Media fires blanks on military picture

Bob Owens and McQ call shenanigans on the AFP for a new photograph that purportedly shows American soldiers securing a training base in Iraq after a suicide bombing.  The rifle held by the soldier in the foreground has an attachment that makes it rather unsuitable for securing anything — except perhaps Princess Leia or the Millenium Falcon:

The red attachment is a laser transmitter, part of the MILES system used by soldiers for non-lethal combat training.  When soldiers press the trigger, it sends a laser burst that can be detected on gear that other soldiers wear, and it can also be used with blank cartridges for more realistic training.  Any rifle equipped with the MILES system is useless for actual security purposes.

Bob and McQ question whether this picture even comes from Iraq.  It’s possible that the military uses MILES at Babadag.  It would make sense that we would employ this system to train Iraqi Army units.  AFP would not likely be taking pictures of American training facilities in the US, and they must at least have a tracking system to tell them the source of the photographs they publish.  However, it’s a measure of their ignorance on military matters that their layer of fact-checkers and editors missed the fact that the rifle had a big red attachment on it that strongly suggests that it wouldn’t be able to fire real bullets, and that they never bothered to ask about it.