Wednesday, October 20, 2004
18 men and women from the 343rd Quartermaster Company REFUSE to go on a mission.
When a whole platoon of soldiers refuses an order, it is time for Congress to pay attention. The chain of command is fundamental to military discipline and function, and when 18 men and women from the 343rd Quartermaster Company defy a specific command to deliver contaminated fuel hundreds of miles from their base, one can be sure something very serious happened. Initial press reports indicate that the unit's trucks lacked even basic armor and appropriate armed escort. The commander of the Corps to which this platoon ultimate reports, Brig. General James Chambers, confirmed that the unit's trucks were not armored and that he had ordered additional investigations.
This refusal must be interpreted in the light of the ongoing hypocrisy of the Bush administration, which claims that it will send as many troops as the generals in Iraq request, and provide sufficient material and armor to all who need it. Unfortunately, once the generals leave Iraq, they reveal that they sought additional troops repeatedly and that they were desperate for additional supplies and armor. It is barely possible to imagine the desperation of these soldiers, who by all accounts, had used the chain of command to no avail to complain about the conditions and dangers they faced.
Are you pissed off now. Do you think something should be done about it? Urge Sen. Warner, Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, to hold public hearings on the conditions facing the Reserves in Iraq, including those desperate enough to refuse orders and risk court martial.