This is hardly the only thing relating to Israel the Americans are hiding. Indeed, the story of Israel's behind-the-scenes involvements in pushing the US to invade Iraq, then in infiltrating Iraq itself and preparing for more regional battles, is one of the most important largely undiscussed stories of our time.
Army Told Not to Use Israeli Bullets in Iraq
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Israeli-made bullets bought by the U.S. Army to plug a shortfall should be used for training only, not to fight Muslim guerrillas in Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. lawmakers told Army generals on Thursday.
Since the Army has other stockpiled ammunition, "by no means, under any circumstances should a round (from Israel) be utilized," said Rep. Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii, the top Democrat on a House of Representatives Armed Services subcommittee with jurisdiction over land forces.
The Army contracted with Israel Military Industries Ltd. in December for $70 million in small-caliber ammunition.
The Israeli firm was one of only two worldwide that could meet U.S. technical specifications and delivery needs, said Brig. Gen. Paul Izzo, the Army's program executive officer for ammunition. The other was East Alton, Illinois-based Winchester Ammunition, which also received a $70 million contract.
Although the Army should not have to worry about "political correctness," Abercrombie was making a valid point about the propaganda pitfalls of using Israeli rounds in the U.S.-declared war on terror, said Rep. Curt Weldon, the Pennsylvania Republican who chairs the subcommittee on tactical air and land forces.
"There's a sensitivity that I think all of us recognize," Weldon told the Army witnesses, including Maj. Gen. Buford Blount, who led the U.S. Third Infantry Division that captured Baghdad in April 2003.
Blount, now the Army's assistant deputy chief of staff, said the Army had sufficient small caliber ammunition -- 5.56mm, 7.62mm and .50 caliber -- to conduct current operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
But taken together with training needs, the United States had strained its production facilities, he testified.
"To fight a major combat operation in another theater will require the Army to impose restrictions on training expenditures and to focus current inventory and new production on combat operations," Blount said.
As a result, he said the Army hoped to stretch U.S. supplies to supplement the capacity of the government-owned Lake City plant in Independence, Missouri, that currently makes more than 90 percent of U.S. small caliber ammunition.
The Lake City factory, operated by Alliant Techsystems Inc., has nearly quadrupled its production in the past four years. This year, it will produce more than 1.2 billion rounds, Karen Davies, president of the ATK arm that runs it, told the panel. Lake City provided more than 2 billion rounds a year during World War II and Vietnam, she said.
The Army's needs will grow to about 1.5 billion to 1.7 billion rounds a year in coming years, Blount said.
"In the near-term, balancing training requirements with current operational needs is a manageable risk-mitigation strategy," he said.
The Army does not want to repeat its history of building capacity during wartime "only to dismantle it in peacetime," Blount added.