Written by Victor O’Reilly for Congressman Jim Saxton, D21 Aug 22, 2003
A SIMPLE ISSUE:In a time of war, should the lives of American soldiersbe put at stake by – knowingly - fielding substandardvehicles procured to meet a symbolic peacetimeagenda?
In peacetime, the procurement of military equipment resembles acommercial spectator sport where the rewards are profit and the penalty is loss.Of course, most thinking Americans know it should not be that way –because the lives of American soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen could
be at stake - but their concerns are largely swept aside by theimperatives of a free market economy where the good, without question,outweighs the bad.Senators and Congressman, quite rightly, fight for their states, districts andparty interests. Defense contractors fight for their bottom line. The military fightfor their services.All of this is understandable, if less than ideal, in peacetime.
But, we are at war
, and, as this document is being written, Americansoldiers are being killed or injured virtually every day in Iraq – with equipmentlimitations making no small contribution.Apart from our tanks and Bradleys, virtually none of our vehicles haveany significant degree of RPG resistance, yet the RPG is the most predictableweapon, apart from the AK-47 that we are likely to encounter in any foreseeableconflict.The issue raised in this report is whether the US Army should be allowedto field the Stryker, a family of vehicles whose extensive deficiencies arecomprehensively laid out in the following pages, but which, for technical,bureaucratic and political reasons, has managed to elude the Department of Defense’s Operational Test and Evaluation.In this document, we ask that this exercise in symbolism, instead of substance, be stopped.There are far, far, better and more cost effective alternatives.More to the point, American lives, and the missions for which our soldiersfight, should not be put at risk unnecessarily.
Victor O’Reilly email@example.com