Slate hybrid Day-to-Day covered the Pentagon misdirection on armoring vehicles in two reports on Thursday. Alex Chadwick talks with two NCOs who discuss using 1/8-inch steel plate and sections of wide conveyer belts to make their vehicles safer as they transport fuel in Iraq.

It was the Mike Pesca report that demonstrates how truly clueless this Pentagon is about the real world. An obfuscating Pentagon parrot started talking about all of the preliminary work that needs to be done before adding armor to trucks: redesigning the suspension, beefing up the transmission and drive trains to take the extra weight.

While I realize that the Pentagon is looking for work to funnel to future employers of its civilians and millions to spend on research is tempting, but get a damn grip. We are not talking about race cars, these are trucks! The additional weight of armor? These vehicles transport tanks! Their loads are measured in TONS! Is a couple hundred pounds of steel likely to have any real impact on a tractor-trailer?

Cable television is big on do-it-yourself shows and make-overs, why doesn’t somebody come up with a program that pits teams against each other to armor National Guard and Reserve trucks, a militarized version of Pimp My Ride. The winner gets to specify which unit currently deployed in Iraq will get a package containing maps, radios, and GPS receivers as well as the modified vehicles. Maybe they could get a tie-in with National Geographic, Garmon, Motorola, and one of the satellite radio services.

[Ed: Pimp My Ride is a real show, my neighbor’s oldest son keeps threatening to turn my name in over the appearance of my van.]


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