Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Stupidity echoes down the ages

Apparently sights on US rifles being used in Iraq and Afghanistan are stamped with references to biblical texts. These sights have sat on rifles used to train members of the Iraqi army.

The Indian Mutiny was sparked by a similar example of rifle-based insensitivity: rumours of forbidden beef and pork fats being used in the manufacture of cartridge cases which had to be bitten open by their Hindu and Muslim users. And look how well that turned out.

History is truly a merry-go-round of dumb misunderstandings.



H/t Daily Dish.

8 comments:

dearieme said...

But were the Indian rumours true? If not, I don't see how that's "insensitivity"; perhaps it was top grade agitprop.

Gaw said...

I think there's enough evidence to suggest there was a grain of truth in the rumours. But perhaps this isn't as important as the rumours being believed to be true, which I would argue was as much a product of the gulf that had opened up between sahibs and sepoys as it was of agitprop: a lack of mutual understanding that gave rise to dumb misunderstandings such as this one.

Brit said...

So perhaps it doesn't help that Andrew Sullivan etc make a big thing about it.

Sean said...

Most folks on all sides are using AK47s, next up the US Marine Corps will be dumping the humvies for Toyota pick ups no doubt.

Fast, light and does not pack in, in a sand storm, all you need really.

Gaw said...

Brit: It was reported on ABC, one of the main US networks. I'm sure Andrew Sullivan's input is not going to do much more to popularise it.

Sean: The Amazon is a truly remarkable beast.

Brit said...

Don't tell Andrew Sullivan that, Gaw.

Hey Skipper said...

Stupid enough, certainly.

But to those ignorant of the Bible, (which includes all the non-Chrisitan world, plus a largish chunk of Christendom) I'll bet those stampings may as well have been logarithms.

Gaw said...

I guess it was inevitable that word got out what those symbols meant.