Look out: Hillary Clinton is pulling the armor cloak from her rhetorical closet again. As long as she pairs it with a skirt, Italian designer Donatella Versace approves. But for any leading presidential candidate with a shred of integrity, this political wardrobe malfunction goes in the "fashion don't" column.
In her latest campaign video, Hillary attacks the Bush administration for sending soldiers off to battle unprotected: "Promises just aren't enough anymore. After almost four years, longer than we were in WWII, our troops still don't have all the body armor and armored vehicles and other equipment they need. It's a disgrace."
Whenever leftists need to show they really, really do care more about the troops than their political opponents, they pull out this armor card. A Rumsfeld-bashing reporter bragged about coaching a soldier into spotlighting the armor gap two years ago. And last year, ignoring rank-and-file soldiers' own observations about the trade-offs between weight and mobility, Hillary excoriated the Bush administration as "incompetent" for not weighing down the troops with extra body armor. Now, the Army is being pummeled again by vultures and opportunists with no clue about the complexities of military logistics.
The Democrats' latest talking point involves a reported shortage of armored Humvees in Iraq. The armchair generals of The New York Times editorial board waxed indignantly about the story last week -- lambasting the "Army, the National Guard and the Marine Corps" for being "caught constantly behind the curve" on armor upgrades. The Times' editorial titled their anti-Bush tirade, "Not supporting the troops." The meme has penetrated from Hillary and Ted Kennedy down to every last, lowest-level Democratic strategist looking to burnish pro-military credibility.
But the Army reminds its critics that it began the War on Terror "with equipment shortages totaling $56 billion from previous decades. In the last several years, the Army has transformed itself more than any other military in history and rapidly acquires ever-improving equipment on a scale not seen since World War II." In Iraq alone, officials report, "the Army has gone from a low of 400 up-armored Humvees to nearly 15,000 up-armored Humvees patrolling neighborhoods, protecting troops and mitigating risk from most types of enemy munitions. As of this date, the Army has produced enough Frag Kit No. 5 Retrofit kits to outfit every Humvee in Afghanistan and Iraq. Thousands of these kits are being flown into theater every month and they are being installed in theater, 24 hours a day, seven days a week to ensure Soldiers have the best protection available."