Friday, May 9, 2008

Celebrating the Destruction of an MRAP?

A friend of mine at Quantico just leaked the following PowerPoint presentation to me. I called the number at the bottom of the first slide and was able to speak with Major Ruhlen, who seems to be getting an annoying number of calls about this. His number is redacted here. He claimed that someone had just slapped his “letterhead” on this one, and he had nothing to do with this file or anything to do with the MRAP for that matter. In fact, he even said that he did not know how much an MRAP costs.

After a quick google search, I was able to find out that the MRAP costs about a million dollars. The presentation says that “everyone walked away from a 500 lb explosion.” I have no idea how they were able to determine the weight of the explosive. Perhaps they picked up all the scraps of shrapnel and put them back together. But odds are, the explosives used came from an old Iraqi stockpile. Even if it really was 500 pounds of explosives, it probably cost Saddam just a few dollars to make, and didn't cost anything for the people who were responsible for putting it under the MRAP.

If our enemies can cost us a million dollars at almost no cost, and send us off giddily making Power Point presentations about it, we are pretty much fucked as a country.

Notice that the author says, “EVERYONE IN THE VEHICLE WALKED AWAY,” and “the driver got some broken ribs.” “Walked away,” isn't exactly a medical term. Now, I'm sure the soldiers were grateful to be in an MRAP and not a humvee, but I'm just as sure that they are not thrilled about the possibility of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) symptoms that may be with them for the rest of their lives.

The cost of the average humvee is about $140,000. Is it worth the extra cost of the MRAPs to save soldiers lives? Absolutely, if that was the equation in a bubble. The real question is, is it worth investing millions of dollars in this effort to force insurgents to make a marginally bigger bomb? But in the meantime, who is asking, “Should we stop making people want to blow us up and bleed us into bankrupcy?”

Here is the text from the first slide of the presentation, which is dated May 1st:

Soldiers survived!!

This is one of the new "hardened" MRAP vehicles that was hit by a 500 lb bomb (IED). The vehicle was totally destroyed, but EVERYONE IN THE VEHICLE WALKED AWAY.

Note the unusual construction of the bottom of the hardened Pathfinder APC. Note the bottom looks like the hull of a ship. The blast picked up the truck and turned it around! The driver got some broken ribs (see the photo of the steering wheel), but that's it. Everyone walked away from a 500 lb explosion directly beneath their vehicle.