Sunday, November 26, 2006

When You Absolutely, Positively Got To Kill Every Motherf*cker In The Room

I've been fascinated by Kalashnikov and his AK-47 for quite awhile now, and this article in the Post just about sums it all up. Not quite enough info from the man himself, unfortunately, though he does express some regret at having invented one of the world's most popular killing machines, saying that he wishes he'd invented a lawnmower instead.

Unfortunately, and as you may have already heard, Kalashnikov is now allowing his name to be used on a brand of vodka. Alcohol and automatic weapons...what could possibly go wrong? Maybe he needs to market some steroids, too.

But, as Mr. K notes, he's not responsible for what politicians and others have done with his invention. He designed it to stop the Nazis after watching them slaughter most of an entire town at Bryansk. There was no way for him to know that the thing would turn out to be--just possibly--the most dangerous weapon on the face of the Earth.


Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

The unintended consequences of standing up to evil. Quite a morality play, if you get my drift, and I bet you do.

1:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

During the chaos that followed the swift victory, millions of small weapons (mainly AKs) were looted from Hussein's armories.

Leaving antiquities unguarded is bad but didn't kill anyone. Leaving Kalashnikovs and also the high explosives used in roadside bombs unguarded is really truly unforgivably stupid, and every day Americans and Iraqis die because of it. This is the Rumsfeld-Cheney-Bush legacy.

11:51 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

I think the analogy would only work, Tom, if Mr. K had, in response to the German attack, designed a gun to shoot Belgians or Scotsmen or Mexicans or somesuch...

Does it ever strike you as really, really baffling that we went in looking for weapons that didn't really exist while ignoring the huge stockpiles of ones that DID? I mean, you'd think it'd be awfully hard to get things exactly bass-ackwards like that...

4:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, WS, do you have an explanation?

The grand unified theory of the Bushists is that they're witless incompetents. As attractive (and frequently confirmed) as that hypothesis is, I need a bit more.

After all, the military itself undoubtedly had quite a bit of discretion about troop movements. It could have secured the armories with relatively light units. I would fully expect the generals, even those compromised by their yes-man adherence to the neocon troop strength doctrine, to take ordinary pacification steps to deny weapons to the population.

Hell, there should have been enough NRA believers there to understand the interests of an unpopular government against a potentially (and now really) armed population. Or did they believe that an armed population is a polite population? (And how is that working out?)

So, did Rumsfeld believe so strongly in the myth of flowers and hosannas that he did not permit contingency plans? Obviously, there's a limit to improvisation in the post-invasion phase. It would be probative to know whether any of the armories were immediately secured and how many of those were on the Pentagon list, in contrast to how many had see-the-need-and-fill-it security.

Most likely, there just weren't enough troops to secure all the sites that needed a garrison, especially not when turning over every rock and dune looking for hints of WMD was top priority, not small arms. Again, there was probably one true plan and not much to fall back on when it proved inadequate.

I still think that the plan was to blitz Iraq, expecting shock and awe (remember? ha!) to leave a docile populace, which was the reason 300,000 soldiers were not needed. The goal was to build a permanent beachhead from which to project unfettered American power throughout the Middle East, replacing revocable bases in Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi. The Bushists expected Iraqi oil to finance enough of the occupation that they could use it as a rhetorical fig leaf (though they had to know that their claims it would finance all the invasion and occupation were lies).

That's my speculation, anyway. I jump to some conclusions that need empirical backing. Say, could Congress find out for me now?

But in the current state of knowledge, I would ascribe the problem to lack of manpower.

6:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've heard and read numerous retired generals explain that their orders were limited to ousting Saddam, with a total lack of post-invasion planning. They didn't expect to become an occupying power, so their oversight of these amories seems a bit more excuseable in that light. Especially considering how fervently they were lied to about the bio-chemical threat they faced, or rather, didn't face. Assuming one is faced with the choice between securing a warehouse of AKs and securing a biological weapon, I don't know that we can fault them for choosing the latter (especially considering the limited number of troops being committed by their civilian commanders).

8:51 PM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

I think the analogy would only work, Tom, if Mr. K had, in response to the German attack, designed a gun to shoot Belgians or Scotsmen or Mexicans or somesuch...

Damn, WS, we could use such a gun in Iraq to shoot only bad guys and their sympathizers right now.

Although I fear that would leave most everybody dead. And that is the problem...

1:19 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

But the real question: How come we're shooting *Iraqi*s at all?

Not that I don't think that lots of people there--Saddam foremost among them--need killin' (as we'd say back home)...

Call me crazy, but the guy I really wanted to get, and get first--and get in a spectacularly check-it-out-what-happens-to-people-who-fuck-with-us way--was OBL.

But we repeat ourselves, I fear.

8:32 AM  

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