The New York Times is reporting that a secret pentagon study shows 1,700 troops wouldn’t be dead if they had been given the body armor that they’ve been asking for.
Extra Armor Could Have Saved Many Lives, Study Shows
By MICHAEL MOSS
A secret Pentagon study has found that at least 80 percent of the marines who have been killed in Iraq from wounds to their upper body could have survived if they had extra body armor. That 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.
Additional forensic studies by the Armed Forces Medical Examiner’s unit that were obtained by The Times indicate that about 340 American troops have died solely from torso wounds.
Military officials said they had originally decided against using the extra plates because they were concerned they added too much weight to the vests or constricted the movement of soldiers. Marine Corps officials said the findings of the Pentagon study caused field commanders to override those concerns in the interest of greater protection.
The findings and other research by military pathologists suggests that an analysis of all combat deaths in Iraq, including those of Army personnel, would show that 300 or more lives might have been saved with improved body armor.
Military officials and defense contractors said the Pentagon’s procurement troubles have stemmed in part from miscalculations that underestimated the strength of the insurgency, and from years of cost-cutting that left some armoring firms on the brink of collapse as they waited for new orders.