How about policing OUR arms shipments?

How about policing OUR arms shipments? May 30, 2006

There’s a shocking report in The Guardian about mind-bogglingly lax and irresponsible monitoring by the Pentagon of shipments of tens of thousands of small arms over the last few years from Bosnia to Iraq via a murky constellation of private firms.

Now, reflect upon this bizarre news and consider how Muslims and Muslim organizations have been treated as terrorism supporters for contributing to charities which are undeniably doing legitimate humanitarian work but which might, unknown to them, also have unsavory ties of some sort.  People giving money to feed orphans have been treated like criminals.

Yet here the US government is not only shipping huge amounts of arms to a war zone with such scandalously lax monitoring that we don’t know where those arms ended up but even has employed at least one "noted arms smuggler blacklisted by Washington and the UN"  in the process.   

The arms in this shipment, one of the largest seen in the world since World War II, arms could be in the hands of Al-Qaeda for all we know.  This is really rich.  Were this news item about arms shipments by Iran, Sudan, or Pakistan rather than the US, bombers would already be airborne.

Honestly, shouldn’t some Pentagon officials be in Guantanamo for this caper?  How much more flagrantly can one contribute to the problem of international instability and terrorism?  By the vague legal and political standards that have been used since 9/11 to "prove" support for terrorism, are these not grave crimes?  Over 200,000 of machine guns have vanished into thin air!

I’m reminded of the famous anecdote concerning Alexander the Great interrogating a captured pirate.  The Emperor demanded why he engaged in piracy.  The pirate replied, "When I do what I do, I am called a ‘pirate’.  When you do what I do, you are called an ’emperor’."

Yet another example how the rules of national security and counterterrorism are applied differently when Muslims are involved.  A Muslim who so much mails a can of spagetti to a relative in Gaza these days can be accused of supporting terrorists, but shadowy government officials can lob around huge shipments of machine guns without any accountability whatsoever and the public is expected to just trust their good intentions.

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | US in secret gun deal

The Pentagon has secretly shipped tens of thousands of small arms from Bosnia to Iraq in the past two years, using a web of private companies, at least one of which is a noted arms smuggler blacklisted by Washington and the UN.

According to a report by Amnesty International, which investigated the sales, the US government arranged for the delivery of at least 200,000 Kalashnikov machine guns from Bosnia to Iraq in 2004-05. But though the weaponry was said to be for arming the fledgling Iraqi military, there is no evidence of the guns reaching their recipient.

Senior western officials in the Balkans fear that some of the guns may have fallen into the wrong hands.

A Nato official described the trade as the largest arms shipments from Bosnia since the second world war.

The official told Amnesty: "Nato has no way of monitoring the shipments once they leave Bosnia. There is no tracking mechanism to ensure they do not fall into the wrong hands. There are concerns that some of the weapons may have been siphoned off."

[rest of article]

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