Last week, the blog Accurate Shooter reported that high-powered rifle sights provided to the U.S. military by the company Trijicon have “discreetly placed references to Bible passages.” Trijicon “has a $660 million multi-year contract to provide up to 800,000 sights to the Marine Corps.” The military has strict rules banning the proselytizing of any religion in Iraq and Afghanistan. Air Force Maj. John Redfield, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command, initially defended Trijicon, saying, “”This situation is not unlike the situation with US currency. Are we going to stop using money because the bills have ‘In God We Trust’ on them? As long as the sights meet the combat needs of troops, they’ll continue to be used.” But Centcom commander Gen. David Petraeus took a different position on Wednesday:
“I hope you can sense…this is of serious concern to me and the other commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan because it can indeed create a perception that is absolutely contrary to what it is that we have sought to do,” he said.
He said U.S. troops are much more sensitive “about this kind of thing,” apparently, than is the contractor involved.
Trijicon has now said that it will stop the practice and “offered to provide modification kits to the Pentagon to enable their removal on existing optics.” New Zealand, which also has sights from Trijicon, banned the “completely inappropriate” inscriptions, and Australia’s Defense Minister has asked officials “to examine the options available to deal with this matter.”