Republicus

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Location: Arlington, Virginia, United States

Friday, May 05, 2006

The Rocket Scientist


In a video siezed by the U.S. military in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi--wearing American tennis shoes--is seen having problems operating his automatic rifle.

Republicus was surprised.

After all, the mastermind has demonstrated deft, 21st Century sophistication with such high-tech weaponry as a knife he used to saw off the heads of bound, kneeling prisoners pleading for their lives.

Update (May 6)

Commentary Guest and fellow-blogger Douglass said:

I was expecting to see Zarqawi load the wrong ammo in the gun, or be unable to control the gun on full auto, or drop it and have to dodge the bullets as it went off on the ground uncontrollably.

al-Zarqawi's fumbling was caused by a dud round or a poorly machined firing pin.



Yes, apparently this was indeed U.S. military propaganda taking the opportunity to mock Zarqawi (for the sake of provoking him to mistake-prone anger), that is, the problems he experienced with the rifle-- though comical in effect (and his assistant seems to have burned his hand in trying to correct the problem)--does not necessarily indicate unfamiliarity or ineptitude with weapons.

But he is wearing New Balance sneakers.

And he is no rocket scientist (not even a high-school education).

And his ass is still grass.

Update (May 7)

So, did the video warrant the ridicule of Zarqawi's primitive incompetence with semi-sophisticated firearms?

Though it is plain that the release of the confiscated video by the U.S. military did indeed intend to publicly mock Zarqawi, and that there were enough incidentals (e.g. the American sneakers, the malfunction itself...) to show that the man--albeit a ferocious, gruesome bully to kneeling and bound civilian prisoners-- is just a man who is far less to be feared than the highly-trained professional in the U.S. military (who he runs like hell from and hides), questionability arose as to whether the video did demonstrate sheer cluelessness with the operation of the weapon.

After catching wind of the buzz, Guest Douglass (link to blog inoperative)--like Republicus-- "was expecting to see Zarqawi load the wrong ammo in the gun, or be unable to control the gun on full auto, or drop it and have to dodge the bullets as it went off on the ground uncontrollably."

lol Yes, indeed, that was the impression the media alert gave, and Republicus--not a firearms expert by any stretch-- must confess that he felt like he may have missed something after seeing the video for himself, which did not provide the level of demonstrable buffoonery that was anticipated by the buzz.

Nevertheless, Republicus did his duty by circulating the report, but, unable to determine for himself what exactly was going on with the firearm, left it at "(Zarqawi is) seen having problems operating his automatic rifle."

Whether it was a problem with Zarqawi's competence or with the weapon itself was prudently left out.

Douglass shared Republicus' expectation of a buffoonish spectacle but, with a far greater familiarity with the firearm, was able to confirm that "the problem" was with the weapon, not with Zarqawi's deftness with it per se:

"al-Zarqawi's fumbling was caused by a dud round or a poorly machined firing pin."

Republicus saw fit to update the post accordingly for the sake of accuracy.

However, guest disbarred lawyer ( http://legally-insane.blogspot.com/), yet another with far greater knowledge than Republicus on firearms--and their proper maintenance and handling-- saw fit to bring it back and put the onus on Zarqawi:

"i think the video does show a high degree of incompetance with the weapon...it is a good and reliable weapon... the difference between a professional and an incompetent thug is that a professional will know how to get his weapon back into action as quickly and as expediently as possible....as further evidence of his incompetance, his handling of the weapon was very poor and unsafe. when making the video, i think it was very apparent that he "flagged" his fellow thugs several times (i.e. the barrel of his weapon crossed another person breaking a fundamental safety rule of firearms). "

So yes, the weapon malfunctioned...

...but what can you expect from someone who doesn't know how to maintain it and keep it functional?

His ass is grass.

17 Comments:

Blogger Phelonius said...

I wonder if Al-Jezeera will start a new program along the lines of "al-Zarqawi's Funniest Videos?" If they do not, maybe we should, and help to demonstrate just what an asshat he really is.

9:06 AM  
Blogger John said...

His ass is grass.

9:10 AM  
Blogger Legally Insane said...

interesting that he would choose to protray himself with an m249 squad automatic weapon. i guess the message he want to send to his jihadist bretheren is that he obtained if from a dead american soldier. too bad he doesn't know how to use it.

12:14 PM  
Blogger John said...

dl, welcome.

"interesting that he would choose to protray himself with an m249 squad automatic weapon. i guess the message he want to send to his jihadist bretheren is that he obtained if from a dead american soldier. too bad he doesn't know how to use it."

Well, at least he knew how to tie his All-American New Balance sneakers.

12:24 PM  
Blogger Douglass said...

Let's stain the sand with the blood of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

That said, the SAW malfunctioned because of a light primer hit, and one of Zarqawi's buddies pulled back the charging handle to chamber a new round.

I didn't see too much fumbling.

Now,

THIS is fumbling:

http://www.compfused.com/directlink/680/

4:09 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

Douglass,

OH MAN!!! Ya, dont' let that guy handle a gun.

4:19 PM  
Blogger John said...

That was hilarious. Shoots himself in the foot while lecturing schoolkids about gun-safety.

Doug, are you saying that the ridiculing of Zarqawi's ineptitude with the weapon is unfair?

If so, I'll have to add to the post.

4:04 AM  
Blogger Douglass said...

That probably was a humbling experience for our DEA agent.

John,

I was expecting to see Zarqawi load the wrong ammo in the gun, or be unable to control the gun on full auto, or drop it and have to dodge the bullets as it went off on the ground uncontrollably.

al-Zarqawi's fumbling was caused by a dud round or a poorly machined firing pin.

That doesn't reflect poorly on Zarqawi, but on FN-Herstal, for giving our troops poorly manufactured machine guns and/or dud ammunition.

After seeing my fair share of idiots and their 12/20 and 20/28 splits on the sporting clay ranges, I just don't see a problem in taking your time to assess the situation when a malfunction occurs.

9:31 AM  
Blogger John said...

Update added.

12:11 PM  
Blogger Legally Insane said...

i have to disagree slightly. i think the video does show a high degree of incompetance with the weapon.

marines that i have talked to and from my own experiences with the fn manufactured m249 saw has me believing that it is a good and reliable weapon. the us military went to a foreign company to purchase the saw was because it was dependable and readily available.

there were no development costs, but if the military wanted to stick with a poorly manufactured weapon for cheap, they just would have converted the m-60 machine gun to accept 5.56mm rounds. the m249 is a good weapon made by a reputable firearms manufacturer.

but, as murphy noted, if something can go wrong, it will go wrong and at the worst possible moment. unfortunately, that is a fact of life, especially where military weapons are concerned. jams, misfires, and squibs are a fact of life. the difference between a professional and an incompetent thug is that a professional will know how to get his weapon back into action as quickly and as expediently as possible.

zarq is a thug.

also, the m249 is a precision weapon. it must be cleaned and cared for on a regular basis to ensure the highest possible reliablity. professionals understand this clean accordingly.

the same is true of the m16a2 assault rifle.

but the same is not true of weapons used by thugs, most notoriously the ak-47 and its variants and progeny. they are designed to be used by poorly trained militaries with minimal maintenacne.

if zarq was in that particular ak-47 mindset, then i am sure he nor his underlings consider cleaning and maintaining any weapon a very high priority. and in the desert with the sand and dust, that can be fatal if you have to use a precision machine.

zarq is an untrained thug vis-a-vis a united states marine. consider the the rifleman's creed of a marine.

as further evidence of his incompetance, his handling of the weapon was very poor and unsafe. when making the video, i think it was very apparent that he "flagged" his fellow thugs several times (i.e. the barrel of his weapon crossed another person breaking a fundamental safety rule of firearms).

he very easily could have killed someone.

too bad he did not have an accidental discharge!

but in that sense, i would never want to be around someone like him in any operational sense because he is just as likely to kill me as he would the enemy.

zarq is an undisciplined thug who is better suited to using a butcher knife than he is a modern western weapon.

it is not a big deal to me whether others think he is incompetent or proficient with weapons because i know if he is ever in my sights i will kill him before he can kill me. but i hate to see anyone giving him a pass or a mulligan in terms of his military skills by disparaging the weapon or the ammo.

a lot of americans depend on that very same weapon and it is a very good weapon to depend on. it offers much needed firepower to marine fireteams.

8:25 PM  
Blogger Legally Insane said...

douglass wrote:

"After seeing my fair share of idiots and their 12/20 and 20/28 splits on the sporting clay ranges, I just don't see a problem in taking your time to assess the situation when a malfunction occurs."

at a shooting range or even when hunting, there is no problem in taking time to asses a malfunction. in fact, that might be the prudent thing to do.

but it combat, it can be the difference between living and dying. professionals know this and train hard to do it right the first time every time since there is never a second chance.

true, he was not in combat when he was making the film. and if he was in combat, i am sure he would use an ak-47 variant. but it does underscore his mindset and tactical ability.

so is it appropriate to use these video clips to ridicule someone who is trying to make himself out to be some kind of military or tactical genius that is single-handedly defeating the americans in iraq?

i sure as hell think so!

8:43 PM  
Blogger Legally Insane said...

i actually thought that the fact that he "flagged" his fellow terrorists was the funniest and most insightful aspect of the video rather than having his assistant chamber a new round.

flagging someone is a safety violation that is weapon independent. he could have just as easily flagged his fellow terrorist with an rpg or an ak.

sorry for the long, multiple rants...

8:59 PM  
Blogger John said...

Are you kidding, dl?

You, too, have raised the bar at Republicus, and your insight is much appreciated.

Unforunately, I now have to add another update...

("DOH!")

6:07 AM  
Blogger John Roper said...

We all should take up a donation and buy Zarqawi The South Beach Diet book. Because from the looks of it he's had too many Twinkies.

7:12 AM  
Blogger Douglass said...

disbarred Lawyer,

you make a great point about the flagging.

Also,
It's nice that the 16 and the saw look pretty and are 'technologically precise',

But, I question those merits if adverse conditions prevent such weapons from firing.

If Zarquai had any brains he would have gathered his cache of western arms and uniforms around a commando unit, and proceeded to ambush Americans.

I'm glad he took the time to *TRY* to make himself look cool instead.

7:20 AM  
Blogger John said...

J.R. said:

"We all should take up a donation and buy Zarqawi The South Beach Diet book. Because from the looks of it he's had too many Twinkies."

lol I noticed that too, Roper. Looks like the occupation has been berry-berry good to him.

Douglass said...

"If Zarquai had any brains he would have gathered his cache of western arms and uniforms around a commando unit, and proceeded to ambush Americans."

They've been doing that wearing Iraqi Security Forces uniforms.

2:39 PM  
Blogger Legally Insane said...

douglass...

that is a sentiment i have often come across in the military. a sergeant once quiped that he would rather use an AK since you can pretty much drag that thing through mud and dirt and still have it function. as he said, "so what if it is a bit less accurate than an M-16? so what if i shoot a guy in the face instead of right between the eyes?"

another sergeant told me that an AK is the type of weapon you can keep for months neglected under your bed and expect it to function the first time you have to pull it out.

of course, having the best of both worlds (dependability and accuracy) would be an ideal solution. but i don't think the military is going to want to pay for that dual capability.

american soldier have paid for that lack of a dual capability. just think about private jessica lynch.

5:53 PM  

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