How could it happen? How could 190,000 AK-47 assault rifles and pistols given to Iraqi security forces in 2004 and 2005 disappear? The Government Accountability Office says U.S. military officials do not know what happened to 30 percent of the weapons. There is speculation that many fell into the hands of our enemies.
That is unacceptable. The U.S. has spent $19.2 billion trying to develop Iraqi security forces since 2003, including at least $2.8 billion to buy and distribute equipment. But the GAO says weapons distribution was haphazard and rushed and failed to follow established procedures, particularly in 2004 and 2005.
The Pentagon did not dispute the findings, saying it has begun its own investigation. And said it is working to improve tracking. We hear this sort of thing all the time. No one takes responsibility and the taxpayers never get a rebate.
By contrast, during the conflict in Bosnia, the U.S. provided $100 million in defense equipment to the Bosnian Federation Army and the GAO found no problem in accounting for those weapons. And that was during the Clinton administration. Read all about this report at washingtonpost.com.
Cal Thomas is a nationally syndicated columnist based in Washington, D.C.