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Monday, 30 October 2006 06:03

More Iraq Waste Costing More Lives and Money: Now Bush Can't Even Find Our Own Weapons!

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A government investigation found that thousands of weapons intended for Iraqi security forces have gone missing, The New York Times reported today.

What is it about Iraq that makes weapons so hard to find? Of course, unlike the WMDs, the small arms discussed in the report that we provided are actually there somewhere, albeit now most likely in the hands of the bad guys.

The study investigated 19 contracts for more than 370,000 weapons -- from pistols to RPGs -- totaling about $133 million. As we all know by now, the best way to track government waste these days is to follow the money, and it turns out that a whopping two-thirds of the expenditures came from just two contracts, both of which are suspicious:

  • Kiesler Police Supply Inc. - CEO, Douglas Kiesler, contributed thousands of dollars to Republicans (including Bush-Cheney '04). Kiesler has actually been sued for knowingly allowing its firearms to be diverted to criminals here in America.
  • Taos Industries Inc. - Cited by Amnesty International for reselling weapons from countries of the former Soviet Union in shady exchanges. Just last March, The Guardian reported that thousands of semi-automatic pistols supplied by Taos under a U.S. contract ended up going to insurgents.

The government report found that all 751 assault rifles the U.S. purchased for Iraqi forces are missing, along with 13,180 pistols (7%) and 99 MP-5 machine guns (19%). Only about 2.7% of all contracted weapons were registered in the DoD Serialization Program, making them nearly impossible to account for now. Meanwhile, nearly 15% of Iraqi Security Forces personnel have yet to be issued a weapon, meaning that Iraqi policemen often have to share rifles in combat.

As if the lack of arms was not bad enough, the report also found that Iraqis are unable to maintain the guns they do have. None of the government contracts required companies to provide repair manuals with their shipments. Of Iraqi forces surveyed, just one had any form of documentation: "a user's manual, written in Kurdish, for the Glock pistol that did not include technical repair information."

Once again, a lack of oversight by the Bush Administration is costing lives and vast amounts of money. If political dissent is "emboldening and enabling terrorists," what do they call it when you provide them with thousands of weapons to attack Coalition and Iraqi soldiers? Then again, this war was always about money and power, not lives.