Category Archives: military

West Hartford-based Colt could lose contract

 From a forum on www.militaryltd.com:

“The debate over the Army’s choice to purchase hundreds of thousands of M4 carbines for its new brigade combat teams is facing stiff opposition from a small group of senators who say the rifle may be inferior to others already in the field.
“In an April 12 letter to acting Army Secretary Pete Geren, Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn said purchase of the M4 – a shortened version of the Vietnam-era M16 – was based on requirements from the early 1990s and that better, more reliable weapons exist that could give Army troops a more effective weapon.
“Coburn asked the Army to hold a “free and open competition” before inking sole-source contracts worth about $375 million to M4 manufacturer, West Hartford, Conn.-based Colt Defense – which just received a $50 million Army contract for M4s on April 20.
“I am concerned with the Army’s plans to procure nearly half a million new rifles outside of any competitive process,” Coburn wrote in the mid-April letter obtained by Military.com.”

Anybody know whether this would have any impact one way or another on our town?

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Filed under Army, M4, military, Pete Geren, Tom Coburn, West Hartford economy

Newsweek’s stunning new issue

Scrawled across the cover of the April 2 issue of Newsweek are a soldier’s words, in his own writing: “Any day I’m here could be the day I die.”

What follows inside is an extraordinary, deeply sad and wonderful look into the lives of our fallen troop — in their own words. It’s full of excerpts from letters, emails, instant messages, audio recordings and more that our warriors left behind after war took them from us forever.

Every reminder that so many of our soldiers are dying daily is a good thing, but this issue is a gift from Newsweek to America. It’s not particularly political in the narrow sense of bashing or bolstering President Bush, but it leaves an unmistakable impression that we’ve lost far too much.

Just looking at the pictures of men cuddling their babies breaks your heart, over and over and over.

I know the war is hell, that soldiers who perish leave gaping wounds at home, that battles grind up more than bodies. They blow up dreams. They shatter families. They leave a wreckage that goes far beyond the pieces of metal on a distant ground.

But what I realized as I read the words of these slain soldiers is that this war’s price is far too high for whatever it is that we’re getting out of it. After four years of conflict, it’s increasingly hard to see beyond the death toll, to see any vision at all for a future that isn’t just soaked in more patriots’ blood.

Bring ’em home.

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Filed under Foreign policy, Iraq, Iraq war, military, Newsweek, veterans

Why we lost the war

Even though the Bush administration and Sen. Lieberman haven’t yet accepted that the war is lost, it’s clear enough that it is. All you have to do is talk to the returning soldiers. They know there’s nothing left to fight for, nothing there to win. It’s just a question of how much more of our blood and treasure is squandered in Iraq before we leave.

It’s not too early, however, to figure out what we did wrong. That strikes me as crucial if we are to get it right next time.

The answer seems pretty simple, really. We had a choice to make right at the start: were we going to whip Saddam and haul ass out of there, or were we going to occupy the country for the long haul? We planned for the first outcome, then adopted the second path, without a clue what it would take or where it might lead.

It strikes me looking back that we should have declared victory while the crowds were pulling down Saddam’s statues and then gotten the hell out there after putting some vaguely reasonable Iraqi general in charge of the transition to some new and more friendly government.

Why that didn’t happen is probably the administration’s lust for oil. They figured that we deserved it — and they weren’t about to risk having someone else take control of the oil fields. The quick seizure of Saddam’s oil ministry while museums were getting sacked shows where the priority was from day one.

You put oil men in the White House and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they act, well, oily.

Now that it’s all over except the fingerpointing — and watch how the GOP diehards try to blame the Democrats for their own failed war that happened when they controlled the entire U.S. government — we need to make sure that next time a president calls us to go into battle, we have a clear goal to achieve, then leave.

After all, we’re not imperialists. We’re no good at it because we’re not ruthless and we’re not mean. We give, not take. We just have no business occupying anywhere.

And let’s not elect any more of these crazy ass oil men.

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Filed under Iraq war, military, News, Politics, veterans

Building 18

Just read the sickening, wonderful news story from last Sunday’s Washington Post about the conditions that our wounded troops are living in at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. It’s appalling.

These men and women, who have suffered grievously in battle, are living in crappy old apartments with mold, mice, cockroaches and holes in the walls. They’re getting the bureaucratic runaround at every turn. Our heroes are treated like the pests they’re forced to live with.

I’m genuinely outraged. These bastards in Washington are constantly talking about how we must all support the troops — and this is how they treat our wounded warriors just down the road from the White House?

It makes me more convinced than ever that it’s time to stop this crazy war. Our guys are stuck in the middle of a civil war with no real allies, no plan for winning, no idea even what winning means. They’re getting blown away for nothing. And the ones who come back wounded in body and spirit are abused by the very government that sent them off to fight.

Thank God for The Washington Post and its willingness to peak behind the facade to let us know how badly the Bush administration is taking care of our troops. It shows once again what kind of men started and guided this war — officials who don’t give a damn what happens to my fellow Americans who had the guts and sense of duty to put themselves in harm’s way for all of us.

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Filed under Iraq war, military, News, Politics, veterans