Earlier today, one of Wizbang’s resident detractors took Lorie’s piece about Eason Jordan to link to one of his first endeavors — a blurb on the black-market trade in AK-47 ammunition.
(Note: this was written before USMC Pilot put up his eerily prescient comment. I find myself slightly miffed that he “stepped on” my idea.)
According to Mr. Jordan (if we can trust him), the price has spiked recently, and he ties this in to one of the black market’s biggest source of ammunition: dissatisfied and disloyal Shia police officers.
Jordan presents this as a sign of corruption and failure among the police, and that’s one possible interpretation. But I can’t believe he was so ignorant or biased to overlook the real significance of rising prices of ammunition.
A black market is, most often, capitalism in its purest form. Utterly unfettered by government interference and regulation, the basic laws of economics function without restraint. And chief among them is the basic law of supply and demand.
Prices of items rise in response to two factors: an increase in demand, and a decline in supply. While the demand very well might be rising, it is also possible that the supply is declining.
The AK-47 and its variants is quite possibly the greatest legacy of the Soviet Union: a cheap, simple, and reliable assault weapon, manufactured all around the world. Ammunition for the gun is also made all over the world. And those nations that have an interest in keeping Iraq in turmoil have literally tons of it they have been more than willing to give away to those committing carnage in Iraq. This in a nation that was swimming in conventional weapons (mostly of Soviet, Chinese, or French in origin) before the US invaded.
When I read Jordan’s piece about the black-market price skyrocketing, my first thought was that there must be something wrong with the supply lines. I’m no economist, but it seems to me that demand alone did not seem adequate to justify 200% or 300% increases in price.
But this is all predicated on accepting Jordan’s report at face value. And I can’t bring myself to do that.
Jordan, like it or not, has no standing as an objective source of information. He spent literally years as an unpaid supporter of Saddam’s regime, willingly suppressing news of atrocities and other misdeeds of Saddam and his cronies in a devil’s pact for “access.” Then, after his partners in Saddam’s government fell, he gave aid and comfort to the insurgents by attacking the US military, saying they were “deliberately targeting” journalists in Iraq — without offering a single shred of evidence that it was so. As I said yesterday, he first hid real, verifiable atrocities, then alleged other ones without any offer of proof. In both cases, the thread was the same: the US was wrong, and the Baathists and terrorists were in the right.
And this is the guy that Michelle Malkin is entrusting her very life to, as they wander the blood-stained yellow brick road in search of the AP’s “wizard,” the apparently-fictitious Police Captain Jilal Hussein? Well, if anyone’s earned the good will of the head-choppers and market-bombers among the media, Eason Jordan is probably the best she can do without consorting with Al Jazeera or Reuters.
She’s a braver person than I am — and I don’t have a spouse and several children.