Hey, let's sell modern military hardware to Iraq

Am I the only person that thinks this is a bad idea?

The U.S. Department of Defense approved up to $10.7 billion in arms sales for Iraq over the past week, including a $2.16 billion sale of M1A1 Abrams tanks built by General Dynamics Corp.

As much as I’m sure Bush wants to load up Iraq to kick Iran in the teeth, I think it’s more likely we’ll get another case like the post-Shah revolutionary Iran with piles of our latest stuff.

Bill Hicks, doing cartwheels in his grave.

This aint nothing new.

I’m sure Iran-Contras can be redone, just with new actors too come the time.

Most likely these weapons will be used to suppress dissidents in Iraq anyway.


Given that one of the lesser-known quirks of the Iran-Iraq war is that Israel ended up selling M-48/M-60 tank engines and other sundry spare sparts to Iran, perhaps it’s all an export drive by the Israeli armaments industry? ;-)

Well, this was bound to happen. We couldn’t arm the Iraqi military with third-rate equipment once we got them trained. Especially if our guys our alongside them with high-tech gear. That sends the Iraqi grunts all the wrong messages.

As for Abrams, we’re already sold the Abrams to Egypt, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia.

It gets more tricky when the Iraqi Air Force wants fighters and helicopters. We’ll probably sell them a crapload of F16s.

Wow. I can understand selling last generation hardware, but I don’t get selling modern stuff at all.

I know “modern” is a relative term and everything, but the Abrams is pushing 30. If we’re selling off older, leaking piles of maintenance costs then I approve.

Went into service in 1980 and is still the main army tank. Doesn’t look obsolete to me.

Apparently they think the service life can be 25 more years.

Most likely it is poor quality equipment. The US couldn’t even bring itself to sell Block 50 F-16s to Poland as part of the missile shield deal.

We are selling them last generation M1A1s… We’re currently using M1A2s, which use a different, ‘smoothbore’ gun.

So not a problem if with (inevitably) need to fit our former puppet state once we release them? I’m just applying my Hearts of Iron knowledge here.

Not that I like the idea, but as Woolen Horde and Jakub point out, it’s not quite the same tank and we’ve been doing it for awhile. Also, I think the theory is that if we ever have to face M1’s, our air power will deal with them, much like it was our air power that destroyed almost all the tanks we took out in both Iraq wars. In fact, that’s pretty much been our military strategy since WW2 when it comes to enemy tanks.

As for selling them F-16s, considering how many of them are sitting around at the “graveyard” storage area outside of Tuscon (just looking at that place on Google Earth makes my gut churn at the trillions of dollars it all cost), I’m sure we have some to spare.

You’re over estimating the cost of airplanes by a factor of quite a bit I think.

As other’s have pointed out, there’s a big difference in which verison of the M1 is being sold. M1/M1IP’s with the 105mm rifled cannon, or the A1/A2’s with the 120mm smoothbore (Anti-Bunny is incorrect about A1’s having a different gun). There’s also quite a bit of difference in electronics loadouts on the different models, as well as the armor composition.

Well, if you assume that a B-2 costs about the same to build as any other plane, it’s understandable. However, F-16s are pretty low-tech in comparison. Half-assed googling says that Lockheed cut their price by $3 million per unit in 1997, resulting in a $20 million airplane. B-2s, on the other hand, cost about $1 billion to build and amortizing (is that the right word) the research costs over the number actually produced means each one is worth something like $2.3 billion. At least that’s the number I remember being slung around when that one crashed recently.

I stand corrected

Have you looked at that place recently? We’re talking about 167 F16’s (that’s my quickcount) at a modern day equivalent price of 21.8m per plane, or 350 F-4’s at about $14m each in today’s dollars, just to name one of many fields and fields of aircraft. If you think of those planes in terms of their individual costs in today’s dollars, you can hit a trillion easily.

Well, I’m not actually familiar with the place in question. There’s the equivalent of 50,000 F-16s worth of military hardware in this one place?

Pretty close. It’s certainly in the hundreds of billions in just the raw cost of the aircraft, not factoring in the R&D costs associated with developing them.

The place in question is Davis Monthan AFB(zoom in and look to the east and southeast of the main base and runway), just outside Tucson, AZ. The Navy and Air Force send most of their retired aircraft there for desert storage. In theory, some or most of the recent retirees could be reactivated if necessary, but generally they are stored for a number of years and act as parts sources to repair newer models still in service. However, there are also a lot of aircraft there that have been out of service for some time, such as the F-4. Basically, there are fields and fields of aircraft parked close together. The most recent Google Earth images are a few years old, but a wide variety of aircraft, thousands of them, are visible, including large bombers, fighters, and everything in between.

There is also an outdoor aircraft museum nearby which looks like the mother lode of post-WW2 US aircraft for enthusiasts.

Longitude and Latitude? I’ve always found old aircraft graveyards to be fascinating places.