May 28, 2008

Always Back a Winner

Iraqi soldiers carry M-16s as they stand guard in Sadr City. AFP Photo by Ali Yussef

If the Iraq War is "lost" as journalists, politicians, and other Democrats continue to shrilly insist, then why is the Iraqi military choosing American weapons?

It isn't because American M16s are better than AK-47s for the needs of the Iraqi military (they aren't), but because Iraqis are impressed by American soldiers and want to emulate them.

Do you think they would be so eager to adapt our gear if we were losing?

Me neither.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at May 28, 2008 09:40 AM

I may be putting too much into this but...

The soldiers are probably using the weapons they are given and the ammo they don't need to pay for is the ammo used. But you are right, the US weapon does show a solidarity with the US soldiers. What I am impressed with is how the lead soldier is holding his weapon. The trigger finger is in a safe/ready position. They aren't carrying the weapon like gangs or thugs.

Posted by: mekan at May 28, 2008 09:52 AM

Yes, I'm sure that the fact that US troops are training them and that US Foreign Military Sales promote US military contracts has nothing to do with the fact that the Iraqi army has US military weapons. Nothing at all... Fact is, the M16s jam in the dust, which is why all the US troops switched to M4s or other weapon systems. AK47 is still more reliable, cheaper, not as accurate but in an urban setting, just as good if not better than the M16 rifles.

Posted by: J. at May 28, 2008 09:57 AM
I may be putting too much into this but...

The soldiers are probably using the weapons they are given and the ammo they don't need to pay for is the ammo used.

There is no doubt at all that they will carry what they are issued (and that decision was ultimately made well above their pay grade, as my link in the article shows), but it is equally true that the Iraqi soldiers want to emulate American soldiers. They covet the M-4 and M-16, want the same sunglasses and goggles, and other American gear.

As Mike Yon just sent via email, "They like M16s because we use them."

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at May 28, 2008 10:02 AM
Fact is, the M16s jam in the dust, which is why all the US troops switched to M4s or other weapon systems.

You do know that the M-4 is a "chopped" M-16, is less functionally reliable than an M-16, and fires 5.56 ammo at much lowers velocities because the barrel length of the M-4 is 5.5 inches shorter, leading to reduced terminal performance?

Nah, of course you didn't.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at May 28, 2008 10:08 AM

Isn't the M16 a much more complicated and sophisticated gun to maintain and operate than the AK47? Can we draw the conclusion that this is more antidotical evidence that the training of the IA continues apace? Thanks.

Posted by: mindnumbrobot at May 28, 2008 10:27 AM

I'm sure the weapons were chosen for a variety of reasons and subsidized but we do know that the country is awash in AKs and ammo including vast numbers in Iraqi army stores. Functionality may not explain it, nor the supply issues but they could have armed themselves from stores for nothing per unit, just maintenance and refurb. They have not.

Posted by: megapotamus at May 28, 2008 10:45 AM

You guys are all overthinking this. The simple answer is that its all a Rovian plot to enrich Haliburton (betcha didn't know they sell guns too) using Blackwater to force the Iraqis to buy M16s. Why use all that tiring logic when a nice neat conspiracy theory will do?

Posted by: Tim at May 28, 2008 10:57 AM

Actually I think the reasoning was because the M16 is more accurate than the AK47 and there are advantages to having ammo and weapon commonalities with your allies.

And the Iraqis are now our allies.

Posted by: SSG Jeff (USAR) at May 28, 2008 11:17 AM

Comparatively speaking, the M-16 is a finesse weapon next to the AK-47. Just like pirates who preferred the cutlass for boarding actions, the AK-47 is easy to use and care for. It also is heavy and less accurate. Further, it is primarily used in full automatic mode. The M-16 is more like a saber or rapier. It is just as deadly in the right hands as its brutish cousin.

Posted by: BohicaTwentyTwo at May 28, 2008 12:54 PM

All the speculations aside (Another of the many reasons the IA and IP are looking at using the A4 and M16 is the terrs and AQ do not use those often. Easy to spot the baddy if'n his weapon is vastly different than yours) I'm most glad to see the Trigger Discipline on these guys. I've been hearing and seeing more and more stories about the IA and IP taking to full US style tactics and training. Like duck to water. This shows in the blow up as he has his finger out of the guard, but ready. Outside of Israel, one doesn't see that in the MidEast. They are even getting officer material that doesn't treat the enlisted as slaves and dogs. Be a shame to cut these guys off at the knees like Obama and his comrades would love to do.

Posted by: JP at May 28, 2008 03:39 PM

SSGT Jeff and JP are making the same point in two different ways... the Iraqi military is clearly throwing its lot in with the US Armed Forces, both in terms of weapons and ammo used (as Jeff pointed out) and training and tactics (as JP said).

The Iraqis are clearly expecting us to come to their aid if needed, and Obama and his cronies are threatening to pull the rug out from under them.

Nice way to treat our allies, Senator Obama.

Posted by: C-C-G at May 28, 2008 06:04 PM

What is more impressive than the fact the Iraqi soldier is holding an American weapon is the way it is being held: muzzle down, hand over the trigger with the trigger finger alongside the magazine -- not on the trigger.

Contrast that to the typical photo of a terrorist holding a weapon -- pointing up, finger on the trigger, Allah help us if the safety isn't set.

Them soldiers are learning

Posted by: Mark L at May 29, 2008 07:47 AM


I thought that Congress had jammed through a request for Colt Industries' M-16/M-4 weapons for the Iraqi army....and that was facilitated by Congr. Murtha, a very close pal of the Chairman of Colt Industries.

Posted by: dad29 at May 29, 2008 09:07 AM

Just back from Baghdad and the IAs I saw and talked to all pretty much LOVE the M-16A2s that they have been given. It's a "I 'wannabe' just like the Americans" kind of thing... also a lot lighter which they like, and from what they told me (in broken eeeeng-glish) and from what I could unnastand, it (the M-16) doesn't carry the 'symbolism' that an AK does and makes it easier on joint ops with US Troops to tell the 'bad guys' from the 'good guys'...

Posted by: Big Country at May 29, 2008 11:50 AM

Thought I doubt this is the primary reason for IA forces carrying M16s, might it have something to do with the distinct sound of an AK47 as opposed to that of an M16/M4? In Vietnam, if American GIs hears AK47 chatter, they knew it was enemy fire. I assume the same principle applies in Iraq (or would if only the IAF were using AKs). Knowing who is doing the shooting obviously helps the soldier maintain tactical awareness. Just a thought.

Posted by: Lone Star Politics at May 29, 2008 01:13 PM

It also has to do with the fact that inside 300m the M16 has better terminal effects on target than the AK series weapons.

Posted by: Eric at June 1, 2008 10:33 AM