Iraq, It Gets Worse

Via Steve Benen, the scariest thing I’ve heard about Iraq so far:

Maj. Gen. Harry M. Wyatt III, commander of the Oklahoma National Guard, told the NYT that one-third of his soldiers lacked the M-4 rifles preferred by active-duty soldiers and that there were also shortfalls in night vision goggles and other equipment. Capt. Christopher Heathscott, a spokesman for the Arkansas National Guard, said the state’s 39th Brigade Combat Team was 600 rifles short for its 3,500 soldiers and also lacked its full arsenal of mortars and howitzers.

Think about that — National Guard troops are training for another quick deployment, but some of these soldiers don’t even have the right rifles yet. Body armor and Humvee protection is one thing, but Guard troops don’t have the rifles they want?

Two comments:
1. Bear in mind… these are National Guard troops… not regular military. Most of these folks would never have imagined they were going to be deployed abroad when they signed up. Who knows how many of them have been stop-lossed. Now, what? They’re supposed to throw rocks at the insurgents?
2. This kind of shortage didn’t just develop. Regardless of blame shifting, we’ve had a Republican Congress and a Republican administration for six years. Someone should be accountable for this mess.