Foxnews: 190,000 rifles missing


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tydephan
August 6, 2007, 08:42 AM
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,292201,00.html

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fletcher
August 6, 2007, 08:47 AM
It's typically good to include the story also.

Cannonball888
August 6, 2007, 08:51 AM
^What story? It's just unrelated news.

tydephan
August 6, 2007, 08:55 AM
The full story.

Weapons Given to Iraq Are Missing
GAO Estimates 30% of Arms Are Unaccounted For

By Glenn Kessler
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, August 6, 2007; Page A01

The Pentagon has lost track of about 190,000 AK-47 assault rifles and pistols given to Iraqi security forces in 2004 and 2005, according to a new government report, raising fears that some of those weapons have fallen into the hands of insurgents fighting U.S. forces in Iraq.

The author of the report from the Government Accountability Office says U.S. military officials do not know what happened to 30 percent of the weapons the United States distributed to Iraqi forces from 2004 through early this year as part of an effort to train and equip the troops. The highest previous estimate of unaccounted-for weapons was 14,000, in a report issued last year by the inspector general for Iraq reconstruction.

The United States has spent $19.2 billion trying to develop Iraqi security forces since 2003, the GAO said, including at least $2.8 billion to buy and deliver equipment. But the GAO said weapons distribution was haphazard and rushed and failed to follow established procedures, particularly from 2004 to 2005, when security training was led by Gen. David H. Petraeus, who now commands all U.S. forces in Iraq.

The Pentagon did not dispute the GAO findings, saying it has launched its own investigation and indicating it is working to improve tracking. Although controls have been tightened since 2005, the inability of the United States to track weapons with tools such as serial numbers makes it nearly impossible for the U.S. military to know whether it is battling an enemy equipped by American taxpayers.

"They really have no idea where they are," said Rachel Stohl, a senior analyst at the Center for Defense Information who has studied small-arms trade and received Pentagon briefings on the issue. "It likely means that the United States is unintentionally providing weapons to bad actors."

One senior Pentagon official acknowledged that some of the weapons probably are being used against U.S. forces. He cited the Iraqi brigade created at Fallujah that quickly dissolved in September 2004 and turned its weapons against the Americans.

Stohl said insurgents frequently use small-arms fire to force military convoys to move in a particular direction -- often toward roadside bombs. She noted that the Bush administration frequently complains that Iran and Syria are supplying insurgents but has paid little attention to whether U.S. military errors inadvertently play a role. "We know there is seepage and very little is being done to address the problem," she said.

Stohl noted that U.S. forces, focused on a fruitless search for weapons of mass destruction after Baghdad fell, did not secure massive weapons caches. The failure to track small arms given to Iraqi forces repeats that pattern of neglect, she added.

The GAO is studying the financing and weapons sources of insurgent groups, but that report will not be made public. "All of that information is classified," said Joseph A. Christoff, the GAO's director of international affairs and trade.

In an unusual move, the train-and-equip program for Iraqi forces is being managed by the Pentagon. Normally, the traditional security assistance programs are operated by the State Department, the GAO reported. The Defense Department said this change permitted greater flexibility, but as of last month it was unable to tell the GAO what accountability procedures, if any, apply to arms distributed to Iraqi forces, the report said.

Iraqi security forces were virtually nonexistent in early 2004, and in June of that year Petraeus was brought in to build them up. No central record of distributed equipment was kept for a year and a half, until December 2005, and even now the records are on a spreadsheet that requires three computer screens lined up side by side to view a single row, Christoff said.

The GAO found that the military was consistently unable to collect supporting documents to "confirm when the equipment was received, the quantities of equipment delivered, and the Iraqi units receiving the equipment." The agency also said there were "numerous mistakes due to incorrect manual entries" in the records that were maintained.

The GAO reached the estimate of 190,000 missing arms -- 110,000 AK-47s and 80,000 pistols -- by comparing the property records of the Multi-National Security Transition Command for Iraq against records Petraeus maintained of the arms and equipment he had ordered. Petraeus's figures were compared with classified data and other records to ensure that they were accurate enough to compare against the property books.

In all cases, the gaps between the two records were enormous. Petraeus reported that about 185,000 AK-47 rifles, 170,000 pistols, 215,000 pieces of body armor and 140,000 helmets were issued to Iraqi security forces from June 2004 through September 2005. But the property books contained records for 75,000 AK-47 rifles, 90,000 pistols, 80,000 pieces of body armor and 25,000 helmets.

A military commander involved in the program at the time, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the report, acknowledged in an e-mail, "We did issue some items, including weapons, body armor, etc. to new Iraqi units that were literally going into battle."

But, the commander argued, "there was, frankly, not much of a choice early on: We had very little staff and could have held the weapons until every piece of the logistical and property accountability system was in place, or we could issue them, in bulk on some occasions, to the U.S. elements supporting Iraqi units who were needed in the battles of Najaf, Fallujah, Mosul, Samarra, etc."

The GAO plans to look for similar problems in the training of Afghan security forces.

During the Bosnian conflict, the United States provided about $100 million in defense equipment to the Bosnian Federation Army, and the GAO found no problems in accounting for those weapons.

Much of the equipment provided to Iraqi troops, including the AK-47s, originates from countries in the former Soviet bloc. In a report last year, Amnesty International said that in 2004 and 2005 more than 350,000 AK-47 rifles and similar weapons were taken out of Bosnia and Serbia, for use in Iraq, by private contractors working for the Pentagon and with the approval of NATO and European security forces in Bosnia.

El Tejon
August 6, 2007, 08:56 AM
The government wants to control my weapons, but it cannot even account for its own!:neener:

So much for gun control if the federal government fails so miserably at it.:cool:

scubie02
August 6, 2007, 09:12 AM
like there aren't ten gabillion other Ak's floating around there anyway...or they woudln't just get them from over the border. Not a big surprise that someone might show up and say "I want to be a cop" then just disappear when issued a weapon, and they'd be hard to track down once gone.

ozwyn
August 6, 2007, 09:22 AM
Not to be overly grumpy, but the government needs to give out 350,000 firearms to US private citizens if it intends to give rifles to foreign powers.

tydephan
August 6, 2007, 09:26 AM
Our government makes it nearly impossible for us to buy "assault" rifles, yet gives them away to others...

SSN Vet
August 6, 2007, 11:26 AM
Government Accountability Office .... what a joke! Outside of the military, no one in the government ever seems to lose their job over such blunders.

So much for trying to work with the Shiite government in Iraq. They were totally corrupt from the start and funneled every bit of support they could to the Mahdi army and other Shiite militias. Our chosen "friends" have likely killed as many or more of our troops than the Al Quida types.

230RN
August 6, 2007, 11:31 AM
I want my money back.

JP from Phoenix
August 6, 2007, 11:48 AM
Not to be overly grumpy, but the government needs to give out 350,000 firearms to US private citizens if it intends to give rifles to foreign powers

a big co sign on that one

SaMx
August 6, 2007, 12:03 PM
they're at my house :evil:

n-not really mr. government guy :uhoh:

BigG
August 6, 2007, 12:05 PM
When they "give" them - why do they have to keep track of them? Story doesn't make sense to me.

mpmillen
August 6, 2007, 12:40 PM
How is this dispersion of small arms different than dropping small arms into Europe during WW2?

Arming the general populace in the course of ridding a foreign society of tyrants and thugs is straight out of the U.S. gov manual.

The expectation that the U.S. gov would have these "accounted for" like it is the San Francisco bay area and they are keeping track of duck hunting shotguns seems unrealistic (and in any event futile).

Following this story on the ground in Iraq, by sampling AK-47 serial numbers (and for the other "missing equipment") would probably lead to a very interesting and instructive conclusion.

Mark

tnieto2004
August 6, 2007, 12:42 PM
The government wants to control my weapons, but it cannot even account for its own!


Exactly what I was gonna say

jpk1md
August 6, 2007, 01:10 PM
Thats a pretty significant "Oops"......

Prince Yamato
August 6, 2007, 01:11 PM
Maybe Century bought them to assemble into "sporting rifles"?

Zoogster
August 6, 2007, 01:35 PM
No big deal. They gave them to Iraq. What Iraq does with them is Iraq's responsibility. I don't know why our government would think it is entitled to keep track of a gift to begin with.

If I give you a gun, then where you keep that gun and what you do with it is not and should not be subject to my review. Now if I "loan" you something that is different. Why is anything different on a national level?

If I did not want you to have it, I could have not given it to you. If I don't like what you do with it, I can not give you any in the future. It is like when you give someone a gift, and they return it or sell it. You may not approve or like that decision, but the item is no longer yours to make decisions about.

elrod
August 6, 2007, 02:34 PM
It's only the American taxpayers money!!!!:what: I would like to know how many of our soldiers have come home in body bags killed by guns purchased by our government. And they want our guns!!!!!:cuss::cuss::cuss::cuss:

whitetiger7654
August 6, 2007, 02:56 PM
How is this dispersion of small arms different than dropping small arms into Europe during WW2?

Arming the general populace in the course of ridding a foreign society of tyrants and thugs is straight out of the U.S. gov manual.

Now I ask you who will be dispensing out guns to us if we ever need them to fight our government?

El Tejon
August 6, 2007, 03:16 PM
You mean from places other than my basement?:D

alucard0822
August 6, 2007, 04:36 PM
As Proud and law abiding patriots, I am sure we would be happy to safeguard some of those AKs, and even safely dispose of all their surplus ammo, to make sure it doesn't fall into the wrong hands. After all we bought it in the first place.

Bazooka Joe71
August 6, 2007, 04:48 PM
The government wants to control my weapons, but it cannot even account for its own!

Funny how that works eh?


Do as I say, not as I do.

Carl N. Brown
August 6, 2007, 05:07 PM
While rifles and pistols are items that a Western army would probably
make a point of keeping track of, records that the GAO wants kept
and records that an army keeps in a combat zone could be two
different things. I'll bet they can't account for the distribution of
boots and canteens.

TexasRifleman
August 6, 2007, 05:09 PM
This is news?

That number is probably well under 1% of weapons given.

I bet our own military loses more a year than that.

hqmhqm
August 6, 2007, 05:14 PM
So we're providing hundreds of thousands of weapons to Shiite fundamentalist islamic militias. What's the worst that could happen. We armed Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan, and he's hardly bothered us since then.

alan
August 6, 2007, 05:17 PM
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette carried a page 1 story about this today. The following is a copy of my Letter To The Editor, which likely will NOT be printed, that's life.

Editor:

Interesting, and unknown by this reader, are the number of REAL AK-47's, not the pale, overpriced imitations available to Law Abiding Americans in their own country. By the way, it is the above mentioned who are paying for these "lost" small arms.

Re other aspects of this problem and possible solutions thereto, consider the following. How about sending Sarah Brady and her acolytes, co-religionists, or fellow travelers, people who are big on GUN CONTROL over to Iraq. They might come up with an idea or two, who knows. How much worse might they do than is being done by those already there? That might be something to think about.

jobu07
August 6, 2007, 05:21 PM
When they "give" them - why do they have to keep track of them? Story doesn't make sense to me.

x2 My sentiments exactly.

ConfuseUs
August 6, 2007, 05:26 PM
I want my money back.


I do too but I'll settle for a select-fire AK in lieu of a check from Uncle Sam that I can use to buy a semi AK.

OTOH, AKs are so widespread in the region that the only value they have to insurgents is ironic value.

phaed
August 6, 2007, 05:34 PM
this is nothing. the United States has provided iraq with every drop of gasoline, every drop of water, ever morsel of food, every weapon, and every cent of money they use since the war began. they are producing absolutely nothing on their own. this comes out of mine and your pockets, and we get absolutely nothing in return, not even in the way of progress or stability.

CZ-100
August 6, 2007, 05:39 PM
Our govt at its Best...

230RN
August 6, 2007, 05:54 PM
Makes me wonder if the UN is paying attention to this in terms of their "trade in illicit small arms" campaign.

Autolycus
August 6, 2007, 06:17 PM
Well lets thank Bush and company for getting us into this mess in the first place.

I see this just like WW II. We are arming our allies right and giving them to Iraq so lets let them worry about it.

1911Tuner
August 6, 2007, 06:38 PM
Whoa! Somebody's gonna make a killin' at the upcomin' Baghdad Gun Buyback...:scrutiny:

Shear_stress
August 6, 2007, 06:58 PM
When they "give" them - why do they have to keep track of them? Story doesn't make sense to me.


I'm not sure I understand the question. When you are trying to maintain order in a country that's teetering on the border of anarchy, don't you think it might be worth your while to make sure they that when you do something like, I don't know, introduce a few hundred thousand brand-new full-auto weapons into that environment, you might have a slight interest in keeping tabs on them?

Arming the general populace in the course of ridding a foreign society of tyrants and thugs is straight out of the U.S. gov manual.

Nice sentiment, but the guns didn't go to Mr. and Mrs. Iraqi Citizen. They were handed out to a mostly corrupt police force that more than likely funneled the guns straight to the insurgency.

Mokothar
August 6, 2007, 07:06 PM
So next time they tell you they want to keep guns out of the wrong hands ...

:rolleyes:

Henry Bowman
August 6, 2007, 09:10 PM
Don't worry. Most of them are at my house.

LeonCarr
August 6, 2007, 09:17 PM
I can't believe that people are actually surprised that the AKs are turning up missing after giving them to the corrupt wishy washy Iraqis.

One word...DUH!

Just my .02,
LeonCarr

Coronach
August 6, 2007, 09:51 PM
Ostensibly on-topic, but only ostensibly. ;)

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