Thursday, December 13, 2007

Dousing political fires with armored combat vehicles

Posted by John Keller

It doesn't make much sense, which is what makes it so believable. When the federal government -- any agency in the federal government -- encounters a big, potentially embarrassing problem, it overwhelms the problem with money and resources. No matter if the expenditures actually solve the problem or not, by God the government is going to do something about it!

Even if what the government ultimately does is just silly.

So it is lately with the so-called mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle, better-known as MRAP. Congress went nuts forcing these MRAPs on U.S. fighting forces in the Middle East in the wake of controversies about under-armored Humvees, which were blamed for causing the deaths of too many American kids in uniform.

Now the Pentagon is crying uncle, as Army and Marine Corps units are drowning in MRAPs. They've got too many and don't need any more, which could be depriving the Congress of making more political hay of tragic American deaths in combat theaters of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Christian Lowe had a great piece in the Daily Standard about the MRAP glut. He also has a blog in Defense Tech saying he told us so.

I wish I could say I'm surprised, but I've been covering the federal government now for 26 years, and I've seen it too many times before. Watch the next time there's a world-ending forest fire out West. God bless 'em, the federal agencies put out these fires almost literally by pouring money on them.

I can't blame Congress for wanting to take action to keep American kids in uniform out of harm's way with improvised explosive devices (IEDs) sown thick as cabbages on Iraqi highways. But would it be a crime to think the problem through and consider -- just for a minute -- if pouring buckets of armored vehicles on the problem was the best way to go?

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