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PBS: Weapons of US soldiers in Iraq 'plagued with problems'
David Edwards and Greg Wasserstrom
Published: Monday September 24, 2007


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The M-16, the choice rifle of the United States Armed Forces, turns 50 years old this month and is still plagued by many of the same problems it had half a century ago, putting American troops in Iraq at a severe disadvantage when it comes to small arms combat, the PBS program Newshour reported tonight.

"That AK-74 outhits the M-16 by two to one on full automatic," said Jim Sullivan, referring to the Russian-made assault rifle, now in its third generation. "And the reason there were 100 million AK's made wasn't to equip the Russian army - it was to give [to] our Third World opponents. The United States can't win ground wars anymore."

The M-16 and its successor, the shorter M4, are known for their finickiness, jamming in even the most innocuous conditions. In combat, the unreliability of the rifle can be deadly.

Regarding his son currently serving in Iraq, Sullivan said, "He should have an AK."

The following video is from PBS's Newshour, broadcast on September 24.