Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member Latest Breaking News General Discussion The DU Lounge All Forums Issue Forums Culture Forums Alliance Forums Region Forums Support Forums Help & Search


(60,364 posts)
Sun Sep 30, 2012, 09:35 AM Sep 2012

What's Wrong With This Picture?


Pentagon delays mortars sought by commanders
By Tom Vanden Brook - USA TODAY
Posted : Friday Sep 28, 2012 8:15:08 EDT

WASHINGTON -- Additional weapons that Navy SEALs and Green Berets desperately need to defend themselves in far-flung outposts in Afghanistan apparently are being delayed, according to documents and officials familiar with the equipment.

At issue is a mortar system that uses a computer to drop explosives quickly and accurately on enemy fighters who assault small forts. Insurgents with rocket-propelled grenades can outgun American special operations forces there. An urgent plea for 20 of the mortar systems was approved by the Joint Chiefs of Staff in January, yet no new weapons have been sent as of late September.


Documents show the military realizes the urgency. A budget description says that U.S. troops at remote locations "can be overwhelmed" and that bad weather or restrictive use on dropping bombs may prevent aircraft from providing them with protection. The enhanced mortar has filled that niche, according to the document, but the next step is not to send more to Afghanistan. Rather, it is to "integrate the system" with an Army software program.

Commanders want more of the fast, deadly mortars, and in January 2012 a Joint Urgent Operational Need Statement -- the process to speed badly needed gear to troops in combat -- was approved by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. That request remains classified, but the Pentagon acknowledges that it seeks 20 additional EMTAS mortar systems. They cost about $300,000 apiece.

$300 grand for a mortar system. Twenty of those bad boys cost six million dollars. What's the problem? We're spending around $2 billion dollars a week in Afghanistan. Six million dollars is just a little more money down the shithole.


Kimberly Mitchell weeps at the grave of her husband, Chad Mitchell, at the Houston National Cemetery. Chad, an Iraq War veteran, was one of hundreds of former service members from Texas who have died not in a war zone but after returning home. He died of an accidental overdose in 2010.

Scores of recent Texas war veterans have died of overdoses, suicide and vehicle crashes, investigation finds
Posted: 11:00 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012
By American-Statesman Investigative Team

They survived the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. But they did not survive the homecoming.

A six-month American-Statesman investigation, which paints the most complete picture yet of what happened to Texas’ Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who died after leaving the military, reveals that an alarmingly high percentage died from prescription drug overdoses, toxic drug combinations, suicide and single-vehicle crashes — a largely unseen pattern of early deaths that federal authorities are failing to adequately track and have been slow to respond to.

The Statesman obtained autopsy results, toxicology reports, inquests and accident reports from more than 50 agencies throughout the state to analyze the causes of death for 266 Texas veterans who served in operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom and were receiving Department of Veterans Affairs disability benefits when they died.


The investigation highlights the problem of prescription drug overdose among veterans, which has received scant attention compared to suicides: Nearly as many Texas veterans died after taking prescription medicine as committed suicide. VA prescriptions for powerful narcotics have skyrocketed over the past decade even as evidence mounted that such painkillers and PTSD make a dangerous combination. In effect, experts say, the military and VA exposed an especially vulnerable population to a flood of powerful drugs.

Veterans have historically been short-changed by the government when the cost of providing care for injured veterans begins to affect the money flow. $2 billion dollars a week would care for these veterans. It's too bad that our politicians are so enamored of war.
7 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
Highlight: NoneDon't highlight anything 5 newestHighlight 5 most recent replies


(2,667 posts)
6. So, we require a $300K mortar system to defeat chinese made $65 RPGs - and nothing else will do.
Sun Sep 30, 2012, 10:46 AM
Sep 2012

This is beyond absurd.


(56,582 posts)
7. Rumsfeld's one good idea was acquisition reform, and W fired him just before he finished it
Sun Sep 30, 2012, 11:04 AM
Sep 2012

This mortar system was actually a poster boy in acquisitions/logistics circles.

Latest Discussions»General Discussion»What's Wrong With This Pi...