For those of you who rely on a auto loading weapon for self defense, or are interested in weapon reliability when hunting in windy desert coditions, you might find this an interesting read ................ ED OFFLEY, SOLDIERS FOR THE TRUTH - Buried deep within the latest news report on the deadly ambush of the 507th Transportation Maintenance Co. in Iraq on March 23, 2003, was a chilling nugget of information. It now appears that the soldiers who were killed or taken prisoner in that now-infamous firefight shared a common misfortune. Their rifles had all jammed. Disavowing an earlier news report that had alleged Pvt. Jessica Lynch had fired multiple clips of ammunition at the attacking Iraqis before she was injured and taken prisoner, The Washington Post has now published a more detailed account. The newspaper described how she was seriously injured when the Humvee vehicle in which she was riding crashed at high speed into an overturned Army tractor-trailer. Then, the team of three Post reporters noted: "Lynch tried to fire her weapon, but it jammed, according to military officials familiar with the Army investigation. She did not kill any Iraqis. She was neither shot nor stabbed, they said." As the Pentagon proceeds with its official "after action reports" and "lessons learned" effort from Operation Iraqi Freedom, troubling information has begun to emerge from numerous sources that jammed weapons were a serious problem in Iraq. Worse, it appears that this happened because many American troops were equipped with a lubricant to clean their rifles and side arms that was ineffective in the harsh desert environment. It wasn't just Pvt. Lynch in the 507th Maintenance Co. who fell victim to a jammed weapon. An earlier report in The Washington Post on Apr. 14, 2003, contained the first detailed accounts of the ambush from the just-rescued POWs: "The bullets and explosions came from all sides. Some of the vehicles flipped over. Other drivers hit the gas hoping to outrun the danger, but ran into even heavier fire. In the swirling dust, soldiers' rifles jammed. Pfc. Patrick Miller, 23, from suburban Wichita, began shoving rounds into his rifle one at a time, firing single shots at enemies swarming all around. ... Finally, it fell to Sgt. James Riley, a 31-year-old bachelor from Pennsauken, N.J., and the senior soldier present, to surrender. 'We were like Custer,' he recalled today, still sounding shocked. 'We were surrounded. We had no working weapons. We couldn't even make a bayonet charge ‚ we would have been mowed down.'" The probable cause of this widespread weapons failure has been blamed on a government-issued lubricant known as "CLP" that has been provided to many ‚ but not all ‚ U.S. Army soldiers. A number of Army veterans and contractors have denounced CLP as totally ineffective in preventing sand and dust buildup in weapons in Iraq. "The CLP and Breakfree brand oil the military purchases is worthless," said Aaron Johnson, a 10-year veteran of the Army and Army Reserve, and author of a Defense Watch guest column on the Army M9 sidearm ("How to Save the M9 Beretta," June 16, 2003). "I'm sure large amounts are acquired [by the Army] at relatively low cost, but that's why it should be done away with. That oil is too rich, and has little effectiveness at keeping weapons clean." "The troops will tell you, CLP attracts dirt and grit." Johnson continued. "It is also so thick it can reduce recoil speed, resulting in stoppages. It thickens in the cold, and when in hot weather areas it is usually attracting dust and sand." In an e-mail forwarded to Defense Watch, retired Lt. Col. Robert Kovacic, who works for a defense contractor in Kuwait that trains U.S. military units, echoed Johnson's remarks. "I can say with complete assuredness, from many, many observations [of training exercises], that CLP does not work. I did not use it ... at Fort Polk (cause it did not prevent rust, I don't care what the government says), and it sure as hell does not work here." What is bewildering to veterans such as these is that there is a product that has proven effective in desert combat. MILITEC-1 Synthetic Metal Conditioner, manufactured by the company of the same name, has been approved for Army use and is already widely used by the U.S. Coast Guard, FBI and a host of other federal police agencies. But the Army apparently is still shipping CLP en masse to the troops and has resisted ordering the synthetic lubricant, forcing unit commanders to pay out of their own pockets to acquire it.