Bang-Bang, Bling-Bling

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

I’m not cynical enough to think that the United States invaded Iraq so we could gain a customer for our weapons, but…

In a move that could be the most enduring imprint of U.S. influence in the Arab world, American military officials in Baghdad have begun a crash program to outfit the entire Iraqi army with M-16 rifles.

The initiative marks a sharp break for a culture steeped in the traditions of the Soviet-era AK-47 Kalashnikov assault rifle, a symbol of revolutionary zeal and third-world simplicity that is ubiquitous among the militaries of the Middle East.

So far, the U.S. military has helped the Iraqi army purchase 43,000 rifles – a mix of full-stock M-16A2s and compact M-4 carbines. Another 50,000 rifles are currently on order, and the objective is to outfit the entire Iraqi army with 165,000 American rifles in a one-for-one replacement of the AK-47.

The M16 is primarily manufactured by Colt and Belgian firm Fabrique Nationale de Herstal (who own oldschool American arms companies Browning and Winchester). So if you think about it, this is an economic stimulus plan.

The military’s justification goes…

Iraqi soldiers adopted the same weapons as their American counterparts in order to resemble Western defense forces and because the AK-47 series lack uniformity, making it unreliable in many ways.

“There’s a couple of motivations” for the change, said U.S. military trainer Capt. Alejandro Quinn. “(Iraqi soldiers) want the status and the uniformity with the Americans, but they also need a uniform weapon.”

Quinn said the training by the U.S. military and security contractors is also increasing the capability and morale of Iraqi soldiers.

“I first picked up the M-16 in 1990,” he said. “And the level of training I received probably wasn’t half as good as what they’re getting now.”

Some of that training is conducted by the U.S. military. And some of it…

The U.S. military is also employing government contractors to give the Iraqi soldiers the best possible training with the weapons.

“When they’re taught how to shoot, we make it into a little competition and award the best shooters with large Iraqi flags,” Quinn said.

“The contractors are really going out of their way to train them as best they can,” said Quinn. “They were the one’s who began awarding the best shooters. These guys are former Army and Marines and they really know what they’re doing.”

Quinn was actually surprised at the depth of training the soldiers are being given by the government contractors.

So one group of defense contractors makes money by selling them the weapons, then another group of defense contractors makes money by training the Iraqis to use them. I couldn’t find out where the ammunition is coming from, but I’d assume someone’s making money off that, too.



You’re dead.

As Ike once said…

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.


For what it’s worth, I have nothing against this whole deal except for the fact that it seems dirty for Country X to destroy Country Y and then hire a private arms firm from Country X to provide the weapons for Country Y’s new military, especially when the firm has given money to some of the Country X officials who authorized the war in the first place.


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  1. Come you masters of war

    You that build all the guns

    You that build the death planes

    You that build the big bombs

    You that hide behind walls

    You that hide behind desks

    I just want you to know

    I can see through your masks

    • DWG on February 28, 2008 at 13:40

    Another touching story of how we cannot rebuild basic Iraqi infrastructure, but we can make sure the Iraqi Security Forces are carrying American guns.  

    • ANKOSS on February 28, 2008 at 14:54

    These are the guns that will shoot at us as we slink out of Iraq. There appears to be no limit to our folly.  

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