Warner, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, confirmed that he has been urging the Pentagon to begin arming Iraqi units with standardized U.S. vehicles, rifles and other equipment to replace the hodgepodge of obsolete weaponry that the previous Iraqi interim government bought from former Soviet satellites in often dubious deals.
One quick way to accomplish this would be for U.S. units that are withdrawn to leave behind at least a portion of their equipment. Warner is considering legislation that would authorize that step if the Pentagon can work out details, he indicated.
“Yes, there are risks. But we have to take them, to say to the Iraqis: ‘It’s yours. You’re a fully sovereign nation.’ That will be the tipping point,” says Warner.