Anti-war train drivers refuse to move arms freight

James Rogers
Mon, 13 Jan 2003 20:06:57 -0800

On 1/13/03 5:01 PM, "Al Diablito" <> wrote:
> Yes, they are well trained. Unfortunately, they are equipped with gear ma=
> by the same quality standards that give us things like Ford Explorer tire=
> Windows 95, etc. I would not want to go into the desert against the Iraqi=
> relying on the shoddy gear the big corps foist on the Pentagon.

You don't know what the hell you are talking about.

The US military is very arguably the best equipped in the world, and that
clich=E9 exists for a reason.  And not just weapon systems either, which ARE
uniformly excellent with rare exception.  Few boondoggles make it past the
field trials.  There is a very active feedback loop and design iteration
process so that future versions of the same pieces of equipment get
progressively better as the bugs are worked out.  What you apparently don't
know is that the U.S. military constantly buys new civilian and military
gear from all over the world and puts it through its paces just to see if
someone has come up with an innovation that proves to be beneficial versus
existing gear so that can integrate these features into their existing
equipment designs or simply buy the foreign gear to replace what we have.
We rarely get the very best money can buy (it isn't cost effective), but we
get a lot closer to that ideal than other militaries, and much of the
equipment really is excellent by any standards.  For my
camping/hiking/outdoor gear I still use the occasional piece of military
issue equipment due to the fact that there is nothing as well-designed on
the civilian market, and I have top-of-the-line equipment in general.

This is also why, among other reasons, US military soldiers are occasionall=
issued equipment (and weapons even) that come from very strange parts of th=
world that you would not expect us to be using.  When I was in the service,
I literally watched pieces of equipment undergo incremental improvements
over the years as good tweaks and ideas were discovered.  Soldiers that com=
up with good ideas for improving a piece of equipment which gets implemente=
are paid for it.  I received a $1200 reward (more than a months pay for a
soldier at the time) for an idea I submitted and actually saw it broadly
implemented about a year after I submitted it, so I know that system works.
It isn't like most militaries where they stamp out the same design for
decades on end.  And they do a lot of good basic research on things such as
clothing.  In fact, many of the advanced fabrics that you take for granted
(e.g. Gortex) were the result of US military research to improve the
characteristics of the clothes they provide the average soldier.  Even the
plain old shirt and pants that you see every soldier wear have been
carefully engineered to have a plethora of properties that you probably
aren't even aware they have e.g. they use special dyes that work across a
broad optical spectrum so that the camouflage pattern is still effective in
non-visible parts of the spectrum that enhanced optical sensor systems are
likely to use.

Unlike you (taking an educated guess here), I've trained with many
militaries around the world and am familiar with their equipment.  American
equipment is much better engineered and to higher specifications than
virtually any other country; most other soldiers are envious of the
equipment that the US military issues its soldiers, right down to the very
basics in most cases, hence why we have no difficulty selling and licensing
the designs.

What you may not know is that our equipment contracts are open to all
parties world-wide.  There is little Not Invented Here syndrome in evidence=
Even during the Cold War, we seriously evaluated equipment and weapons
systems that were supplied by countries behind the Iron Curtain for
evaluation, so they are quite open to considering many design variants from
many sources.  For example, during the Cold War the US Army put their stamp
of approval on the CZ-75 pistol, a weapon submitted by a Communist Bloc
country.  This service pistol was never actually issued, but it was selecte=
over a large number of pistols submitted by American weapon manufacturers
which did not pass muster despite what must have been strong lobbying.

So take your fantasy elsewhere.


-James Rogers