OCTOBER 30, 2006
Thousands of sophisticated weapons earmarked for Iraqi security forces are missing from the U.S. Department of Defense and government officials say it is unlikely that they will be recovered.
The Pentagon cannot account for 14,030 weapons that include assault rifles, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and semiautomatic pistols that could easily be used by terrorists to attack civilians in the United States.
The appalling details of this government negligence are outlined in a special 30-page report published over the weekend by the Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction. The audit was requested by a lawmaker who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Semiautomatic pistols account for most of the missing equipment, followed by assault rifles and machine guns. It will be virtually impossible to track them down since the Defense Department registered the serial numbers of only 3% of the weapons earmarked for Iraq and much of the missing equipment was never even recorded.
The Iraq weapons program was created to help the Iraqi government provide national security and public order by arming its security forces. The Pentagon spent $133 million on the weapons because defense officials insisted only new equipment could be used. Now it is unknown who will actually utilize these weapons since those in charge of distributing them could not responsibly fulfill their mission. Imagine the irony of a U.S. taxpayer-funded weapon used to harm or murder U.S. citizens.
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