OK, so the United States needed to help the Iraqis rebuild their army. I get it. We left their old army in flaming chunks all along the Kuwait City-Baghdad highway. It needed to be rebuilt if the Iraqis were going to stand a chance against their unpleasant neighbors in Iran- who, by the way, did everything they could to aid and abet the bastards who were killing Allied soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Don’t believe me? I’ve got tons of personal pictures of captured Iranian munitions, new in the box. Those little bad boys had my name written all over them, so no love for the mullahs from me.
So yeah, the Iraqi Army needed rebuilt as a bulwark against Iran and later ISIS. However, anybody who knows anything about armies over there knows that those guys have a bad thing about letting equipment and arms walk away, they do not have anything close to professional standards of accountability or physical security. And the culture of an army does not change overnight, no matter how much policy makers wish it were so. Also, the allied status of the Iraqi Army is dubious, to say the least.
Knowing those small facts about those guys, and the people in charge of procurement must have, why the hell did we sell them M-1 tanks? Of course some of them walked away. Of course. Now, I’ve known about this for a while, and I’ve heard about M-1 tanks being captured and operated by ISIS (and they were destroyed in turn by US aircraft). But once again- why did we sell M-1’s to the Iraqis?
Dumb. The M-1 tank is the closest thing that we have to a BOLO these days, they are plain hard to kill and deadly as hell. Why didn’t we sell them the older, and still quite capable M-60A3? These would be slightly less hard to kill, and they are still quite capable of dealing with the primary adversary MBT in the region, the T-55 or 72. The Turks are using the M-60 in combat right now in Northern Syria (where they are dangerously close, and possibly hostile to, US forces), so why, again, didn’t we sell the Iraqis M-60’s?
Probably because the Iraqis looked at their neighbors in Saudi Arabia and got jealous. But then again, I’m sure the Iraqis could have bought two M-60’s for the price of one M-1.
Someone listened to them and sold them the tanks. The cat is out of the bag, and it has been for a while. Predictably, they are now being operated by groups who do not have the best interests of the US or our allies in mind.
The article says the US is politely asking for the tanks to be returned.