A Semi Without a Driver:
Does anyone in the fuckin' press corps have access to Google? 'Cause, within, like, two minutes of searching, here's two stories from a couple of months before National Guardsman Thomas Wilson asked Donald Rumsfeld about the need for armor on the vehicles the soldiers were about to drive into Iraq: From Stephanie Heinatz, an embedded reporter at the Hampton Roads, Virginia Daily Press comes this September 26 story about the Army's 7th Transportation Group from Fort Eustis. They're based in Kuwait, but they do the ultra-dangerous equipment transportation runs into Iraq. Heinatz describes various ways in which the troops try to reinforce their "thin-skinned" vehicles, like putting sandbags on the floors to absorb explosions and welding thicker metal onto the doors. "The Army calls it 'locally made, bolt-on armor.' Soldiers call it 'hillbilly' armor," Heinatz writes. "'The Army's not doing their job to protect their kids if they are finding things to armor themselves,' said Col. Donald Olson, site manager for the Humvee armoring shop."

The other story is from October 21, in the Seattle Times. Hal Bernton writes about a Washington National Guard transportation unit and the soldiers' concern about lack of armor and their reliance on hillbilly armor. The article says that fully armoring all the Humvees will take "until at least March," which, if one uses other predictions about Iraq as a measure, means something like April 2010. The rest of the article is the typical pathetic bullshit, with quotes from "angry" but "flustered" politicians, a mother whose son was killed in an unarmored vehicle, and more.

When Rumsfeld responded with his glib remarks about "physics" and how that soldier could die even if he was in an armored vehicle, the Secretary of Defense may as well have said, "You fucking little hick-ass pussy, lemme tell you something: the only reason you have a tooth in your mouth is because of the Guard, you backwards ass bitch. So don't you yokel-slur out some kind of accusatory question at me. And, hey, diggin' through trash heaps, isn't that what you inbred motherfuckers do out in rural Georgia? Shit, you oughta be proud that Uncle goddamn Sam thinks your cracker dick is worthy of gettin' blown off. Otherwise, you'd be squatting in a ditch back home, picking chiggers out of your armpit hair. You question me? You listen, you insignificant zit, you IED fodder, you piece of shit, you'll only get a proper burial if you fuckin' get to die for your great nation - otherwise, it's the creek for you. Now, General, get up here and tell these soldiers that everything is just fuckin' fine while I ream your ass. Drop them pretty khaki drawers and bend over."

And the national press, who we'll deal with tomorrow, originally acted like it had just discovered the lack-of-armor story, when, in reality, it had been a minor detail in many, many stories about the debacle of Iraq, that semi without a driver, careening towards the precipice. And, as the two Googled stories show, the whole hillbilly armor fuck-up was known before the election. But apparently, it wasn't worthy of discussion when Dan Rather was busy believing forged memos.

But, now, oh, sweet mercies, it seems that a reporter fed the armor question to Wilson. And there, tomorrow, we shall pick up our sad tale with how fuckin' giddy Fox News, among others, was.

Update: Readers John and Matt remind us that 60 Minutes did a report on the hillbilly armor problem as part of a larger piece on a lack of material support for troops in the war zone. Of course, this was broadcast on October 31, two days before the election and post-Rather/memo kerfuffle, so, really, no one paid attention. And why bother unless it comes up at a soldiers' Q&A with the Secretary of Defense?