Saturday, January 7


Support our troops. Yeah.

A secret Pentagon study has found that as many as 80 percent of the marines who have been killed in Iraq from wounds to the upper body could have survived if they had had extra body armor. Such armor has been available since 2003, but until recently the Pentagon has largely declined to supply it to troops despite calls from the field for additional protection, according to military officials.

"Our preliminary research suggests that as many as 42 percent of the Marine casualties who died from isolated torso injuries could have been prevented with improved protection in the areas surrounding the plated areas of the vest," the study concludes. An additional 23 percent might have been saved with side plates that extend below the arms, while 15 percent more could have benefited from shoulder plates, the report says.

In all, 526 marines have been killed in combat in Iraq. A total of 1,706 American troops have died in combat there. The findings and other research by military pathologists suggests that an analysis of all combat deaths in Iraq, including those of Army troops, would show that 300 or more lives might have been saved with improved body armor.

Military officials and contractors said the Pentagon's procurement troubles had stemmed in part from miscalculations that underestimated the strength of the insurgency, and from years of cost-cutting that left some armoring companies on the brink of collapse as they waited for new orders.

Every time I hear a news report about a military death in Iraq I fear for our daughter Daisy's boyfriend Chris. News reports like this make me crazy, angry...I don't know how to express it. I have two sons who have minor disabilities that keep them out of the army, but also three daughters, one of whom tried to enlist at the beginning of the war in Iraq. I thank God that her zeal to "protect America" was thrwarted by a minor medical condition that also disqualified her, but what of other American mothers who were not so lucky? We are a traditional American family with a strong history of military service: my dad was a career Air Force officer, my brother Bruce is a former career (Vietnam included) fighter pilot. Who could imagine that there would be a simple way to save the lives of our fighting men and women that was not provided in this enshrined holy war on Iraq? How is this defensible?

The short answer is, it's not. There is no way that the president can make a case for "honoring our fallen troops" when he and his administration have clearly not honored those still alive, and fighting for, our nation's foreign policy. Their rhetoric is hollow when it is demonstrated that they clearly consider American troops as cannon fodder for their ideological battles, lives not as valuable as tax cuts for the already-super-wealthy.

Chris is due home (in the U.S.) for leave on January 17. I'm holding my breath every time I hear news reports of another U.S. fatality in Iraq.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What can you expect from a trio of morons who never saw action themselves - Bush, "five deferments" Cheney and Rumsfeld. I get so angry when I think of Rumsfeld's statement that "you go to war with the army you have." Unfortunately, we went with the Secretary of Defense we had. And far too many men, women and children have died as a result. This administration has far too much blood on its hands.

10:00 AM  
Blogger Kathy said...

The inadequate armor hasn't hurt David Brooks (CEO of Point Blank Armor) any. He recently threw a $10 million dollar birthday party for his daughter, and his company has a contract with the Pentagon that could total $500 million over the next three years.

It's immoral that men can get so rich at the expense of our soldiers.

1:49 PM  

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