Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

$Between Life and Death$

You will hear every former President proclaim that the hardest thing to do is to send our fine men and women off to a foreign land to engage in combat.  You hear how the POTUS and members of our “fine” congress take every imaginable step before signing off of an act of war.  

The President, Senators and House members assure us that our brave men and women of the armed forces have the best equipment in the world and every precaution will be taken to save the lives of United States soldiers…our soldiers.

Our brothers, our sisters, our mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, friends and our countrymen and women.

These citizens, the bravest of the brave, are the heartbeat of our existence, our security and our future.  They are willing to give the ultimate sacrifice in the name of righteousness and freedom…their lives.

We as a nation should ensure, in every way possible, that the lives we lose in combat are kept to an absolute minimum no matter the cost.  Washington keeps telling us that our troops are given “state-of-art” equipment, with Body Armor topping the list.

Basically body armor is made out of thick ceramic or metal plates and functions basically the same way as the iron suits worn by medieval knights.  It is hard enough that a bullet or other weapon is deflected. That is, the armor material pushes out on the bullet with the same force (or nearly the same force) with which the bullet pushes in, so the armor is not penetrated.  Vitally essential for minimizing soldier deaths.

The troubling aspect in respect to the Body Armor provided to our soldiers is that there have been many instances where the Body Armor has been labeled faulty or insufficient.

July 2005

MIAMI-Point Blank Body Armor has become the focus of a controversy. The company sold the U.S. Marine Corps 19,000 bulletproof vests that failed the military’s own quality tests, heightening safety concerns among GIs deployed in combat situations in Iraq and Afghanistan. In face of damaging media coverage, on May 4 the Marines recalled about half of the 10,000 faulty vests that were given to U.S. troops.…

January, 2006

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.…

April, 2008

The Pentagon’s Inspector General has found that the U.S. Army repeatedly failed to follow federal contracting rules in procuring billions of dollars worth of body armor for American soldiers, according to an IG report obtained by NBC News.

In nearly half of the body-armor contracts given out between January 2004 and December 2006, according to the report, the Army failed to require or perform so-called ‘first article testing’ designed to catch and correct any defects in the body-armor manufacturing process.  What’s more, the Army failed to maintain appropriate records to justify why a number of contracts were awarded in the first place, the report said. It is scheduled for public release tomorrow.

As a result, the report states that the Department of Defense “has no assurance” that 13 of 28 Army body-armor contracts–worth an estimated $2.98 billion–“met the required standards” or that 11 of 28–worth an estimated $3.92 billion–“were awarded based on informed procurement decisions.”…

January, 2009

Washington: US Army Secretary Pete Geren has ordered the recall of more than 16,000 sets of body armour following an audit that concluded the bullet-blocking plates in the vests failed testing and may not provide soldiers with adequate protection.…

On top of that we have just learned that many of our soldiers are not being issued “top-of-the-line” Body Armor:

Maj. Clifford Yarbrough, who served with the third Special Forces group in Afghanistan, told The Times that his Special Forces unit, along with other Special Forces and the Delta Forces, were issued titanium plates. These plates, which are ordered by these special units under a separate budget, can withstand multiple hits by the enemy and saved many lives, said Maj. Yarbrough, who now works teaches at a high school in Arkansas.

The major, who has two enlisted sons, said that the ceramic plates issued to Army and Marine Corp. personnel are not sufficient protection against close enemy fire.

“Interceptor vests are not fielded with the interceptor titanium that give the men more enhanced protection,” he said. “We had guys who were engaged and short of a 50 caliber, it would stop everything [“it” being the titanium plate]. They got a little trauma from the bruising. Normally those rounds would go right through them [“them” being the ceramic plates].”…

Why all these deficiencies? Simple…Money.

Back in 2004 Washington awarded a $77 million Body Armor contract to Point Blank which is owned by DHB Industries. The also received a $14 million contract in 2006. A three-year contract in 2006 worth up to $169 million. $29 million and $50 million contracts in 2007 and a $31 million contract in 2008.  DHB, as in David H. Brooks.  Yeah, the same David Brooks who was charged with an insider trader scam in 1992, arrested in 2007 for throwing his daughter a $10 million birthday party with profits and has a reputation of shameless war profiteering.  This guy’s a doozie….…

All this money to one firm for our soldiers’ Body Armor…maybe the difference between life and death.  It would be great if this firm made the “best” Body Armor in the world, but….

For all the time, money and resources Washington spends on wanting to know what Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens injected into their asses, to saving the greedy Wall Street bastards, to making sure they get their pay raises it is time we, as citizens, who are deeply concerned with the well-being and safety of troops demand the best Body Armor for our soldiers.  Please contact your Representatives and Senators and demand the GAO (Government Accountability Office) oversee ballistic testing and that our troops receive the very best regardless of cost or associations.


  1. Stipes


    We still haven’t figured this out?

    BTW, I missed you Hootie.  

    I have not seen this issue highlighted anywhere else recently.

    When you’ve got a situation where the service members have to buy their own “good” body armour, do yopu think the young enlisted folks, (the ones in most danger), are gonna be able to float it?

    Not likely.

  2. Hollede

    how Americans have view the republicans as the party that favors the military. All I have ever seen the republicans favor are defense contractors. Our young men and women (and the not so young) are simply cannon fodder for the wealthy. This is not new.

  3. sricki

    disappointing things I’ve heard about in a long time. Thank you for bringing this to our attention, Hootie. Infuriating issue — but a great diary.

  4. Hollede

     MSNBC that more soldiers committed suicide than were killed in action in both Iraq and Afghanistan this past month. There were 24 suspected suicides in January 2009. The report also states that there were only 4 in January 2008. I really wonder about the veracity of those figures under bush. I doubt we were told the truth about anything for the past eight years.

    Nora interviewed Jon Soltz, co-founder and chairman of who said he is not surprised. He said that almost 20,000 troops in both zones are on some sort of anti-depressants. He suggests that there are many thousands that should be pulled from current duty due to PTSD.  

  5. Michelle

    Thanks for writing it.

    I am constantly disgusted and enraged at what the former CiC did by putting our troops in harms way, especially in IRAQ for no damn good reason, and then with inadequate equipment to boot.  To play fast and loose with our military members’ lives is evil.  Pure and simple.  They all willingly walk into the fire, put their lives on the line, only to be shit upon by their chickenhawk leaders.

    Is it any wonder that suicide rates are up?

    Vote Vets put out an ad this GE for a few senators that featured this issue.

    Their blog is VetVoice, which we have linked to on our blogroll.  If you are so inclined, Hootie, they would most definitely appreciate your putting up this excellent diary there.  

  6. louisprandtl

    if I’m wrong in my following comment. I was looking at your explanation of what the armor material does. Your explanation is more of an application of Newton’s third Law. I maybe wrong but this what I know…in the case of the Armor, it is absorption and dissipation of the impact energy from the projectile (say bullet) is important (Conservation of Energy and Momentum). When a projectile strikes the armor normally (normal force) or at angle, converting that kinetic energy into dissipative energy through the body armor is what’s needed to be done. This conversion of energy is extremely difficult, which is why building armor materials is not an easy proposition. I think I’ll stop now before I display more lack of knowledge..:)    

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