Big bad Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is a tough guy when it comes to cutting off the heads of hog-tied and defenseless prisoners, but Al Qaeda’s leader in Iraq clearly doesn’t do all that much fighting against armed American crusaders personally.
Muttering in Arabic, Zarqawi hefts the M 249’s unfamiliar (over 20 lbs. — 9.07 kg.) loaded weight. Zarqawi is trying to blast away at full-auto, but is only able to squeeze off tentative single shots, and promptly jams up the machine gun’s action. We then discover that the brave Islamic warrior doesn’t have a clue as to how to pull back the operating lever, clear the breech, and restore operating ability.
Zarqawi looks helpless, as an obsequious (fully hooded) jihadi materializes from stage-left, to pull the handle for him, and make the gun operable. Zarqawi by now just wants to get it over with, so he simply holds down the trigger, until he’s emptied the entire magazine. Boy, I bet that barrel was hot.
Major General Rick Lynch also had a laugh at Zarqawi’s expense at the press briefing covered by AP:
“It’s supposed to be automatic fire, he’s shooting single shots. Something is wrong with his machine gun, he looks down, can’t figure out, calls his friend to come unblock the stoppage and get the weapon firing again,” Lynch said.
“This piece you all see as he walks away, he’s wearing his black uniform and his New Balance tennis shoes as he moves to this white pickup. And, his close associates around him … do things like grab the hot barrel of the machine gun and burn themselves,” the military spokesman added.
Personally, I think Zarqawi is looking a bit like the late John Belushi.
Confederate Yankee gives us another choice detail:
Just seconds after Zarqawi fired dozens of rounds through the gun, he puts one of his men at extreme risk as he sweeps the machine gun’s barrel around, momentarily pointing at the terrorist’s chest without apparently activating the weapon’s safety, or even taking his finger off the trigger. Shortly after that display of stupidity, another terrorist is shown grabbing the machine gun by the still-smoking barrel, burning his hand.
Spook86 thinks Zarqawi’s incompetence may explain why the insurgents in Iraq rely so heavily on roadside bombs to attack U.S. forces.