Biblical Guns — A Report from Afghanistan

David Chater, a reporter for Al Jazeera in Kabul, has discovered that the U.S. military supplied guns to Afghan soldiers that carried on its sights engraved code numbers that stood for passages from the New Testament. The report was carried on Al Jazeera’s website on Friday, January 21.

“It is a rallying cry for the Taliban,” Chater observed. “It gives them a propaganda tool. They’ve always tried to paint the U.S. effort as a Christian campaign.”

Interviewed by Al Jazzera, Colonel Gregory Breazile, of the NATO Training command in Afghanistan, said, “We were told about this last night and when we looked into it we found that it was true. We started to take action and notified both the ministry of defence and our chain of command and they have all taken action so that we don’t purchase any more of these sights. We gave the Afghan military these weapons. We are very disappointed but it is a tiny inscription and very hard to notice.”

Another NATO spokesman has acknowledged that the practice is inappropriate but said that the guns will remain in use for now.

US military forces have repeatedly stated that their mission in Afghanistan was secular and that they have a ban on proselytizing.

Al Jazeera said ABC News had broken the story. It stated the Marine Corps was said to have a $660 million contract over multiple years with the manufacturer Trijican to make 800,000 units of the product.

Trijicon says that it has manufactured weapons sights with biblical inscriptions for three decades and never before received a complaint.

The U.S.-based Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) has called on Robert Gates, the U.S. defence secretary, asking him to withdraw the equipment from combat immediately.

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2 responses to “Biblical Guns — A Report from Afghanistan

  1. “withdraw the equipment from combat” – just why, again? Is it worse for a US soldier to shoot a Taliban warrior (or someone thought to be one) with a gunsight with a reference to a book of the New Testament, than for the killing to be done by an entirely inscription-free weapon?

    The target ends up equally dead or wounded in either case. And what the soldier believes in religious matters is undoubtedly independent of the inscription that until now he/she had almost certainly not noticed on the gunsight.

    Is it the position of the MPAC that it is acceptable for US (and other NATO) forces to kill Taliban (and other Afghans who are thought to be Taliban) so long as they are atheists, or their weaponry leave it open to believe that they are?

    Of course the Taliban is busy blowing up schools, markets and police stations occupied by Muslims … is that acceptable because they do so while shouting proper Islamic invocations to the deity?

    Islam recognizes Jesus as a prophet, just not (a) the final one, or (b) God in any form. So the religious inscriptions should arguably be acceptable, if not definitive.

    Would it be OK with MPAC if the gunsights had citations of the Qu’ran instead, or perhaps on a proportion of them (and the Old Testament, and the Book of Mormon, and Ron Hubbard, and … Richard Dawkins for the atheists?)

    As a letter writer to the Globe pointed out, the biblical inscriptions do not appear to include Jesus’ admonition that those who live by the sword will die by the sword.

    • In the Prussian-French war (1870-71) KRUPP (I THINK I am right) sold guns to both sides and on both sides bishops blessed them.