rumsfeld came under friendly fire

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    US troops using scrap as armour:
    Angry soldiers confront Rumsfeld

    CAMP BUEHRING, Dec 8: Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld came under friendly fire on Wednesday from US soldiers who took up his invitation to ask tough questions about Iraq.

    Hundreds of soldiers applauded a comrade who complained to Mr Rumsfeld that US troops were being forced to dig up scrap metal to protect their vehicles in Iraq because of a shortage of armoured transport.

    "Why do we soldiers have to dig through local landfills for pieces of scrap metal and compromised ballistic glass to armour our vehicles ... (scrap) that has already been shot up, dropped, busted, picking the best out of this scrap to put on our vehicles to take into combat?, the soldier said.

    "We do not have proper armourment for our vehicles to carry us north (into Iraq)." At Camp Buehring in Kuwait, 20kms south of the Iraq border, Mr Rumsfeld faced other questions about equipment shortages and the US role in Iraq after elections scheduled for Jan 30.

    He conceded that "not every vehicle has the degree of armour that it would be desirable for it to have", but said the army was hurrying to plate more vehicles. "I think it is something like 400 a month are being done," he said. "As you know, you go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time...

    "I've talked a great deal about this with a team of people who have been working hard at the Pentagon... if you think about it, you can have all the armour in the world on a tank and a tank can be blown up. And you can have an up-armoured Humvee and it can be blown up."

    The army has acknowledged problems in supplying sufficient numbers of the armoured Humvee, a light vehicle which without extra armour can be vulnerable to the daily attacks in Iraq by guerillas using roadside bombs and rocket-propelled grenades. -Reuters

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