Iraq gets Hellfire missiles, U.S. arms dealers get a merry Christmas

Why, look what Santa brought Iraq: U.S. Hellfire missiles. And I’m willing to bet that, unlike the packages of some UPS and FedEx customers, the Hellfires arrived on time.

And what Christmas list would be complete without some flying toys? So we’re also sending the Iraqi air force (gee, is that the same air force we destroyed — twice?) 10 or so small ScanEagle drones. (Think Predators without, uh, teeth.) Just be careful though, guys, they break easily and we only have a few hundred more in reserve to sell you, just in case. And no exchanges/no returns on these items, please.

Now, you’ll recall that we liberated Iraq from the clutches of evildoer Saddam Hussein because he was supposed to have weapons of mass destruction. Turns out he had only regular weapons — though he had lots of them, which some of his ungrateful countrymen then turned on our troops.

We’re gone now, but the problems we helped create are still there. Mainly, Al Qaeda fighters and the like.

So, in classic National Rifle Assn.-style thinking, Washington is apparently sold on the idea that the way to bring peace to a country saturated with weaponry and armed men is to, yes, send in more weapons! In this case, Hellfire missiles, which the U.S. has used to great effect against terrorists in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and other places. Oh, sure, we’ve killed a good number of innocent civilians too, but hey, you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs!

True, Iraq remains a mess. According to the United Nations, 8,000 Iraqis have been killed in violence this year, the most since 2008; 952 of those killed were members of the Iraqi security forces. And the Al Qaeda fighters, who in their other day job are reportedly also fighting in Syria, recently killed an Iraqi general and more than a dozen officers.

So it’s doubtful that Iraq could follow Costa Rica’s example in 1948 and abolish its military, a move that brought a huge peace dividend to the Ticos, as a recent Times Op-Ed explained. (Still, it would be a gutsy move, no?)

Instead, what we’re likely to see in Iraq is what we’re likely to see in Syria: death and more death. American troops didn’t put a stop that. The Hellfires won’t either. Nor will drones.

But there is something that shipping missiles and drones to Iraq will do: It will pad the bottom line of America’s arms dealers.

Think of it as a variation on Colin Powell’s classic line, “You break it, you own it.” Instead, it's, “You break, you own it, and then you can sell stuff to it.”


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