In order to be well informed, it's important to seek out news and opinion from a number of sources. Here's a story from the NY Times: "Extra Armor Could Have Saved Many Lives, Study Shows"
A secret Pentagon study has found that at least 80 percent of the marines who have been killed in Iraq from wounds to their upper body could have survived if they had extra body armor. That armor has been available since 2003 but until recently the Pentagon has largely declined to supply it to troops despite calls from the field for additional protection, according to military officials.Faces From the Front has an opinion:
I wore a vest similar to those worn by regular street cops. I had the same helmet the Marines wore, but occasionally would go without it.As I've been paying closer attention to the media, one thing I've noticed is that news articles often contain bits of information buried within an agenda. Blogs can help to take the information and show it in a different light, giving a fresh perspective to the news. Read both items, and form your own opinion.
I put on the armor worn by the Marines to try it out. The vest, with the ceramic ballistic plates weighed 30 pounds. When you added in ammo, radios, grenades, a camel back, helmet and other gear, the load quickly got up 70 or 80 pounds.
My experience is that the Marines would gladly take their armor off anytime it was permitted, and, if offered the choice, would probably go without armor except in situations like raiding a target house.
Update: QandO has more.