War on Iraq

Military 'Researchers' Strapped Pigs in Body Armor and Blew Them Up, All in the Name of Science

The 'study' was conducted last year in an undisclosed location, with the supposed goal of linking bomb blasts and brain injuries.

As long as we're discussing the military budget, let's talk about this: Pentagon researchers spent nearly $10 million dollars last year strapping pigs in body armor and blowing them up.
No, really; USA Today reports:
"During an 11-month period of research ending in December, scientists wrapped pigs in body armor and placed them in a Humvee simulator, in open fields and in a closed room and subjected them to varying degrees of explosions at a research laboratory in a location researchers declined to disclose."
The explosions "ranged in intensity," according to military researchers, "wounding some of the pigs and killing others."
The point? To "study the link between roadside bomb blasts and brain injury." Roadside bombs, after all, are the "top killer of U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan."

Senseless pig killing aside, there's a perverse irony to this story, which is that the Pentagon only recently acknowledged that, as USA Today reports, "up to 360,000 veterans ... may have suffered brain injuries" known as "blast-induced neurotraumas." Until last month, the Department of Defense was too busy claiming all those soldiers were merely suffering from "mild concussions," or entirely imaginary ailments, as AlterNet contributor Nora Eisenberg wrote a few weeks back. So it comes as a bit of a surprise that military scientists spent the better part of last year trying to understand blast-induced brain injuries at all.

Liliana Segura is a staff writer and editor of AlterNet's Rights and Liberties and War on Iraq Special Coverage.
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