Saturday, April 30, 2011

So THAT'S what's been holding us back in Afghanistan: the wrong underwear


Once we get the underwear right, everything
in Afghanistan should fall into place.

Passed along without further comment (well, almost), from our pal Al Kamen in the Washington Post. -- Ken

Ballistic underwear for troops in Afghanistan

"Based on analysis in theater," the solicitation notice says, such underwear will drastically improve casualty recovery and reduce secondary infections."

"An Army marches on its stomach," said Napoleon , or maybe it was Frederick the Great . But the Marines in Afghanistan will soon, one would hope very soon, be marching more safely -- in their new ballistic underwear, designed to better protect them from injuries from improvised explosive devices.

The Pentagon this month put out a rush order solicitation, spotted by our colleague Walter Pincus, for "27,500 ballistic undergarments" for $2 million, noting that "ballistic underwear is currently being used by British forces" in Afghanistan "and they have significantly less injuries" to their privates as a result.

This is especially important in such places as Helmand province, where patrols in agricultural areas must be done on foot on narrow, often mined, paths along irrigation canals and such.

The double -weave silk underwear, which looks pretty much like bicycle shorts, is not bulletproof. But it will block out smaller particles or "blast fragments" and thus lessen damage in the groin area and to the femoral artery.

In addition, the undies have an antibacterial treatment that should reduce the risk of infection. The Marines say no source except the British supplier "provides a battlefield tested undergarment," though "we expect more sources to enter the marketplace" in the future.

Sounds as if they want immediate delivery, like maybe yesterday.

Well, obviously supporting our troops means . . . er, supporting their privates.

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