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As The Iraqi (Insurgents) Stand Up, We Will Stand Down
12/10/2006 10:42:00 AM | Justin

"As the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down", they said. Sounds nice on paper, but what happens if as the Iraqis stand up, they sell their American weapons to the insurgents, who stand up? We're finding out the hard way.

We have our NRA-controlled congress to thank in part for this failure to prevent American issued weapons from falling into the wrong hands. Until recently, the US was not even keeping track of the serial numbers of weapons it shipped to Iraq, meaning there are an estimated 370,000 weapons the US has shipped for which there is no record. Many of these unmarked guns are probably being used by insurgents to kill American. I'm sure this really helped our local gun manufacturers, who had to ship out loads of new weapons to replace the weapons that were 'lost'. According to the NYT article, 4% of the weapons the US has sent for Iraqi soldiers were lost before they even reached the Iraqi soldiers. On top of that, the smugglers say their primary source of weapons is actually from Iraqi soldiers who already received the weapons, meaning that at the very least 10-15% of the weapons paid for by the US have ended up on the Iraqi black market.

Whatever genius it was that crafted this policy that leaves zero paper trail or accountabilty for lost weapons could only have been inspired by the NRA. The failure to even record gun serial numbers is reminiscent of John Ashcroft's dogged insistence to deny the FBI the power to use gun purchase records to aid in the hunt for the 911 terrorists, even while he was prepared to compromise almost every other American privacy, right down to the books we check out from the library. If it weren't for the US's ridiculously loose gun control policy, I wonder how many fewer american soldiers and Iraqis would be dead.

The unfortunate reality of how many of the guns bought with US taxpayer dollars are being used by insurgents to kill American soldiers brings into question whether it's really constructive to be funding the arming and training of a huge new Iraqi army to replace US forces. If so many of the weapons we give our 'allies' in Iraq are going to end up in the hands of insurgents, perhaps the entire approach of picking favorites and then arming them to the teeth is not in our best interest. Maybe the less weapons we dump into Iraq, the less violence there will be. This may sound naive. But the alternative of expecting weapons given to Iraqis to be used against insurgents rather than against american soldiers seems pretty naive too -- especially considering that the only thing Iraqis seem to be able to agree on according to polls is that they want the US out of Iraq.



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