Improvized Explosive Devices (IEDs) are responsible for “nearly half the casualties of our troops in Iraq.” Among the best defenses against IEDs is a massive heavily-armored vehicle called the Buffalo, which has “become the favorite of U.S. Army combat engineer teams.”
Yesterday, during a surprise trip to Iraq, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld was confronted by a U.S. Army corporal who said the Buffalo he was using was “one of oldest pieces of equipment in the country,” and that just two weeks before, he’d seen a brand new Buffalo in New York City. Rumsfeld defended the Pentagon’s anti-IED efforts and deflected the specific question with a joke.
Full transcript below:
CORPORAL ARTHUR KING: Right now we have one of the oldest pieces of equipment in the country. It’s called a Buffalo and ours is the oldest. And the other day, two weeks ago, we saw a brand-new one in downtown New York City and we’ve been waiting for three months for ours. We are just wondering why that was.
RUMSFELD: Well, I don’t know about New York City. They obviously have a separate budget and they buy what they buy. We’ve got $3.6 billion that dwarfs anything that New York City does just for I.E.D. work and General Monty Miggs has been brought back and he is in the process — he has been in the Army for two and a half, three years, he has been working their heads off as the nature of the I.E.D. problem has migrated and evolved they have put enormous effort on it. I can’t answer why your particular unit ends up with one of the oldest pieces of equipment, but I’ll bet you General Casey can.
OLBERMANN: To his credit, General Casey skipped the jokes said he didn’t know either but would find out and get back to him with an answer.