Friday, January 6, 2006
New York Times is reporting Saturday:
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.
The ceramic plates in vests now worn by the majority of troops in Iraq cover only some of the chest and back. In at least 74 of the 93 fatal wounds that were analyzed in the Pentagon study of marines from March 2003 through June 2005, bullets and shrapnel struck the marines' shoulders, sides or areas of the torso where the plates do not reach.
Thirty-one of the deadly wounds struck the chest or back so close to the plates that simply enlarging the existing shields "would have had the potential to alter the fatal outcome," according to the study, which was obtained by The New York Times.
For the first time, the study by the military's medical examiner shows the cost in lives from inadequate armor, even as the Pentagon continues to publicly defend its protection of the troops.
Anyone remember this? [Army Spc. Thomas] Wilson asked Rumsfeld, “Why do we soldiers have to dig through local landfills for pieces of scrap metal and compromised ballistic glass to up-armor our vehicles?” Shouts of approval and applause arose from other soldiers who had assembled in an aircraft hangar to see Rumsfeld. Rumsfeld hesitated and asked Wilson to repeat his question. “We do not have proper armored vehicles to carry with us north,” Wilson, 31, of Nashville, Tenn., concluded after asking again. “You go to war with the Army you have,” Rumsfeld replied, “not the Army you might want or wish to have.” Even though, according to the report, the question was really from a Chattanooga Times Free Press reporter who said he wasn't allowed to ask the question himself, I didn't like the answer to the question. Now I am especially concerned.