If Americans' collective Support The Troops ethos has anything resembling an outrage threshold, then reports that our men and women in combat zones might not be adequately equipped must surely be testing it.
We already know, in grim detail, about how shabbily some of our men and women in uniform have been treated -- or merely ignored -- after they've come home. The Walter Reed scandal, and failures to diagnose and treat war wounds both visible and hidden, are all too well documented.
But there is also disturbing evidence -- much of it substantial and/or anecdotal, but no less disturbing even so -- that our soldiers are inadequately equipped not just for the aftermath of combat, but for combat itself.
The problems with Humvees in combat zones were old news long ago. More recently, there were complaints from troops in Iraq and Afghanistan that the M4 carbine, standard issue weapon in the Mideast wars, is hard to maintain, does not always stand up to the extreme conditions it needs to withstand in those wars and, worst of all, jams in combat when it is needed most desperately.
On July 13, 2008, at a remote outpost in Afghanistan near the village of Wanat, nine American soldiers died and 27 others were wounded when, according to a recent study by a military historian, the M4s repeatedly failed at a "critical moment" in the engagement with enemy forces.
To read the complete editorial, visit The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer.