Secret Pentagon study says body armor could have saved 80% of troops

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
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.

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The Truth Comes Out: NSA spying on Christiane Amanpour

Reporters are starting to ask the question… have they been spied in these illegal wiretaps that were done without warrants or judicial oversite. And specifically, one journalist’s name has come up as having been monitored — CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. examines what the ramifications of that might be.
NBC confirms that they’re investigating whether Amanpour was being spied upon by the NSA.
And then there’s the speculation that Amanpour’s husband, James Rubin, might have been the real target of the wiretaps.

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Bloggers publishing leaked torture memos

Bloggers around the world are reprinting and publishing leaked memos from former UK ambassador Craig Murray, who divulged information on secret torture programs in Uzbekistan the benefit the United States and the UK.
Boing Boing has a complete post on the subject, including links to the leaked memos, and information on a woman who was jailed for demanding information about her son, who was tortured and died after being immersed in boiling water.

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how much brush is on that ranch, anyway?

From three recent White Houlse press briefings:

December 27
Good morning. Let me update you on the President’s schedule. Yesterday, after arriving, he went out and did some cutting and clearing brush, and then was at his home on the ranch.
December 28
The President had his normal intelligence and daily briefings this morning, and was out clearing brush. And that’s what I have on his schedule.
December 30
He then did some brush clearing and just completed a bike ride before I came out. This afternoon he’s scheduled to sign several pieces of legislation…

Seriously, is there really that much brush? He’s been clearing it for five years now, shouldn’t it be done? How can Trent Duffy go out and say this every day with a straight face?

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