The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Jesus guns

In August of 2005 Trijicon was awarded a $660 million dollar, multi-year contract to provide up to 800,000 of its Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight (ACOG) to the U.S. Marine Corps. According to Trijicon, the ACOG is "designed to function in bright light, low light or no light conditions," and is "ideal for combat due to its high degree of discrimination, even among multiple moving targets." At the end of the scope's model number, you can read "JN8:12", which is a reference to the New Testament book of John, Chapter 8, Verse 12, which reads: "Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." (King James Version) (ABC News)The above image, from ABC News' The Blottler, may be considered bad enough on its own, but the fault is the manufacturer's, if we take the military's word that it was unaware of the markings. It's rather disappointing to see this from a military spokesman, though:

However, a spokesperson for CentCom, the U.S. military's overall command in Iraq and Afghanistan, said he did not understand why the issue was any different from U.S. money with religious inscriptions on it.

"The perfect parallel that I see," said Maj. John Redfield, spokesperson for CentCom, told ABC News, "is between the statement that's on the back of our dollar bills, which is 'In God We Trust,' and we haven't moved away from that."

Said Redfield, "Unless the equipment that's being used that has these inscriptions proved to be less than effective for soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and military folks using it, I wouldn't see why we would stop using that."

Well, one reason is that, with their overtones of Crusader rhetoric, it might be deemed offensive by these guys:

A U.S. Army sergeant allows an Iraqi police officer to look through the ACOG scope on his M-4 carbine assault rifle at a post in Hayy, Iraq. ( that it will make perfect propaganda fodder for al-Qaeda. I can imagine the al-Sabah press release now, "infidel hordes equipped with Crusader weapons, purveyor of cultural decadence from Great Satan reports..."

The UK and New Zealand are asking Trijicon to remove the markings, after all.