[Congressional Record Volume 151, Number 87 (Monday, June 27, 2005)]
[Page H5219]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the 
gentleman from Oregon (Mr. DeFazio) is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. DeFAZIO. Mr. Speaker, I am going to read a bit, which I do not 
usually do on the floor, from yesterday's New York Times front page, 
because I think it is so extraordinary and it goes so much to the 
incompetence and the indifference of Donald Rumsfeld and others in this 
administration regarding what is going on in Iraq and the lack of 
protection for our troops.
  ``When Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld visited Iraq last year to 
tour the Abu Ghraib Prison camp, military officials did not rely on a 
government-issued Humvee to transport him safely on the ground,'' not 
even an armored Humvee, that is my own little addition. ``Instead, they 
turned to Halliburton, the oil services contractor, which lent the 
Pentagon a rolling fortress of steel called the Rhino Runner.''
  Now, no wonder Secretary Rumsfeld goes to Iraq and says everything is 
going great. He is rolling around in an armored fortress of steel 
provided by his former employer. Well, I am sorry, the former employer 
of Vice President Cheney, Halliburton, riding around in something 
called a Rhino Runner, which is supposed to be able to withstand a 
thousand-pound bomb.
  Now, our troops are out there, some of them in unarmored Humvees that 
cannot resist any bomb, bullets, or shrapnel; some of them are in 
armored Humvees which can resist between 4- and 8-pound bombs, but then 
there are other options out there.
  Back to the New York Times: ``State Department officials traveling in 
Iraq use armored vehicles that are built with V-shaped hulls to better 
deflect bullets and bombs. Members of Congress favor another model 
called the M1117, which can endure 12-pound explosives and 50-caliber, 
armor-piercing rounds.
  ``Unlike the Humvee, the Pentagon's vehicle of choice for American 
troops, the others were designed from scratch to withstand attacks in 
battlefields like Iraq with no safe zones. Last fall, for instance, a 
Rhino traveling the treacherous airport road in Baghdad endured a bomb 
that left a 6-foot-wide crater. The passengers walked away unscathed. 
`I have no doubt should I have been in any other vehicle,' wrote an 
Army captain, `the lone military passenger, `the results would have 
been catastrophically different.'
  ``Yet more than 2 years into the war, efforts by United States 
military units to obtain large numbers of these stronger vehicles for 
soldiers have faltered, even as the Pentagon's program to armor Humvees 
continues to be plagued by delays, an examination by The New York Times 
has found.''
  And then, the end of last week, we had the revelation about the 
extraordinary shortages for the Marines.
  Mr. Speaker, I guess I should not be surprised when we have a 
Secretary of Defense who predicted that our troops would be greeted 
with flowers and candies and sweets; and that the occupation would 
last, that we would be down to 30,000 troops within 2 months and would 
not be there longer than 5; that he has been two, four, six, or a 
hundred steps all the way along the way. But to still deny the reality, 
because he is riding around in an armored Rhino provided by 
Halliburton, of our troops, the bitter reality of them in unarmored 
Humvees, as many Marines still are, and we still hear from time to time 
of Army units that are out there in unarmored Humvees, although they 
claim they never go off base anymore; and then to hear that State 
Department people and Members of Congress get superior vehicles that 
are not available to the regular troops, this is extraordinary.
  More than 2 years into this war, and now this insurgency, and the 
Pentagon is focused on Star Wars and other fantasies; and the troops 
still lack basics, things for which we need no technological 
development. The technology exists, the manufacturers exist, but the 
will to purchase those vehicles to protect our troops does not exist in 
Secretary Rumsfeld's higher echelons of the organization.
  But, again, he is riding around, he cannot even hear or see the 
explosions in the Rhino Runner. They probably have the music turned up 
loud and the AC is blasting away, and he does not have the slightest 
idea where he is. But the troops sure know where they are; they sure 
  Mr. Speaker, it is time for this embarrassment to end. He should have 
gone long ago, he should go now, and it is time to start providing the 
troops the basics they need to come home safe.