The leftwing journalism side of the Wall Street Journal has a sob story today about the poor Army running out of money under the strain of expenses of combat operations in Iraq.
Would you just look at these examples?
It may seem hard to believe that a country which allocated $168 billion to the Army this year — more than twice the 2000 budget — can’t cover the costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But the two pillars of the Army, personnel and equipment — both built to wage high-tech, firepower-intensive wars — are under enormous stress:
The cost of basic equipment that soldiers carry into battle — helmets, rifles, body armor — has more than tripled to $25,000 from $7,000 in 1999.
The cost of a Humvee, with all the added armor, guns, electronic jammers and satellite-navigational systems, has grown seven-fold to about $225,000 a vehicle from $32,000 in 2001.
Those M4 carbines cost $1382 a piece! And before adding another $8800 worth of sights! Let’s drop those ugly suckers, and buy some nice new Ruger Mini-14 Ranch Rifles in the stainless steel synthetic stock configuration. We can get them retail for $600 a pop, and I bet if we buy a few hundred thousand we can probably get some kind of discount. These rifles shoot the same identical cartridge, and even come with useable sights.
True, they won’t each and every one have nearly nine thousand dollars worth of high-tech infrared shoot-them-in-the-dark sighting equipment, but we could probably get by well enough just purchasing that level of technology for a small number of snipers. Nobody had any of that kind of equipment in WWII and we still won.
If Ruger is not able to supply every Ranch Rifle we need tomorrow, we can just temporarily rough it with the same AK-47s we must have captured by the box car load from the Iraq Army, and which you can pick up cheap in any souk or bazaar in the Middle East. AK-47s are notoriously rugged and reliable.
$225,000 Humvees? It seems impossible to suppose that a large portion of the US Army could get by for basic vehicular transportation on lesser SUVs. How about some nice Ford Expeditions @$27,042 – $38,702. We can pull out all the stops, but the Eddie Bauer model with Convenience Package and power lift gate, add a terrific stereo and soup up the air conditioning, and still come out way ahead.
Looking at that picture of the contemporary soldier, tricked out with every high tech gee gaw anybody can think of. The thought inevitably comes to mind that we are not fighting technically advanced adversaries from Outer Space, or the German Army. We don’t have to achieve the absolute state of the art to be technically far ahead of our Islamic enemies. This conflict features us against people from the Middle Ages with guns. Kalashnikovs, RPGs, IEDs hooked up to washing machine timers are as high-tech as they get.
When you think about what the US Army is spending, we could probably just take out Mafia contracts on all our jihadi and insurgent adversaries on an individual basis, and still come out ahead.
And there is another obvious, and more realistic, alternative: just take all counter-insurgency operations away the Army (with its bloated and over-luxurious TO&E), and turn them over to the Marine Corps.