“It’s not in the strategic interest of the United States”
to have a long-term military presence in Iraq
--Jim Webb (D-VA), quoted in the NYT
Everybody's got something to hide,
'cept for me and my monkey.
--Everybody's Got Something to Hide, John Lennon
It is better to look good than to feel good,
you know what I am saying?
--Fernando (Billy Crystal), Saturday Night Live
Would you like to touch my monkey?
Liebe meinen Affen-monkey!
--Dieter (Sprockets), SNL
More minute deconstruction of reports from the MSM on the arming of the "projected members of the Iraq army." For those in the know, the loose and downright nonfactual reporting irks.
In "New Arms for a New Iraqi Army," the L.A. Times reports,
"Over the next year or two, the 190,000 projected members of the Iraqi army will be issued M-16s or related weapons, to the consternation of some military aficionados and pundits, with some saying the U.S. is tempting fate by offering the world's premier assault rifle to a country with an unstable government and a healthy black market."
What makes the M-16 the premier assault rifle? Aren't the SIG's, the Galil, the FN's of equal or superior design? Just because the U.S. uses it does it make it the best.
"The AK [has] . . . a large round and big kick. . ." How can anyone except a big wimp say that the AK has a big kick?
"Already, about 10,000 of the Colt-manufactured assault rifles have been distributed to Iraqi soldiers in Baghdad and other parts of the country. The Iraqi Defense Ministry has ordered about 41,000 of the weapons, which sell for about $800 apiece, and the U.S. Army has authorized the sale of 80,000 others, plus 50,000 of the related M-4."
When did the U.S. Army become the agency to authorize foreign arms sales? Wasn't this a State Department function? So much for civilian leadership.
After three-day qualifying trials, "they graduate to live-fire tactical training, learning how to enter a house, identify a target and shoot to kill." Wonderful. If the function of an army is to enter houses, then let's give the Iraqis sawed-off 12 gauge shotguns with buckshot. Entering houses and killing people does not sound like the mission of an army.
"Iraqi defense officials were especially eager for the U.S. rifle to modernize their forces, Defense Ministry spokesman Mohammed Askari said. "'These weapons possess high quality and the most recent specifications that will help us in upgrading the work of our ministry,' Askari said."
We wonder if his ministry is similar to that preached by George W. Bush. Why do they need to modernize -- they are never going to fight a real war? The Iraqi army is simply a blunt tool to suppress their population.
"'The M-16 is a sign of the Iraqi army being a modern army,' said Brig. Gen. Robin Swan, who is in charge of the U.S.-led forces' Iraqi training command." Unless we are going by Mr. Blackwell's guidelines, this is not a catwalk, and the clothes don't make the man.
"Anthony Cordesman, a military analyst for the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, sees the switch as a purely strategic step necessitated by the U.S. military's realization that it is going to have a long association with the Iraqi army."
And how is this association safeguarding America from the threat of terrorism? The Iraqi Army is a hole in the desert where America throws away its cash reserves.
"But, no matter what its strategic or tactical merits, the Iraqi army's adoption of the M-16 is indisputably symbolic," yet again proving the old Army maxim, "Do anything, even if it's wrong." As always, today's military leadership mistakes motion for progress.
One leaves such a piece asking, "What is the U.S. trying to achieve in Iraq?" Whatever it is, it cannot be achieved by arming the country to the teeth.
As NYT columnist Bob Herbert said recently, "What matters more than the precision of these estimates [quibbling between $2 and 3+ trillion] is the undeniable fact that the costs associated with the Iraq war are huge and carry with them enormous societal consequences (Now and Forever.)"
President Bush is imposing his policy of bravado and swagger upon the festering failure that is Iraq. You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. Remember the photos of Saddam's pathetic "elite" Republican Guard? They had nice red boots and caps and shiny uniforms, but they couldn't march in cadence.
The visual of the organ grinder's monkey from our childhood also comes to mind. He had lovely epaulets on his shoulders, but he couldn't do much more than dance to the organ and take your coins. Clever monkey.
Americans are not very patient, and want their gratification now. As long as they can still fill their tank to go shop at Walmart, or Neiman Marcus, they seem to remain blissfully unaware that their country will soon have to pay the piper.
The ability to project compassion on the behalf of others seems to elude many. We are talking here of compassion for your own countrymen. Americans seem like the missionaries who are so fond of crusading abroad, while their own needy languish in their backyards. Just not as attractive a mission, I suppose.
But Iraq and Afghanistan are exorbitantly expensive missions, and you can only run up a tab so long before the check comes due.
--Jim and Lisa