(SEATTLE, WA) — The release of a Government Accountability Office report showing that the Department of Defense cannot account for more than 190,000 AK-47 rifles and pistols given to the Iraqi security forces in 2004 and 2005 is another in a long list of signs pointing toward the need for accountability and a new direction in Iraq. With the security situation deteriorating and billions of dollars being poured into the war, the time for change is now.
Senator Patty Murray, a member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, said:
“This troubling report is yet another example of how the Bush Administration has mismanaged the war in Iraq. We’re spending more than $10 billion a month in Iraq, but far too often this money isn’t helping to solve the many problems facing our troops and the Iraqi people. In case after case after case, money is being wasted or lost, and no one is being held accountable.
“But there is an even more troubling suggestion in this report than waste of money and supplies. The thought that weapons American taxpayers purchased could now be in the hands of those attacking our troops is unconscionable.
“Hopefully our Republican colleagues will listen to their constituents this month, read this report and finally stop blindly following the President’s misguided policy in Iraq when they return to Washington, DC next month. We need a new direction in Iraq. Our troops, their families and every American deserve better than this.”
BUSH ADMINISTRATION FAILURES HAVE PUT OUR TROOPS IN HARM’S WAY
According to news reports today, the Defense Department is unable to account for roughly 190,000 rifles and pistols given to Iraqi security forces. These reports are only the latest in a series of failures by the Bush Administration to adequately keep weapons out of the hands of insurgents.
- According to a Recent General Accountability Office Report, 30 Percent of the Weapons Given to Iraqi Security Forces Since 2004 Are Unaccounted For. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report claiming military officials do not know what happened to 30 percent of the weapons the US military distributed to Iraqi forces from 2004 through the early part of this year as part of an effort to train and equip troops. The report specifically found that the Department of Defense lost track of 190,000 AK-47 assault rifles and pistols given to Iraqi security forces in 2004 and 2005. It is possible the weapons could be used against American troops. [Washington Post, 8/6/07; GAO Report 07-711]
- GAO Report Found that the Department of Defense Does Not Have a Centralized System for Tracking Equipment Going to Iraqi Forces. Neither the Pentagon nor the Multinational Force-Iraq can fully account for receipt of U.S. equipment by Iraqi security forces because of a failure to maintain a centralized recordkeeping system. They also failed to consistently collect records on when equipment was received, how much was delivered and which Iraqi unit was receiving what pieces of equipment. According to Defense officials the program used to pay for this equipment, the Iraq Train-and-Equip Program, did not go through traditional training and assistance program procedures. As such, the funds used to procure the equipment were not subject to DOD accountability regulations. [GAO Report 07-711]
- In March, the GAO Faulted the Defense Department for Not Securing Iraq’s Munitions Facilities. According to the General Accounting Office, insufficient troop levels in Iraq left thousands and possibly millions of tons of conventional munitions unsecured or in the hands of insurgent groups after the 2003 invasion. Leaving them unsecured allowed widespread looting of weapons and explosives used to make roadside bombs that cause the bulk of U.S. casualties. [Washington Post, 3/23/07; GAO Report 07-639T]
- An October 2006 Report Found the Military Could Not Account For Thousands of Weapons Issued to Iraqi Forces. According to a report issued by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, 13,180 semiautomatic pistols were unaccounted for. In addition, the report also found that U.S. officials in Iraq could not account for 751 M1F assault rifles and 99 MP5 machine guns. Most of the weapons were purchased with U.S. government money through the Iraq Relief and Reconstruction Fund as part of a plan to equip Iraqi security forces. [Army Times, 11/13/06]