The Daily Telegraph can disclose that Pentagon chiefs have asked arms suppliers for a quote on a vast amount of ordnance, including more than 78 million rounds of AK47 ammunition, 100,000 rocket-propelled grenades and 12,000 tank shells – equivalent to about 15 times the British Army’s annual requirements. (Emphasis added)
The Bush administration is said to want the deal because of worries that the next president could be a Democrat, possibly Hillary Clinton, who may abandon Afghanistan.
White House insiders fear that Afghanistan could “drift” and consequently, they want heavily to arm President Hamid Kharzai’s government before the 2008 US presidential election.
Defence specialists said Russian arms chiefs at first “fell about laughing” because they thought the order was a joke when it arrived this month. But with the Americans said to be pressing for a price and earliest delivery date, the request is being rapidly processed and exports could begin before the end of this year.
The “decade’s worth” of ammunition will give the Afghan National Army a vast arsenal to deal with Taliban or drug warlords if Washington withdraws its troops.
By “deal with”, do you suppose they mean “trade with”?
No wonder the Russians laughed. The Taliban used American-supplied weapons to drive them out of Afghanistan. The irony here is breathtaking.
According to what I read, President Karzai’s government basically controls the area around Kabul and not much more. Last week, the Department of Defense admitted that four airplanes full of AK47s intended for the new Iraqi military went missing in 2004 and 2005 somewhere between Bosnia and Iraq. These guns will probably be used against American soldiers someday, if they haven’t already.
Considering that the Taliban is using the guns we gave them against our troops, what are the odds that this 15-year supply of ammunition will be used exactly as the neocons hope once we’re gone?
Further, Hillary Clinton, assuming she’s elected in ’08, isn’t going to bail out of Afghanistan. If anything, she sounds like more of a hawk than GW. So what is this huge arms deal really all about?
The most likely answer is probably the simplest: It’s a bribe to persuade the Russians to abandon Iran in the coming war. And as with all phases of the Global War on Terror, the only real winners are the oligarchs of the military-industrial complex.