A Payoff So Obvious that the Cheerleaders Can Spot It

Y’all might recall it wasn’t long ago that the US government spent $2.8 billion buying weapons for Iraq from former Soviet bloc countries, and then promptly lost 190,000 AK-47s. (“Lost” weapons, of course, included those delivered inadvertently to the insurgency.)

After all of that, Iraqis are switching from AK-47s to M-16s:

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.

“We in the U.S. know that the M-16 is superior to the AK … it’s more durable,” said Army Col. Stephen Scott, who’s in charge of helping the Iraqi army get all the equipment it needs to outfit its forces.

This may be the first time anyone has ever said the M-16 is more durable than the AK-47. The AK-47 is used all over the developing world precisely because it is durable, and cheap. The M-16 is more accurate, especially at a distance, but durable it isn’t.

The situation is so inane that Confederate Yankee, a guy who is as much of a cheerleader for the Bush administration’s happy adventure in Iraq as you will find, stated:

My immediate response upon reading this is simple: which defense contractor most benefits from this deal, and how much did they pay to make it happen?

I don’t know if that is a fair question to ask, but I’m being as honest as I know how: transitioning the Iraqi military to the M16/M4 family of weapons has all the hallmarks of creating or exacerbating a problem, not solving one.

Its long past time that people start doing time for corruption associated with this whole mess, starting with the former Heritage Foundation interns who handed out all the sacks of money that somehow or other disappeared going all the way to congresscritters and administration officials who put their personal interests above the national interest and the the lives of American soldiers. (And yes, I really don’t give a $%#^ which party they come from.)