Sunday, August 19, 2007

It seemed like a good idea at the time

Tacked on to the end of a story about the U.S. creating more quasi-militia types to police Sunni areas where the regular police cannot go, Gen. David Petraeus addresses a recent report about his loss of hundreds of thousands of arms earlier in the war:

General Petraeus also responded to recent reports by the Government Accountability Office and the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction that were critical of his handling of hundreds of thousands of weapons given to Iraqi security forces when he was previously in charge of training those forces. The weapons were not properly registered by serial number and thousands were lost, potentially to insurgent groups, the agencies found.

General Petraeus said that early in the conflict, he faced the choice of either quickly getting the weapons to willing Iraqi fighters who were defending the country or delaying while the tracking mechanisms were put in place.

The general said he decided to get the weapons out fast, in one case landing in Najaf in Marine helicopters and dumping the weapons out the back hatch to waiting Iraqis.

“We made a decision to arm guys who wanted to fight for their country,” General Petraeus said.

To which Moqtada al-Sadr replied, "Thanks, dude."

Props for honesty, I guess.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 11:59 AM

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