Friday, May 13, 2005

License Plates for Body Armor

We picked on the Oklahoma legislature in a previous post. We also pointed out problems with body armor issued to troops in Iraq. Now let's combine the two.

The Oklahoma House of Representatives recently passed legislation to create “Patriot Plates,” special license plates which help buy body armor for Oklahoma troops sent to Iraq.

For every $35 plate purchased, the state will donate twenty bucks to a special fund to buy bulletproof vests and other pieces of armor to keep soldiers safe.

The legislation was proposed by State Rep. Ryan Kiesel, who said he got the idea after meeting with soldiers from his district. “They were being sent to Afghanistan or Iraq with no body armor or Vietnam-era body armor.”

We don't mean to mock Oklahoma for this action, which is truly a good thing. We know of some parents who have personally bought body armor and shipping it to their sons and daughters. We also know the stories of soldiers srounging in scrap yards for homemade armor. We've even read an interview with Patrick Resta of Iraq Veterans against the War. Resta served as a combat medic in Iraq, His aunt and uncle were killed in the World Trade Center on September 11th and about three weeks later he was called to active duty as part of homeland security. He served for one year at Ft. Jackson, SC. Then, less than one year after leaving Ft. Jackson, he found out that he was being deployed to Iraq.

I wasn't surprised at all that I was sent to Iraq. What did surprise me though was how my unit and myself were sent into combat unequipped and unprepared and it didn't seem to bother anyone.

Isn’t Donald Rumsfeld's job to arm and protect America's soldiers? Isn't he ashamed other people have to pick up his slack?