June 4, 2002
Stinger missile boomerangs
Recent warnings about the threat
posed by al Qaeda terrorists armed with Stinger shoulder-launched
missiles ("Terrorists smuggle missiles into U.S.," News, May 31) is
another reminder of how American weapons shipped abroad can come
back to haunt us in unexpected and potentially tragic ways.
Any Stingers currently in al
Qaeda's possession probably date back to the Soviet invasion of
Afghanistan, during which the CIA distributed more than 1,000 of the
shoulder-fired missiles to rebels fighting the Soviets. Despite a
decade-old buy back program, hundreds of these missiles remain at
While certainly among the
most troubling, the lost Stingers are only one of many examples of
U.S. weapons and weapons technologies ending up in the wrong hands.
The Israelis have repeatedly diverted U.S. missile technology to
China. Iraq was able to improve the targeting system of its Scud
missiles with the help of American technology obtained from the
It is time to
reconsider our role as the world's largest arms exporter. The lives
of American soldiers and civilians may hang in the balance.
Arms Sales Monitoring
Federation of American