The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Thursday, March 10, 2005  

The Times Takes Note
Sen. Dodd Raises Questions
Where's My Reimbursement?

In an important article, "Many Missteps Tied to Delay in Armor for Troops in Iraq," by Michael Moss, published in the New York Times on March 7, the nation's paper of record took note of the abysmal failure of the Department of Defense and the armed services to supply American troops, particularly members of the Reserves and National Guard, with sufficient and appropriate vehicular and body armor.

Hmm . . . Sounds familiar, doesn't it? I'm sure it does to Rittenhouse readers who kept up with this site's harping and carping on behalf of the 427th Transportation Co., based in nearby Norristown, Pa.

I say, Welcome to the issue, my friends on West 43rd Street.

And in a brief item in today's Philadelphia Daily News "Senator's Gripe: Pentagon Not Reimbursing for Armor," we read:

The Defense Department hasn't developed a plan to reimburse soldiers for equipment they've bought to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan despite requirements in a law passed last year, a senator says.

In a letter yesterday to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, D-Conn., asked details on the Pentagon's progress on the reimbursement program and questioned why it was not done yet.

"It's pretty outrageous when you have all their rhetoric about how much we care about our people in uniform," Dodd said.

Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke said Rumsfeld will respond to Dodd's letter after he has reviewed it. She had no comment on the progress of reimbursement regulations.

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I am compelled to reveal that I have a dog in this hunt, as they say. At least sort of.

While reading that the Department of Defense "hasn't developed a plan to reimburse soldiers for equipment they've bought," I can't help but ask whether there exists a plan to reimburse civilians like myself who facilitated the shipment from the U.S. to the Iraqi war arena of "surplus" armor from retired domestic peace officers?

And, more important, are there any plans to reimburse those very men and women who sent their own protection to soldiers overseas based on the pleas I made on behalf of the 427th?

I'm just asking is all.

Looks like it's time to start working the phones again, readers.

[See also "Plan to Reimburse Private Costs for Combat Gear Falls Behind," by John Files, the New York Times, March 10.]

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