Losing the War by Handing Out Free Guns

Someday, I want someone to explain to me how electing a brain-dead president resulted in the entire federal government becoming incompetent mental midgets.

US loses track of weapons in Iraq
By David Morgan in Washington
August 06, 2007 02:53pm

THE Pentagon cannot account for 190,000 AK-47 rifles and pistols given to Iraqi security forces in 2004 and 2005 – about half the weapons earmarked for soldiers and police.

The Government Accountability Office(GAO), the investigative arm of the US Congress, said in a July 31 report to lawmakers that the Defence Department also could not account for 135,000 items of body armour and 115,000 helmets reported to be issued to Iraqi forces as of September 22, 2005.

The GAO said the Pentagon concurred with its findings and had begun a review to ensure full accountability for the program to train and equip Iraqi forces.

“However, our review of the 2007 property books found continuing problems with missing and incomplete records,” the GAO report said.

The report raised concerns that weapons provided by the United States could be falling into the hands of Iraqi insurgents, just as politicians and policymakers in Washington await a September report on the success of US President George W. Bush’s surge strategy for stabilising Baghdad.

One senior Pentagon official told The Washington Post some weapons probably were being used against US troops. He said an Iraqi brigade created in Fallujah disintegrated in 2004 and began fighting American soldiers.

Many in Washington view the development of effective Iraqi army and police forces as a vital step toward reducing the number of US troops in Iraq.

Since 2003, the United States has provided about $US19.2 billion ($22.55bn) to develop Iraqi security forces, the GAO said. The Defence Department has recently asked for another $US2bn ($2.35bn) to continue the train-and-equip program.

Congress funded the program for Iraqi security forces outside traditional security assistance programs, providing the Pentagon with a large degree of flexibility in managing the effort, the GAO said.

“Officials stated that since the funding did not go through traditional security assistance programs, the DOD accountability requirements normally applicable to these programs did not apply,” the GAO report said.

Military officials in Iraq reported issuing 355,000 weapons to Iraqi security forces from June 2004 through September 2005, including 185,000 rifles and 170,000 pistols, the GAO said.

But the Defence Department could not account for 110,000 rifles and 80,000 pistols, the GAO said. Those sums amount to about 54 per cent of the total weapons distributed to the Iraqi forces.

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