I saw this article by Jason Ditz, writing at The American Conservative and quickly figured I would be pro-Stinger, but no way. Remember in Charlie Wilson’s War when the Afghan mujaheddin got these from the U.S. and whupped up on the Russians? Basically great tech for lame folk. But it turns out America doesn’t use it much.
The missile technology itself is great, and very effective, but with air superiority in almost every theater, Americans don’t regularly have use for Stingers.
The question then becomes, should America be proliferating Stinger missiles? The danger of putting Stingers in the hands of friendly forces is that they will be acquired by the enemy and used against Americans.
In Somalia, rebels were able to take down to Black Hawk helicopters with simple RPGs (See Black Hawk Down). Imagine what they could have accomplished with Stingers? The risk may be greater than the reward.
Ditz writes (abridged):
Having fallen out of favor years ago, the Pentagon is suddenly scrambling to bring back the FIM-92 Stinger missile.
Couched as a new anti-drone solution, the reintroduction of the Stinger as a regular part of the U.S. arsenal inevitably risks the return of the Stinger’s disastrous proliferation threat internationally.
It’s not hard to see where this will lead. A newfound interest in training and arming U.S. troops with Stingers
Somalia is a primary example of a nation with limited air defenses, and a war on terror that might easily place them at the top of the list for “anti-drone” weaponry like this. Somalia has also seen its U.S.-provided weapons stolen and sold on the black market in massive quantities before.
The U.S. has proven time and again to make poor decisions on who can be trusted with such arms, and is better off not getting back into the business of putting more Stingers out into the world today.
Read more here.