How to kill U.S. Marines

Thomas Smith, Jr., writing at Townhall.com, draws our attention to an incredibly irresponsible (and that's the most charitable interpretation) New York Times article published in January. The Times gave our enemies what amounts to a briefing in how to exploit vulnerabilities of the body armor worn by our troops. Smith quotes  Maj. Gen. William D. Catto:

"Mr. Moss [author of the Times article] highlighted and discussed the actual areas of potential vulnerability in the armor, which we specifically asked him not to do, and he did it anyway," Catto says. "You having been a Marine can understand why we would ask him not to do that. But he did." [....]

The story did not simply specify that there were unprotected areas of the body perceptively protected by existing body armor, but it highlighted those areas in both content and a color graphic, which illustrated in red exactly where bullets and shrapnel had previously struck and killed Marines. Certainly, any terrorist training camp where the bad guys are learning how best to kill American soldiers could make use of such a graphic.

Michael Moss, author of the Times piece, disagrees:

"Case after case of American soldiers being killed in Iraq are of soldiers standing or running, then being mowed down at 90—degree angles by randomly sprayed AK—47 fire," he says. "The chart isn't going to be of any value to those types of un—skilled insurgents who are just spraying, not aiming. And the professionally trained snipers already know what they are aiming for. They've already done their research. So, I'm a little hard—pressed to think how this diagram would help either of those two examples of insurgents."

Can anyone imagine a World War II article in the press describing the vulnerable spots on a P—51 Mustang, or describing the weakest spots on a Sherman Tank? Would a writer justify such revelations on the grounds that the Germans already knew all of this via combat experience?

Hat tip: Alex

Thomas Lifson   3 17 06

Dennis Sevakis adds:

Mr. Moss contends that

'Case after case of American soldiers being killed in Iraq are of soldiers standing or running, then being mowed down at 90—degree angles by randomly sprayed AK—47 fire.'

That may be true but isn't the whole story. Note the following from a Washington Times article published on February 28th:

A troubling video of an insurgent sniper in Iraq known only as "Juba" is spreading across the Internet. As National Public Radio describes it, in the professional—quality video, "Juba" is quiet, efficient and ruthless as he trains his sights on American soldiers and pulls the trigger. Jihadist messages accompany the grisly footage —— in English. The video's colloquial American vernacular strongly suggests the video was either made in the United States or by people deeply familiar with this country —— and skilled in the use of the latest technologies.

Seems to me areas of armor vulnerability would be of great interest to "Juba" the sniper. Guess we can't fault Mr. Moss for not knowing what he didn't know when he published his article in January. In this instance intellectual arrogance at the Times has once again won out over prudence and a real concern for American servicemen and women. Nothing new.
 
By the way, Juba is a city in the Sudan. Hmmm.

Thomas Smith, Jr., writing at Townhall.com, draws our attention to an incredibly irresponsible (and that's the most charitable interpretation) New York Times article published in January. The Times gave our enemies what amounts to a briefing in how to exploit vulnerabilities of the body armor worn by our troops. Smith quotes  Maj. Gen. William D. Catto:

"Mr. Moss [author of the Times article] highlighted and discussed the actual areas of potential vulnerability in the armor, which we specifically asked him not to do, and he did it anyway," Catto says. "You having been a Marine can understand why we would ask him not to do that. But he did." [....]

The story did not simply specify that there were unprotected areas of the body perceptively protected by existing body armor, but it highlighted those areas in both content and a color graphic, which illustrated in red exactly where bullets and shrapnel had previously struck and killed Marines. Certainly, any terrorist training camp where the bad guys are learning how best to kill American soldiers could make use of such a graphic.

Michael Moss, author of the Times piece, disagrees:

"Case after case of American soldiers being killed in Iraq are of soldiers standing or running, then being mowed down at 90—degree angles by randomly sprayed AK—47 fire," he says. "The chart isn't going to be of any value to those types of un—skilled insurgents who are just spraying, not aiming. And the professionally trained snipers already know what they are aiming for. They've already done their research. So, I'm a little hard—pressed to think how this diagram would help either of those two examples of insurgents."

Can anyone imagine a World War II article in the press describing the vulnerable spots on a P—51 Mustang, or describing the weakest spots on a Sherman Tank? Would a writer justify such revelations on the grounds that the Germans already knew all of this via combat experience?

Hat tip: Alex

Thomas Lifson   3 17 06

Dennis Sevakis adds:

Mr. Moss contends that

'Case after case of American soldiers being killed in Iraq are of soldiers standing or running, then being mowed down at 90—degree angles by randomly sprayed AK—47 fire.'

That may be true but isn't the whole story. Note the following from a Washington Times article published on February 28th:

A troubling video of an insurgent sniper in Iraq known only as "Juba" is spreading across the Internet. As National Public Radio describes it, in the professional—quality video, "Juba" is quiet, efficient and ruthless as he trains his sights on American soldiers and pulls the trigger. Jihadist messages accompany the grisly footage —— in English. The video's colloquial American vernacular strongly suggests the video was either made in the United States or by people deeply familiar with this country —— and skilled in the use of the latest technologies.

Seems to me areas of armor vulnerability would be of great interest to "Juba" the sniper. Guess we can't fault Mr. Moss for not knowing what he didn't know when he published his article in January. In this instance intellectual arrogance at the Times has once again won out over prudence and a real concern for American servicemen and women. Nothing new.
 
By the way, Juba is a city in the Sudan. Hmmm.