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Innovation in Iraq: How Soldiers Cope

By William Suphan     Nov 26, 2007 in World
American soldiers in Iraq have had a hard time getting much needed supplies, so they have taken to MacGuyver-like methods to deal with trip wires, bullet wounds, poisonous insects and more.
You've probably heard of soldiers using Silly String to detect bomb tripwires in Iraq, however, Newsweek has found that many of the everyday items we take for granted are saving lives in unexpected ways.
When soldiers eat local foods, they sometimes end up with stomach worms, so they have taken to eating tobacco to kill them. Veterinarians suggest the same use for cats and dogs for ridding them of parasites.
In the Vietnam War, soldiers would use rubber bands to affix condoms to the barrels of their weapons to keep the barrel clear of debris. Soldiers in Iraq have taken to putting cigarette butts in the end of the barrel, which are easy to shoot out.
The tampon has found another use in Iraq as well: plugging up bullet wounds. It seems their widely touted absorbent properties do the trick! For punctures in the chest, Saran Wrap is the answer! If you are showering and want to make sure you don't get cholera, just apply Vaseline or lip balm to your lips to keep contaminated water from getting in.
One soldier, Spc. Cynthia Brabant, would place tape sticky side up around her bed to keep poisonous insects away. She also places socks over her boots to keep scorpions from crawling into them.
Unfortunately, it's hard to think of such simple, yet resourceful innovations for body and vehicle armor. Let's hope they all come home safe.
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