In the war on terror, one would think that every little bit helps. That is the case, unless an item is stamped "Made In Israel." It is no secret that Iraqis don't want any Israelis in Iraq, especially members of the Israel Defense Forces, but just how far does that extend in a global economy where almost every manufacturing process is interconnected?

The Arabs are not especially fond of Israelis, or Jews for that matter, as exemplified by the beheadings of Daniel Pearl and Nick Berg, both of whom were Jews.

During the Gulf War, Jewish US soldiers were issued new ID cards removing the designation of Judaism as their religion. Sure, some may say it would be better to not list the Jewish soldiers' religion on the ID cards when going into areas hostile to Jews, but that should have been the soldier's choice, not a mandate. Just being an American in Iraq is being in a hostile place, so specifically deleting the Jewish religion from ID cards is not protecting the soldier, rather insulting the soldier. Not listing the religion could be beneficial if the Jewish soldier would have been taken prisoner by the Iraqi enemy, but why deny these soldiers their right to be identified as who they are if they so wanted? Jewish soldiers were not going to be singled out or removed from their units, as that would have destroyed unit cohesiveness, but the Pentagon, for good or for bad, did choose to remove the Jewish soldiers' religious designation from their ID tags. These were not Israeli soldiers. These were US soldiers. They were American soldiers who happen to be Jewish. Why did the Pentagon discriminate against Jews being able to identify themselves as they wished?

Perhaps the US was trying to protect these soldiers beyond the call of duty. Perhaps the Pentagon did not want to offend Arabs or the Saudi family by openly having Jews protect Mecca and Medina, Islam?s holiest sites. Perhaps the Jewish soldiers needed the protection offered by not having their religion listed on their ID cards. Perhaps the Pentagon went a little too far trying to do the right thing and ended up denying soldiers their pride in their religion.

One thing is for certain though: it was done because of the levels of hatred in the Arab world toward Jews in general, not just Israelis or Israeli products.

In the meantime, the US is very adamant that the Arab boycott of Israel does not permeate the US, because such a boycott against a friendly nation would harm an ally and create de facto foreign policy. As recently as March 13, 2003, a letter was sent to President Bush signed by 33 members of Congress expressing concern and urging President Bush to take a strong stand in support of US anti-boycott laws.

With all that said, why do two Congressmen, Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-HI) and Rep. Curt Weldon (D-PA) want the US to segregate bullets? Sounds funny? Don't laugh - it's happening. As if the Pentagon had nothing better to do, the ammunition soldiers use in the war against terrorism may not be made in Israel, lest we Americans insult the people we are shooting at.

Currently, the US army has two contracts to supply the type of ammunition used in the M16 rifle, one with Israel Military Industries Ltd., and the other with Winchester Ammunition. These two companies are best equipped to supply the army with the needed ammunition, but neither can do it all alone. Both contracts are of equal value, $70 million each, and both companies supply high-quality products. Competitive marksmen use match-grade ammunition made by both companies, which is a testament to their manufacturing quality.

It is a good idea for the army to have two sources, in case one source is suddenly unable to deliver its products due to labor strife, natural disasters or other reasons. That is not the issue. The issue is that Israeli bullets may be boycotted while we fight terror in Iraq, despite the fact that Israel has been fighting terror since long before the country was born in 1948. Many of the techniques we employ in fighting terrorism came from what we learned from Israel.

I recently attended a lecture by an Israeli surgeon who teaches emergency medical procedures as related to terrorist bombings. I would have never thought that would be a specialty, but it is. Israeli doctors have learned a great deal from treating victims of bomb blasts, and they are passing that knowledge on to doctors and other emergency medical professionals, including US military doctors, to help better treat patients and improve recovery times and prospects. So, in essence, some Congressmen are suggesting that the one nation that has led the fight against terrorism, including saving the lives of US soldiers, should be boycotted when it comes to using their military products to fight terrorism - because being shot with Israeli bullets may offend the terrorists we are shooting at.

Sure, you can say that more than the terrorists may be offended if Israeli products, especially bullets, are used, but why would someone who is against terrorists be offended that terrorists are being shot with Israeli bullets? The answer is that in the Arab world, the hatred of Jews and Israel far outweighs the hatred of the terrorists, who may in fact be living in the same communities of those we were in Iraq to liberate. Further, there may be more compassion for terrorists, would-be terrorists and their supporters than for Israelis, with whom we are more closely allied than we are with the Iraqi people.

USA, the beacon of freedom and civil rights, where some in Congress are suggesting that we should discriminate against Israeli bullets in the war on terror, and that Israeli bullets may be used for practice and training, but not for real defense. Am I the only person seeing the irony in all this? This would be like training pilots to fly one airplane and then only letting them fly a different aircraft when passengers are on board. Ask any sharpshooter or sniper - they will tell you there is a difference in bullets from one manufacturer to another, but it is also true that the average soldier may not notice the difference, depending on his shooting skills.

Let's face some facts. The US army needs more than one supplier for everything, and the army can't just suddenly change suppliers for bullets, even if it wanted to. Suddenly, some Congressmen are trying to run a politically correct war, something that was tried in Vietnam with horrific consequences.

If we do not stand up for what we believe in, how can we ask Iraqis to adopt our democratic ideals? No, Iraq won't suddenly tolerate Jews because the US army is in town, but at the same time, we should not bend our principals to accommodate discrimination, especially our own discrimination, regardless of where it takes place.