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Comments by YACCS
Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Anything to make a lie



Blogger: Vest in "Brilliant" Anti-Allen Ad Isn't from Vietnam War
By Justin Rood - September 19, 2006, 4:23 PM

Questions are being raised over a "hard-hitting" ad criticizing Sen. George Allen (R-VA) by a left-leaning veteran's political action committee.

The ad, made by VoteVets.org, charges Allen voted against a bill that would provide updated body armor to troops serving in the Middle East. The group's Web site features accolades from liberal Web sites about the spot, calling it "more relevant and hard hitting than anything else I've seen," and "by far the most brilliant and effective ad I've seen this cycle."

In the ad, an Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran, Peter Granato, narrates and fires rounds from an AK-47 into two different vests.

"This is a vest left over from the Vietnam War," Granato says, introducing the first vest. "It's the protection we were given when we deployed to Iraq."

The second is "modern body armor, made for today's weapons." Not surprisingly, the second vest holds up to two rounds; the first is pierced by four bullets. Allen "voted against giving our troops this," Granato says in the ad, indicating the newer vest. "Now it's time for us to vote against him."


Not so fast. "[W]hat they say in this ad, particularly about the older vest, is a lie," wrote Bruce McQuain on the libertarian blog, QandO, on Sept. 14. (Allen's "blog guru," Jon Henke, also writes for the site.) McQuain identified the vest as an "80s era kevlar PASGT flak vest."

It was designed to stop shrapnel, not bullets, he wrote -- but "it could be upgraded to stop bullets," including those type fired in the ad.

So what gives?

"[T]his is the same vest technology left over from Vietnam war era," Eric Schmeltzer, spokesperson for VoteVets.org, emailed me. So the vest was not "left over" from the Vietnam war?

"Honestly I don't know where this vest has been in its life, and you wouldn't know unless one person had it the whole time," Schmeltzer replied.

There you have it: nobody knows where that vest is from, and it's unlikely to date from the Vietnam era, although it doesn't feature bullet-stopping ceramic plates like new body armor does.

Ultimately, the vote may be more important than the vest: in 2003, Allen voted against a proposal to spend $1 billion on equipment for National Guard and Reserve troops serving in Iraq. At the time, limited supplies of bulletproof body armor meant the Pentagon only gave it to front-line troops -- excluding most Guardsmen and reservists.

In 2004, after families of those men and women spent many thousands of dollars buying body armor for their loved ones, Allen joined other lawmakers in voting to reimburse them. Seems like a long way around a short problem.

Update: an earlier version of this post referred to VoteVets.org as a "527" committee; it is a political action committee.

Actual Vietnam-era vests are olive green. Later vests using the same technology, worn the same way, are woodland camo. But they were designed for shrapnel, not bullets. Because they were designed to be used on a European battlefield.

The modern "chickenplate" armor is designed to stop small arms.

Now our friends on the right can parse this however they want, but Mr. Granato survived Iraq, and those pussies have survived choking on Cheetos. Josh should be ashamed for biting on this bullshit.

Yes, the PASGT vest could be "upgraded" if you didn't plan on walking in 120 degree heat. But Mr. Chickenhawk has no clue about that. And it was clearly second rate armor given the high level of contact US troops face overseas. Of course the vest isn't 40 years old. No one says it was. The problem is that it wasn't the newest vest and it was given to National Guardsmen expected to serve as front-line infantry.

posted by Steve @ 10:50:00 AM

10:50:00 AM

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