In a new analysis report by Action on Armed Violence (AOAV), a UK-based watchdog group, the Pentagon has been unable to account for over half a million guns that were shipped to Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11/ 2001.
Over 1.4 million weapons were shipped to Iraq and Afghanistan since the attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon more than a decade ago.
The report was released on Wednesday and documented the Defense Departments contracts. However, when the DoD was questioned about accounting for the weapons that were shipped to the two countries, the reports states, “the DoD data shows that over 700,000 small arms were sent from the U.S. to Iraq and Afghanistan within these periods. However, this amount only accounts for 48 percent of the total small arms supplied by the U.S. government that can be found in open source government reports.”
“This failure shows the lack of accountability, transparency and joined up data that exists at the very heart of the U.S. government’s weapon procurement and distribution systems,” AOAV wrote in their report.
Additionally AOAV stated, that their research “found many discrepancies between the contracts published on the DoD’s website and those found on the Federal Procurement Database System.”
If that was not bad enough, the report also noted that it is likely that more weapons than the Pentagon is willing to cite were actually shipped due to the fact that the Pentagon either kept bad records of the numbers of weapons they shipped or kept very little records of their shipments.
C.J. Chivers wrote in the New York Times Magazine, “Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the United States has handed out a vast but persistently uncountable quantity of military firearms to its many battlefield partners in Afghanistan and Iraq. Today the Pentagon has only a partial idea of how many weapons it issued, much less where these weapons are. Meanwhile, the effectively bottomless abundance of black-market weapons from American sources is one reason Iraq will not recover from its post-invasion woes anytime soon.”
Chivers then went on to side with AOAV’s assessment and wrote:
All together, the sheer size of the expenditures, the sustained confusion about totals and the multiple pressures eroding the stock combine to create a portrait of the Pentagon’s bungling the already-awkward role it chose for itself—that of state-building arms dealer, a role that routinely led to missions in clear opposition to each other. While fighting two rapidly evolving wars, the American military tried to create and bolster new democracies, governments and political classes; recruit, train and equip security and intelligence forces on short schedule and at outsize scale; repair and secure transportation infrastructure; encourage the spread or restoration of the legal industry and public services; and leave behind something more palatable and sturdy than rule by thugs.
Any one of these efforts would be difficult on its own. But the United States was trying all these things at once while buying and flying into both countries a prodigious quantity of light military weapons and handing them out to local people and outfits it barely knew. The recipients were often manifestly corrupt and sometimes had close ties to the same militias and insurgents who were trying to drive out the United States and make sure its entire nation-building project did not stand. It should not have been a surprise that American units in disaffected provinces and neighborhoods, and their partners, could encounter gunfire at every turn.
Chivers then added, “No one knows where many of the weapons are, until they turn up on social media or announce themselves in combat or crime with the crack of incoming fire, a reminder of tens of billions of dollars gone into nations where violence and terrorism continue apace.”
So, what are we to do about this? Again, if Congress would have acted lawfully, they would never have allowed troops to be sent into war without a constitutional declaration of war, something that has not taken place since World War II. Additionally, if they would have impeached the usurper-in-chief with his first violation of the Constitution, this may not have occurred either.
Nevertheless, Chivers believes there will be more gun running that will take place in the future.
“If past is precedent, given enough time one of the United States’ solutions will be, once again, to ship in more guns,” he concluded.
Operation Fast and Furious was about running guns to Mexican drug cartels. The overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya was multi-faceted, including an imposition of a central banking system, but it was to run guns to jihadis through Benghazi.