FOX VIDEO: 'Silly String' is saving lives over in Iraq

David Edwards and Ron Brynaert
Published: Monday December 4, 2006
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A segment during Monday morning's edition of Fox and Friends explored why the novelty toy "Silly String" is considered the best method for detecting trip wires on bombs in Iraq, and how it has made the Army-issued grappling hook obsolete.

Last month, a town in New Jersey began a campaign to convince people to help donate "Silly String" to send to troops in Iraq.

"The request came from Marcelle and Ronald Shriver, whose 27-year-old son, Army Specialist Todd Shriver, is stationed in Ramadi," an ABC affilliate reported. "The Shrivers published their son's request in parish bulletins at St. Luke's and Our Lady of Grace in Somerdale. It's gotten a very strong response."

"Not so Silly String," TIME Magazine quipped.

"Stratford, N.J., mom Marcelle Shriver recently got a call from her son Todd requesting ... Silly String," Ellin Martens wrote for TIME. "Marines working with his unit in Iraq had shown the Army combat engineer how it can be used to detect trip wires. Before searching buildings, for example, personnel spray doorways from at least 10 ft. away with streams of foam--and see if they're snagged by barely visible wires, which are often affixed to bombs."

During the Fox broadcast, the commentators demonstrated how troops used the "party gag" by spraying a fake trip wire.

One Fox commentator said that it was "so cool" because it showed how inventive the troops could be on the battlefield. A Marine spokesman had told TIME, "We force Marine trainees to improvise."

Two years ago, during a visit to Kuwait, the soon-to-be-former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was confronted by a U.S. soldier who wanted to know why the troops were forced to make their own "hillbilly armor" in order to protect their military vehicles.

"Why do we soldiers have to dig through local landfills for pieces of scrap metal and compromised ballistic glass to up-armor our vehicles?" U.S. Army Spc. Thomas Wilson asked Rumsfeld.

Rumsfeld was later roundly criticized for his signature "folksy" response to the soldier.

"It isn't a matter of money, it isn't a matter on part of the Army of desire," Rumsfeld responded. "It's a matter of production and capability of doing it. As you know, you go to war with the Army you have."