COMMENTS: Chain Mail

The brand of body armor that the USArmy should procure for its soldiers was the question that occupied NBC's lead. Lisa Myers took almost six minutes to file an Investigates feature contrasting Interceptor and Dragon Skin. The former is the approved armor; it uses four plates of bulletproof material in a vest worn on top of the uniform. Dragon Skin is its rival, made "like medieval chain mail" of interconnected disks worn under the uniform. Myers conducted anecdotal ballistics tests and interviewed the inventor of Interceptor himself and both indicated that Dragon Skin is superior. The CIA concurs and uses it. Myers asked Gen Mark Brown, therefore, why the army preferred Interceptor and had banned Dragon Skin from use. Brown replied that Dragon Skin had failed bullet tests. Myers was not convinced: "The army banned Dragon Skin in March almost two months before testing began in May."

As for the soldiers wearing the armor, only CBS filed an update from Iraq on the search for the missing trio from the Tenth Mountain Division. Mark Strassmann joined a patrol as it searched the poor Sunni village of Rushdi Mullah, where the 300 residents are "dirt poor and tight-lipped." Strassmann explained their refusal to cooperate: for months al-Qaeda "terrorized" them, "even killing a local sheikh for talking to the Americans."


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