Capt. Aaron Kaufman of the Dagger Brigade at Forward Operating Base Justice, the unit my Hot Air partner Bryan Preston and I embedded with in Baghdad last month, told me: "This is simply another red herring. All of the trucks that leave the FOBs either possess interim FRAG-5 armor kits or the Objective Kits. . . . Every truck we have is baseline an M1114 or M1151 up-armored HMMWV, not a modified M998 or M1025 (standard HMMWV, no armor). The same type of reporter writes these articles, one you can refer [to] as a Green Zone Sniper. I have personally been impressed with how quickly the Army gets newly developed equipment and technology to the soldiers in the fight."
Capt. Matt Schoenfeldt, who serves as a gunner in Iraq's Diyala province, also sent me his reaction:
"I would first like to point out that this is just one more attempt by the liberals to take an extremely complicated situation, look at one small aspect of the story, and then invent the story that they [want] to tell. We have over 70,000 M1114 Up-Armored HMMWVs in theater right now. With that said, it is remarkable that we would be able to retro-fit this number of vehicles with armor in this short time period while still conducting 24-hour combat operations. . . . In addition to the upgrades to all of these 70,000-plus M1114s, the Army has upgraded every vehicle that travels out in sector; from ballistic glass for Track Commanders on Tanks and Bradleys, to armored doors and glass for support vehicles, and everything in between. There is not a single vehicle that goes out in sector that has not been upgraded for threats specific to Iraq.
"The armored upgrade program is a tremendously successful program and has saved thousands of lives. This story on the armor upgrades has been taken by the media and other uneducated members, and painted a very successful and impressive program as a failure. It is an appalling lack of fact-checking by the media and others that should be informed on the issue."
T.F. Boggs, a sergeant in the Army Reserves who recently returned from his second deployment to Iraq, summed it up: "We have come so far since the early days of the war that the armor issue is a joke. Only those who don't have a clue about the reality of the war in Iraq make it an issue."
Put another way: The empress has no clothes.