The United States Army conducted exhaustive tests on a privately produced body armor called "Dragon Skin" : finding the armor was less protective than the standard GI issue, weighed more, and did not hold up to extreme changes in temperature.
Two Democratic Senators: Edward (Ted) Kennedy of Massachussetts, and Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York immediately fired off letters demanding explanations.
As far as I know, there is no financial connection between the senators and the manufacturer of Dragon Skin : Pinnacle Armor, a Fresno,California corporation whose "main line of products" - metal doors, sash, and trim - are well regarded. Pinnacle is to be commended for its attempts to bring a desirable product to market - even though - according to the prestigious H.P. White Laboratories , they do not meet Army standards-yet.
The more likely reason the two senators were irked was that public disclosure of the tests deprived them-and their political allies-of a club that had been used to beat and belittle the Bush administration.
The Army, you see, had previously ruled that troops who were injured while wearing body armor that did not meet military standards would be denied benefits. This very sensible ruling had been used to create a faux firestorm : Army refuses to protect troops ! Troops denied proper armor !! Troops at risk !!!
Those who lit and fanned the firestorm were people like Clinton and Kennedy : neither of whom has ever been known as a staunch supporter of the troops. Clinton is notorious for her open contempt towards those who serve , while Kennedy is notable for his indifference.
There are certain common-sense things that need to be said about body armor.
- It is heavy and uncomfortable - especially for troops who may be carrying 100 pounds of gear already.
- It is NOT "completely bulletproof"-(no armor is) -but it offers a great deal of protection against grenade fragments,shrapnel,and small caliber weapons.
- There are always points of vulnerability in body armor, and, in this Information Age, opposition forces (to use the PC form of description) have been making a careful study of these points : using charts and other visual aids (some of which have been captured.)
Those who bray-piously and sententiously-about their "great concern for the troops" (translation: their own political careers) really ought to give some thought to the effect on troop morale their braying has: Tell the troops their equipment is "defective" enough times, and an increasing number will come to believe it : going into harm's way with a mindset that can easily lead to disaster...at which the Clintons and Kennedys of the world can point and say : " See ? I told you so !"