James Leroy Wilson's blog

Saturday, January 15, 2005

The Army We Had

William E. Merritt in the "Reflections" section of Liberty Magazine ("Saving Spc. Wilson):

"You go to war with the army you have," [Rumsfeld] said, "not the army you might want or wish you had at some later time."

Afterwards, a government flack named Pentagon Spokesman Lawrence Di Rita chimed in with the news that the military is producing 450 sets of Humvee up-armor a month. Di Rita then went on to mention America's huge industrial capacity and how we'd won WWII — none of which answered the question, why don't we have the army we might wish we had at some later time?

This is some time later. Counting from Sept. 11, 2001, to Dec. 7, 2004 — the day Spc. Wilson asked the obvious — we were 38 months and 27 days into the War on Terror. When we were 38 months and 27 days into WWII, it was March 3, 1945, and we had the army we wanted by then. In fact, we had it in Germany.

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After 38 months and 27 days fighting WWII, we weren't straining our industrial capacity to produce 15 sets of jeep armor a day. From the instant the first Zero appeared over Oahu, all the way through to the moment the final Japanese diplomat straggled on board the Missouri to sign the surrender, we averaged — including the time needed to design, develop, ramp up production for, and build with a labor force consisting, largely, of people who had planned to be housewives at this point in their careers — an entire brand-new tank every 20 minutes. And we did it while turning out a warplane every five minutes, a jeep every two and a half minutes, and a ship every four hours and 20 minutes. And a lot of those babies used armor, too.

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And how, given the same 38 months and 27 days in which our parents built 90,000 tanks, tens of thousands of landing craft, 300,000 military aircraft, 600,000 jeeps and 7,000 ships, we are straining to turn out 15 sets of Humvee armor a day. And why, exactly, that isn't your [Rumsfeld's] fault.


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