In a saner world, the Pentagon wouldn’t throw itself a party to celebrate its purchase of thousands of bomb-resistant trucks it didn’t want in the first place. The story of the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle (MRAP) is a story of a bureaucracy that was first indifferent to the specialized, armored truck; then got pushed into buying it; and then congratulated itself for all the lives it saved in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet on Monday afternoon, officers, bureaucrats, and even the vice president packed into the Pentagon auditorium to pat themselves on the back for the success of all the MRAPs the Pentagon resisted.

After a band played and flags waved, the head of the Pentagon’s office for buying MRAPs, Alan Shaffer, praised the “incredible effort put forward by everyone who came into contact with the MRAP program.” Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said “there was no more important program for the Department of Defense in the last decade.” Vice President Joe Biden, an MRAP advocate at the Pentagon, reminisced about how “it’s not easy to push something this big through the system this fast, but you all did it.”