A Ton Of Protection

Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula's media house released a new video about the assassination of Major Mohammed Ben Rabeesh al-Kaalan, head of the Security Directorate in Marib province last October. The 10-minute video produced by Sada al Malahem was entitled "Rabeesh and the Just Punishment" and opens with an introduction that shed some light on al Kaalan and the reason why al Qaeda decided to kill him.
Sada al Malahem
American soldiers were pinned down and taking fire from an enemy which held the high ground as the U.S. launched Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan.

Eight American soldiers were killed in the first two days of that battle and, reports CBS News National Security Correspondent David Martin, if hadn't been for a new type of body armor the death toll undoubtedly would have been much higher.

"At first I thought it was a ricochet round that bounced off my vest or a rock that hit me. I didn't realize until the next morning until we got back to Bagram that the bullet was actually in my vest," said one soldier.

That vest holds a plate made of multiple layers of ceramic that can actually stop a bullet, up to and including a machine gun round.

"On the backside you can tell because there's very big dent in there and the bullet is in there somewhere, probably in several pieces," said a soldier.

That's a huge improvement over the flak jackets American soldiers used to wear.

"The previous version that we had of the flak vest, it will not stop any rounds at all, it just prevents you from shrapnel and things like that," explained another soldier.

And weighing in at 15 pounds, it's 10 pounds lighter than the vests Marines used in Somalia, which is a big difference for an already overloaded soldier.

A soldier carries up to 120 pounds of gear into combat. Simple things, like standing up, become difficult and difficult things like patrolling at 10,000 feet become an ordeal.

But that 15 pounds of body armor can be the difference between life and death.

There are no silver bullets in the war against terrorism, but now that American soldiers have gone into the mountains to root out al Qaeda, a shield of ceramic body armor may be the next best thing.