Tuesday, January 08, 2008
The guns come out:
Pour out a little liquor to the inoperability of an MNF-I talking point. Brig. General Ed Cardon, November 28, 2007:

INT: I just wanted to ask who is financing and arming the awakening troops? Is it the Iraqi troops or the American troops? Who’s supporting them? Thank you.

BRIG. GEN. CARDON:Okay. As I stated earlier, we do not arm or provide ammunition to any of these groups in our area. For payment, that is done with monies from coalition forces at this time.

Captain David Underwood, The Washington Post, January 8, 2008:

Saad Mahami wanted more firepower. He didn't trust the Iraqi government to give him support, so inside Patrol Base Whiskey, at the edge of this village south of Baghdad, he told U.S. commanders that his 71 Sunni fighters needed additional weapons to fight the insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq.

As he listened to Mahami's demand, Capt. David Underwood reminded his superiors that Mahami's men -- all members of a U.S.-backed Sunni paramilitary movement called Sahwa, or "Awakening" -- were already buying arms with U.S. reward money for finding enemy ammunition dumps. "And as we confiscate weapons, we hand them to Saad Mahami," Underwood told Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, the top commander in the region, during their meeting with the Iraqi.

--Spencer Ackerman