Seven US Marines died and several others were injured when a mortar round exploded in its tube during a training exercise in Nevada on March 18th. The cause of the accident is still under investigation.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) took to the floor of the Senate and in a move of incredible political cynicism, blamed the deaths on sequestration.
In effect, the Senator blamed the Marines involved for their own deaths.
If you watched three of the nation’s main television networks the next day — ABC, CBS, and NBC — you may have missed Senator Harry Reid’s remarks. They omitted his classless statement from their March 19th nightly newscasts, even though they covered the story and reported that he spoke about it.
When our old media refuses to cover the news in pursuit of their own partisan agenda, they continue to demonstrate why they are losing their audience. Here, then, is what Senator Reid said:
It’s quite a big explosion. And though we’ll follow this news very closely, I’m gonna do whatever I can going forward to support the United States military and the families of the fallen Marines. (pause) One of the things in sequester is we cut back in training and maintenance. That’s the way sequester was written. This sequester should go away. We’ve cut already huge amounts of money in deficit reduction. It’s just not appropriate, Mr. President, that our military can’t train and do the maintenance necessary. These men and women, our Marines, were training there in Hawthorne — and with the sequester, it’s gonna cut this stuff back.
The investigation is still ongoing.
According to Senator Reid, it is because the Marines involved failed to maintain their ordnance and gear properly, or were inadequately trained, to keep from exploding a mortar in its launch device.
Let’s dispose of the “inadequately trained” half of that first. Training is what they were doing.
It is therefore insipid to say that sequestration led to a lack of training time, or to use this incident to say that sequestration will lead to more like it.
The mortar exploded inside the tube. Apart from somehow intentionally blocking the tube in the split-second after loading the mortar, there is no way to make a properly functioning mortar round explode inside the tube that way. The only way that could have happened is with a defect in the mortar round itself.
It is ludicrous to say that inadequate maintenance since March 1 caused the round to fail to eject the tube, or to explode prematurely inside the tube.
The accident in Nevada had nothing to do with sequestration. Senator Reid is merely showing, once again, that he will say anything to win a cheap political advantage.
Blindly following his caucus’ plan to exaggerate ludicrously the effects of sequestration, Senator Reid disgraced the Senate and dishonored seven permanently promoted Marines.
FreedomWorks Letter to Congress in Support of Fiscal Commision Act (H.R. 5779)