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Last Updated: Friday, 10 December, 2004, 09:56 GMT
Reporter 'raised' Iraq kit query
US troops in Camp Buehring, Kuwait, listen to Donald Rumsfeld
The question prompted cheers from troops in Kuwait
A US reporter embedded with Iraq-bound troops said he had prompted a soldier's question to Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld about poor armour protection.

Edward Lee Pitts of the Chattanooga Times Free Press told colleagues in an e-mail that he and members of the unit in Kuwait "worked on questions".

Army Specialist Thomas Wilson had asked why troops had to root through rubbish to reinforce their armoured vehicles.

President George W Bush said the concerns raised were being addressed.

Mr Bush added that he expected "our troops to have the best possible equipment".

I just had one of my best days as a journalist today
Edward Lee Pitts

Also on Thursday, Mr Rumsfeld said it was good that ordinary soldiers could express their concerns directly to top military commanders.

'One of best days'

"I just had one of my best days as a journalist today," Mr Pitts wrote from Kuwait, where he is embedded with members of the Tennessee Army National Guard.

"As luck would have it, our journey north was delayed just long enough so I could attend a visit today here by Defence Secretary Rumsfeld."

He had been told that only soldiers were allowed to ask Mr Rumsfeld questions, he added.

Specialist Wilson's question brought cheers from the soldiers assembled for Wednesday's question-and-answer session that followed Mr Rumsfeld's speech.

"Why do we soldiers have to dig through local landfills for pieces of scrap metal and compromised ballistic glass to uparmour our vehicles?" he asked.

"You go to war with the army you have," Mr Rumsfeld replied.


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