Over at Powerline, John Hinderaker (nee “Hindrocket”) is outraged. Sen. Mark Dayton (D-MN), he says, “may have set a new low when he used the death of a Minnesota soldier to launch a cheap shot against the Bush administration.”
The backstory: in late-March, Minnesota native Cpl. Travis Bruce was killed in Iraq “by a rocket-propelled grenade while standing watch on the roof of a Baghdad police station.” The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that Bruce had called his girlfriend the night before his death “and said that he was stationed on the rooftop and increasing the height of the sandbag barricade. ‘He said they didn’t have enough sandbags up there,’ she said softly.”
Based on this account, Sen. Dayton sent a letter to President Bush calling it “immoral for our command not to provide our soldiers with absolutely everything they need to give them maximum protection: body armor, armored vehicles, sandbags. “ Hinderaker had heard enough.
“First it was body armor, then armored vehicles,” Hinderaker complained. “Now it’s ‘immoral’ that our soldiers don’t have enough sandbags. Am I missing something, or is this ludicrous on its face? I can understand a soldier in Iraq being short of armor. But sand?” He continues: “It is up to soldiers in the field to protect themselves. If they want more sandbags, they should get more sandbags, as Cpl. Bruce apparently did.”
So, according to Hinderaker, the idea of a sandbag shortage is “ludicrous” and it’s Cpl. Bruce’s fault that he couldn’t get his hands on enough bags to save his life.
He should tell that to Sgt. Kris Owen, who was forced to join “other reservists in the Fort Collins-based 244th Engineers in a scavenger hunt for scrap metal and sandbags,” as noted in the Denver Post. In USA Today, soldiers said there were “not enough sandbags to protect detainees from incoming mortars, which at times have been a nightly occurrence. … U.S. military officials said they had ordered more sandbags.” And a Seattle Times reporter described a “cottage industry in sandbag production” spawned by Camp Victory, as U.S. soldiers began hiring local Iraqis to “stuff bag after bag to protect the base.”
Or maybe Hinderaker ought to just keep his uninformed assumptions to himself.