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January 16, 2008

I Love The Smell...

...of schadenfreude in the morning...

Michael Yon sends an e-mail out:

This is what I think of Dragon Skin. I don't want to see American soldiers wearing this body armor. It's inferior to and heavier than alternatives. I spent about $4,000 for mine and just put it on Ebay starting bid: $1. I'll be happy to get $2 back from it. When I go back to Iraq in a couple weeks, I will not be wearing Dragon Skin.

The controversy over body armor is largely manufactured and is impeding the fielding of better body armor.

This would be even more amusing if The Princess had not deleted 95% of her old posts. In other news, the Editorial staff have decided to dub this late breaking development the Lucas Effect.

Last night we felt a strange disturbance in the Farce. It was as though a million pundit's voices suddenly cried out in agony...

I'm not sure the Feiler-Skurnik Effect--in which uninformed procrastinating voters make their decisions based on what they see in the last 24 hours of a campaign--applies to Republicans. But if it does this incident will damage Romney in Michigan, no?

... and were suddenly stilled.

CNN: Exit polling: Democrats pick McCain over Romney — WASHINGTON (CNN) — Despite urging from some activists like Markos Moulitsas that Michigan Democrats vote for Mitt Romney over John McCain, CNN exit polling indicates the Arizona Republican won the liberal vote.

Sometimes the comedy just writes itself.

Posted by Cassandra at January 16, 2008 07:15 AM

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A much smaller number of posters actually using body armor liked Dragon Skin. Benefit: Flexibility; Disadvantages: lack of robustness, weight, cost. Many more thought interceptor was fine, the main gripe being lack of flexibility. Weight is a common factor with all current body armor, some more than others.

Posted by: Mark at January 16, 2008 05:03 PM

Yeah, but there was also some question of whether the DS armor they were wearing was what was tested/what the Army was going to be sold.

There are a lot of different models, and these guys are already loaded down with more gear than they can handle. Adding even more weight is kind of a non-starter. Also the lack of robustness is absolutely a problem. Gear has to stand up to a lot of abuse, both when it is being used and when it is being stored, and acquisitions folks have to think about this stuff.

Believe me, I'm the last person on earth who is going to tell you that Michael Yon is the last word on body armor. I just find it amusing.

Yet another tempest in a teapot.

Posted by: Cass at January 16, 2008 05:24 PM

MH came home with AK-47 rounds still imbedded in the steel plates of his old vest (2003) with one just beginning to push through the other side. I vote for as robust as feasible without sacrificing too much mobility. It was because he was able to quickly run for cover that resulted in his helmet only having a hole through the cammie cover.

Posted by: Sly2017 at January 16, 2008 06:52 PM

Yikes, Sly, I am very glad your husband made it. It would be awful for one of Cass' most entertaining accomplices to take grief like that.

Posted by: Mark at January 17, 2008 06:49 PM


Let's not forget, too, that right now IEDs are taking most of our guys out. The last thing you need after your vehicle has run over an IED and is on fire and you are injured and stunned and fighting to get out of a burning vehicle is excess weight.

It is always easy to sit on the sidelines when you are not the one doing the acquisitions and testing and second guess these guys, but they have to take a lot of factors into account. These brouhahas are easy to demagogue - just shout "our guys aren't getting the best armor money can buy!" (well of course they aren't, moron) or "they're not getting it fast enough!" (again, check the supply chain. Or better yet, check the requisition process. Or both.)

Yes, sometimes there are real problems that need to be fixed, but screeching into a TV camera won't make more MRAPs roll off the assembly line now, will it? What I can't wait to see is what in the holy hell we're going to do with them all ... eventually :p

Posted by: Cass at January 17, 2008 07:04 PM

FWIW Mark, I'd like to see our guys get the best possible gear.

I just don't think Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, or John McCain need to be involved in the acquisitions process. That is the job of the services. If they are doing a lousy job of asking Congress for what they need, then hold them accountable. They need to do better. But this shouldn't be a political football.

Posted by: Cass at January 17, 2008 07:08 PM

Political decisions made for military purposes have a very bad track record. The military makes a great whipping boy for the progressives, because they cannot by law effectively answer. It would be hillarious to hear General Suchandsuch tell Ted Kennedy he is a degenerate drunk - never happen.

Posted by: Mark at January 18, 2008 06:31 PM