Calling Hans Blix: Searching for Weapons in Iraq

August 06, 2007 by susan
school boys firing AK-47's

Susan writes:
It's the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, so what better day to learn that the Pentagon can't account for at least 30% of the weapons sent to Iraqi security forces over the last three years. According to the BBC, the GAO reports that 110,000 AK-47's, 80,000 pistols, 135,000 pieces of body armor and 115,000 helmets are lost and may have fallen into the hands of the insurgents. No way!

About $19.2 billion has been spent since 2003 on Iraqi security forces. The GAO, calling it a "collapse in accountability", says that at least $2.8 billion of this was used to buy and deliver weapons and other equipment.

Even better, the GAO says the weapons distribution was "haphazard, rushed and failed to follow established procedures," particularly from 2004 to 2005, which was when Gen. David Petraeus was in charge of security training. Yep, Gen. Betrayus, who'll be telling us in September how well everything's going. The only guy the Decider will listen to. More.

I suppose it could be worse. According to the BBC, "At the end of July, the US Defence Department admitted that the US-led coalition in Iraq had failed to deliver nearly two-thirds of the equipment it promised to Iraq's army. The Pentagon said only 14.5 million of the nearly 40 million items of equipment ordered by the Iraqi army had been provided."

Help me with the math. If we're losing about a third of what we ship, better to have lost only one-third of 14.5 million "items of equipment" than one-third of 40 million items. Or, in cash, one-third of $2.8 billion, or about $933 million. Right?

Why does this add to the wheelbarrow of despair we're all carting around these days? Oh, I don't know, could have something to do with spending billions of scarce dollars on arming insurgents in Iraq while saving money on bridges -- and all else that keeps us safe, smart and healthy -- back home.

More math. Chimpy has promised us $225 million for a new I-35 bridge. In the last three years, we've lost about four times that much in Iraq on missing weapons alone.

Accountability isn't the only thing collapsing in America.

The bridge giving way beneath us is a perfect metaphor for how it's felt to be a sentient American under George Bush. The country we once knew and took for granted has crumbled and dropped out from under us. For awhile we rode it down, then one by one we hit the concrete or the swirling river.

Recovery efforts are expected to take a long time.

Posted in


paul miller (not verified) | August 6, 2007 - 2:16pm

let's expand bush's authority to lose more weapons


perhansa (not verified) | August 6, 2007 - 9:49pm

And we're criticizing the Iraqi government for incompetence?


Poet (not verified) | August 6, 2007 - 10:27pm

And we're criticizing the Iranians for causing instability in the Mideast?


perhansa (not verified) | August 7, 2007 - 9:41am

Other than the Pocket-Gopher-in-Chief's frequent assertion that "Saddam is no longer in power and a threat to the world" have we done anything right in this fiasco? When is the military going to hold a press conference to showcase the complicity between US missing weapons and insurgent attacks on US soldiers (ala Iran)? Guess we won't be seeing that any time soon.

And, it's now confirmed, we do/did torture.


B (not verified) | August 7, 2007 - 10:25am

Interesting how money comes immediately to re-build a bridge, while our schools crumble and have overcrowded classrooms.
Our children are our future bridge builders, literally and figuratively.


susan | August 7, 2007 - 3:16pm

And the lead NYTimes story, which I just got to on-line, tells me that Gov. Twinky has had a change of heart about raising the state's gas tax to pay for transportation needs. What was he going to do, look at the rubble and the corpses trapped beneath and reaffirm his pledge to the Taxpayer's League?
We need A.) a massive turnover in Washington (I know, never start your argument stating the obvious) and B.) a Marshall plan to restore our crumbling country, from sea to shining sea. Or C.) learn to live in a rust-belt 3rd rate nation.

Before the Soviet Union came unhinged, their infrastructure was infamously crumbling. Any alarm bells going off yet?