Cheney inspires market in bulletproof fashion

Are you a member of the global elite? Do you enjoy shooting things? Have we got the product for you.

Colombian tailor Miguel Caballero, who for years has provided Colombia's political and business elite with safe but fashionable bulletproof garments, has seen his international business boom since since U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney accidently "peppered" his friend in the face with a shotgun while hunting quail in 2006. Buckingham Palace just ordered 52 jackets.

The Guardian reports:

[Caballero] has opened a branch in Mexico, which is convulsed by drug-related violence, and will soon open another in Guatemala. High-profile clients include Venezuela's president, Hugo Chavez, Spain's Prince Felipe and the Hollywood action star Steven Seagal, who requested a bullet-proof kimono.

In July, Caballero opened a branch in Harrods, London's flagship store, to cater largely to security-conscious Russian and Arab plutocrats. "We're just starting there and it's going well," he said this week, just back from a visit to London.

The protective jackets, blazers and raincoats rely not on Kevlar but overlaps of special synthetic material. The "classic" model weighs 1.5kg and can stop a round from .38 revolver and 9mm pistol. The "platinum" model weighs 2kg and can stop a mini-Uzi and MP5 assault rifle.

Caballero enjoys testing out new garments by shooting his employees, particularly his lawyer. If watching journalists get shot is more your speed, you can watch the Guardian's Rory Carroll take one at close range here.

Passport

How many U.S. troops died in Afghanistan last month?

Incredibly, just one.

That's way down from the monthly average of 21 deaths since May, and given that 2008 has already been the deadliest year for U.S. troops in Afghanistan, a single death is a notable figure. But it's probably unlikely that security there is any making solid, long-term gains: A U.S. military spokeman told the LA Times that insurgents scale back operations during the colder months, which might have led to fewer deaths last month.

And notably, Spc. Jonnie L. Stiles died in mid-November when a suicide bomber struck his convoy. As Obama and Petraeus hone in on a new strategy for Afghanistan, suicide attacks, which have been the terror tactic of choice there for just the past few years, are sure to remain the primary threat to U.S. troops.

Photo: John Moore/Getty Images