Yesterday, we learned ABC News anchorman Bob Woodruff and cameraman Doug Vogt were seriously injured by an improvised explosive device while traveling in Iraq. Woodruff, at the time of the attack, was riding with an Iraqi army unit:
The Iraqi mechanized vehicle they were riding in is considered more dangerous than U.S. vehicles. ABC said the two were traveling that way to get the perspective of the Iraqi military.
The attack underscores the fact that Iraqi security forces have not been properly-equipped to take on the insurgency, a continuing problem that remains a major stumbling block in the Bush exit strategy. President Bush has stated, “Victory will come when the Iraqi security forces can provide for the safety of their own citizens.” And he has assured the American public that we are “building up the Iraqi security forces so they can increasingly lead the fight to secure their country.” But the facts belie his rhetoric.
The Washington Times reported recently:
The emerging Iraqi army is in dire need of more armored vehicles, an issue largely lost in the two-year debate over U.S. soldiers and Marines who at one time lacked protective gear. “¦ “One of the main things is they don’t have much armor at all,” said retired Coast Guard officer Michael Kearney, a defense contractor who is working to bolster the force. “Their people are running around in pickup trucks, and they are getting nailed.”
CBS correspondent Lara Logan traveled to Iraq in late November and interviewed members of the Iraqi security forces to find that the terrorists were better-equipped than the security forces:
LOGAN: Is it fair to say that the terrorists are better armed than you?
BRIG. GEN. AMIR AL-DULAIMI: Yes, of course. [CBS Evening News, 11/30/05]
Thanks to courageous journalists like Woodruff, the American public is able to learn the reality of the situation on the ground, a perspective they do not hear frequently from the administration. Our thoughts and prayers are with Woodruff, Vogt, and their respective families.
Here’s what ABC World News Tonight reported last night:
The U.S. military has had to adapt its tactics. So-called “hillbilly armor,” improvised by kevlar vests in some cases, shores up their achilles’ heel. But Iraqi soldiers are among the most vulnerable because in general the vehicles they drive are not armored. This weekend, we spent time with Iraqi troops north of Baghdad, not far from where today’s attack took place. They said they often feel like sitting ducks. [Iraqi soldier:] “The other day a bomb hit our vehicle,” he told me. “If we’d been in a U.S. humvee, you wouldn’t see much damage. But check out that car [Iraqi pick-up truck], it’s totally destroyed.”