Soldiers Grill Rumsfeld
U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld faced tough questioning Wednesday from troops about to be deployed to Iraq.
Soldiers at Camp Buehring, a staging area in Kuwait, peppered Rumsfeld with queries about the standard of equipment they would be using and about the Pentagon's "stop-loss" policy that prevents troops from leaving the military service, even if they are eligible to retire or quit.
One soldier, identified by The Associated Press as Army Spc. Thomas Wilson of the 278th Regimental Combat Team, a Tennessee National Guard outfit, asked Rumsfeld why more military combat vehicles were not reinforced for battle conditions.
"Why do we soldiers have to dig through local landfills for pieces of scrap metal and compromised ballistic glass to uparmor our vehicles?" Wilson asked, prompting cheers from some of the approximately 2,300 troops assembled in the large hangar to hear Rumsfeld deliver a pep talk.