A leading Democratic U.S. senator has called on Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to explain why there is a critical shortage of protective equipment for American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In his party's weekly radio address Saturday, Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois said the lack of armor in the battlefield is not a matter of logistics, but a lack of leadership. He said lawmakers have provided the Bush administration with all the defense spending it has requested, but that most vehicles and many soldiers lack adequate protection.
Mr. Durbin's remarks add to growing criticism of Mr. Rumsfeld by members of Congress for his handling of the war.
The White House has defended the defense secretary, with a spokesman saying Mr. Rumsfeld is doing a great job.