For our troops fighting the war in Iraq, the number one threat isn't gun battles with terrorists, it's improved explosive devices left by the roadside. IED's cause fully 70% of American casualties in Iraq. This has been known for a while. What's also been known for a while is that Hummers do little to protect the troopers riding in them.
Unfortunately, most members of Congress have been too busy pointing fingers over the war to spend time figuring out how to help the military actually fight the war. Fortunately, it appears that some members of Congress are finally starting to see the light:
What my amendment will do is allow the military to put 2,500 more mine resistant ambush protected vehicles--known in the military by its acronym, MRAP--in the field by the end of this year. ... MRAP vehicles provide four to five times more protection to our troops than up-armored HMMWVs. That statement, that these MRAPs provide four to five times more protection than up-armored HMMWVs, is not my estimate. That is the judgment of our military leaders. The Commandant of the Marine Corps, GEN James Conway, with whom I spoke as recently as this afternoon, wrote on March 1 to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He said:
Multi-National Forces--West, that is, the Marines in Iraq [JK Background: specifically, in Anbar province], estimates that the use of the MRAP could reduce the casualties in vehicles due to IED attack by as much as 80 percent.
Let me explain the specifics of the MRAP. Each vehicle can hold 4 to 12 troops. Like the rhino, these vehicles have raised steel, V-shaped hulls and chassis. The raised hull is valuable because it gives the blast more time to expand, lessening the impact. The V-shape pushes the blast up the sides of the vehicle and away from the occupants. With an up-armored HMMWV or any humvee, the flat bottom sends the blast through the floor right into the occupants. In addition, the vehicles have side armor and bulletproof glass, and they also have tires that can be driven when flat.
Surprisingly, the person leading the charge on this issue is none other than Senator Joe Biden. While he often endures the nickname "Slow Joe", in this case he's faster out of the blocks than far too many of his colleagues. Good for him. Now let's work on getting some MRAP's over to Iraq.