April 27, 2004
Schakowsky Reacts to Report Suggesting that the Death of "One in Four" Soldiers in Iraq Could Have Been Prevented
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CHICAGO, IL - U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Chief Deputy Whip, today issued the following statement after Newsweek reported "...that perhaps one in four of those killed in combat in Iraq might be alive if they had had stronger armor around them... Thousands more who were unprotected have suffered grievous wounds, such as the loss of limbs." (Newsweek, 5/3/04)
"A tragic mistake in planning may have led to hundreds of US soldiers dying in Iraq, a mistake the President might have cited as he struggled for an example in his prime time news conference two weeks ago. Now that it appears that this war was a longtime in the planning, it is all the more shocking that the troops were unnecessarily put at extreme risk. As recently as last October, it was estimated that one-quarter of the troops were lacking proper body armor, and, even today, many are in Iraq without proper armored Humvees," Schakowsky said.
She added, "Force protection, traditionally the number one concern of any President, has been neglected by the Bush Administration. As Commander-in-Chief, President Bush is failing our troops. American casualties are mounting in Iraq because soldiers were sent into battle, without lifesaving equipment, by a President bent on waging a war of choice."
"The families of soldiers in Iraq want to know: Where has the money gone? President Bush has spent almost $200 billion on the war, yet their sons and daughters were not given the protection they are entitled to before being sent into Iraq," Schakowsky concluded.
In a letter to the editor, which appeared in the Peoria Journal Star on April 24, 2004, a soldier writes from Iraq: "Let your readers know ...that this unit does not have the extra armor that is now required for vehicle convoys... Even though we have been here for over one year, we still don't have the right protection from roadside bombs or small-arms fire. Our doors are basically just two sides of sheet metal."
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