Protect or Prevent? Iraq Tanks Raise Heavy Issues

New armored vehicles will save soldiers, but may endanger strategy
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 27, 2007 3:40 AM CST
A Category I mine-resistant ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicle, is driven on a test course during a media demonstration, Friday, Aug. 24, 2007, at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. The Marine Corps commander...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – A new heavily armored vehicle will better protect US soldiers in Iraq from roadside bombs, but possibly at the risk of jeopardizing the overall counter-insurgency strategy, the Los Angeles Times reports. The new equipment has ignited debate over whether it is better to protect soldiers from attack, or stop the attacks from happening in the first place.

Some 1,500 mine-resistant ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicles have just been sent to Iraq and thousands more are on order. While soldiers are better protected inside the behemoths, the lumbering trucks lack the maneuverability often needed in Iraq battles. Even more importantly, argue counter-insurgency experts, soldiers inside the hulking vehicles will be unable to connect with local people, which is bound to have a negative impact on security.