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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Pentagon loses track of weapons given to Iraqi security forces

It has come to light that the American Defense Department has (oops!) lost track of some weapons that they gave to the Iraqi security forces. How many?
  • 110,000 rifles
  • 80,000 pistols
  • 135,000 items of body armour
  • 115,000 helmets
This is over 50% of the weapons provided to Iraqi security forces.

CNN has the story at the following link:


or http://tinyurl.com/3xcpzc if you prefer.

The story is copyright Reuters.

Let's put aside the cost of the war to the US so far (USD$450,000,000,000 as per http://www.nationalpriorities.org/Cost-of-War/Cost-of-War-3.html ). Let's also put to one side the argument that "it's a war! what do you expect?". We'll also ignore the fact that these armaments are being used against US and Allied troops as well as Iraqi civilians. Finally we'll gloss over the arming of "terrorists!!!" by the US government.

What interests me is the government reaction and excuses for this stuff up. I'll quote from the CNN article:

"The GAO said the Pentagon concurred with its findings and has begun a review"

"The Defense Department has recently asked for another $2 billion 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."

""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."

"The GAO quoted officials as saying the agency responsible for handling weapons distribution was too short-staffed to record information on individual items given to Iraqi forces."

"Accountability procedures also could not be fully implemented because of the need to equip Iraqi forces rapidly for combat operations, the GAO found."

Their answers and excuses boil down to the following:
  • We'll do a review (yes, another one).
  • We need more money.
  • We didn't do it the usual way so we couldn't follow the usual rules.
  • We didn't have enough people.
  • We didn't have enough time.
Are these guys still in Kindergarten? These are "the dog ate my homework" style excuses. If they weren't wasting billions of dollars and causing tens of thousands of deaths it would be slightly humorous.

Think about what's expected from you in your job and ask yourself what would happen if you made a mistake and gave one of the excuses made by the Pentagon?