Secret Pentagon Study: Armor Problems Have Killed Many


President Bush: Why does Donald Rumsfeld STILL have his job?
If Abu Ghraib wasn’t enough — why isn’t negligence on the job that has resulted in many deaths?
The New York Times has acquired a secret Pentagon study showing that had appropriate body armor been distributed to military personnel, 80% of Marines who died from upper body wounds might have survived.
According to Michael Moss’ Times report:

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.
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.
Officials have said they are shipping the best armor to Iraq as quickly as possible. At the same time, they have maintained that it is impossible to shield forces from the increasingly powerful improvised explosive devices used by insurgents in Iraq. Yet the Pentagon’s own study reveals the equally lethal threat of bullets.
The vulnerability of the military’s body armor has been known since the start of the war, and is part of a series of problems that have surrounded the protection of American troops. Still, the Marine Corps did not begin buying additional plates to cover the sides of their troops until September, when it ordered 28,800 sets, Marine officials acknowledge.

This armor fiasco has rumbled along for quite awhile — to the point where the Pentagon was unwillingly dragged kicking and screaming by Congress to start reimbursing military families for their private purchases of armor.
Rumsfeld believes — like Robert McNamara once did — that he is one of the nation’s best “managers.” He cleary has failed on so many management fronts that his self-confidence is delusion, but each of these manifestations of his failure need to be heard by the nation.
After the President’s State of the Union address, which may be January 31st, Bush needs to retire Rumsfeld.
— Steve Clemons