Arming Our Enemies in Iraq
As an Iraq war veteran, I am deeply troubled that weapons we gave to Iraqi security forces are unaccounted for and probably have fallen into the hands of our enemies [front page, Aug. 6].
In January 2004, I trained members of the Iraqi military. At that time, their training cycle was only a week long. The training consisted of me calling cadence in English (even though the recruits spoke Arabic) and a simple rifle qualification that did not require recruits to be able to hit a target, just to squeeze the trigger of the AK-47 we provided them. We were told by our commanders to stand behind the recruits as they fired out of fears that they might turn their weapons on us.
After training, the Iraqis were incorporated into our units. But we did not trust them enough to tell them where a mission would be carried out, because we were afraid any infiltrators could provide the insurgency with the information, setting up an ambush. When we were in the field, most of the Iraqis covered their faces out of fear or shame at being seen with U.S. troops.
Now, over three years later, the United States is bogged down in a civil war, with multiple warring factions struggling to dominate the country. As much as those factions may hate each other, they share one common goal: killing American soldiers. The thought of an insurgent attacking my fellow troops with a weapon that we provided to him is infuriating.
I hope the Pentagon will do everything in its power to find out what happened to the missing weapons.
Americans Against Escalation in Iraq
The writer served in Iraq from 2003 to 2004 as an infantry sergeant with the Army's 1st Armored Division.