At a small luncheon for veterans in Farmingdale
yesterday, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) called for health care
government improvements to body armor following a report that suggested the new
armor could have prevented some soldier deaths.
Clinton, who spoke at an induction ceremony for the United Veterans
Organization of Nassau County, said the government should spend more money on
the improved military gear, and made reference to the current trillion-dollar
deficit. She also blasted the administration for depleting the surplus to a
record deficit over the last five years.
"We need to get out of the deficit, get back into a surplus and take care
Saudi Arabia," said Clinton, who also urged the government to reimburse troops
who bought their own armor.
Clinton, who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee, last week
criticized government officials for not providing adequate body armor for
troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. The junior senator originally responded to a
report that suggested 80 percent of 401 Marine deaths in combat could have been
prevented by beefier armor that would better protect the neck, shoulder and
But some military officials have said the new armor, which Clinton
estimated could cost as much as $260 per soldier, was too heavy and would
decrease mobility on the battlefield.
Clinton said the military should provide the armor and let soldiers decide
whether or not it interferes with their mobility.
"Many Marines and soldiers want it, so our job is to provide it," she said.
Veterans in the audience agreed.
"We fought in the second world war. Where most of us were being shot at,
these kids are being blown up,"said Pat Cassetta, a past UVO president.
Clinton also made calls to make funding for Veterans Affairs hospitals
mandatory and also said she would introduce legislation to reimburse elderly
patients who were having financial troubles as a result of the new Medicare
prescription drug benefit program.