A new damning report by the Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) has revealed that the United States Defense headquarters, under the mandate of the Department of Defense (DoD), lost over 700,000 guns it shipped to Iraq and Afghanistan after the September 11 attack.
AOAV is a United Kingdom-based watchdog organization; its core mission to reduce harm and to rebuild lives affected by armed violence. The organization carries out research and advocacy work to reduce the incidence and impact of global armed violence. It estimates that over half a million people are killed each year, through armed violence.
AOAV said the United States government has shipped over 1.4 million guns to the fragile governments of Iraq and Afghanistan, since 9/11. The report, published on August 24, 2016, specifically revealed the United States government sending 1,452,910 small arms to Iraq and Afghanistan. 949,582 were sent to Iraq, while 503,328 were sent to Afghanistan after September 11, 2001.
Out of this figure, the Pentagon is only able to account for fewer than half of it. AOAV stated that its arrival at this figure came after analyzing a wide range of open source data reports, which are widely available to the public.
According to AOAV, when it finished compiling its report, it requested the DoD for information on how many weapons have been sent to the two war-torn nations, and how many are uncounted for, since September 11, 2001.
AOAV revealed the DoD sent it two charts, claiming this accounted for all the small arms sent to Afghanistan between 2004 and June 2016, and 2005 to June 2016 for Iraq. The DoD data showed that over 700,000 small arms were sent from the United States to Iraq and Afghanistan within these periods.
However, even by the DoD’s own figure, only 48% of the total small arms supplied by the United States government can be found in open source government reports – meaning the remaining 52% is unaccounted for. The DoD has no idea where the weapons have vanished to.
The AOAV noted that the total number of weapons provided by the United States to Iraq and Afghanistan, is far higher than what the DoD made available. The Pentagon is said to be very poor in keeping records. In April 2016, we reported how the Inspector General of the DoD found that the Pentagon cannot account for $223 million in orders placed in the current international military operation against the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, due to poor record keeping.
In August 2016 again, another report by the Inspector General revealed that the Pentagon cannot account for a whopping $6.5 trillion allocated by Congress, to help protect the country. The report said the Pentagon failed to properly account for the transactions and data on monies allocated to the DoD for part of the country’s defense budget, over several years. According to the report, records of the monies are missing. These are the two classical examples of why the public cannot trust any data from both the Pentagon and DoD.
After pointing out the discrepancy in the figures, the AOAV blamed United States officials for not putting the DoD under check, allowing for all kinds of fraud at the country’s defense headquarters.
“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 concluded on its findings.
Before the publication of this damning AOAV report, observers in the United States had expressed grave concerns regarding the number of weapons the country has been shipping to the Middle East, which are funded by taxpayers.
Commenting on this new report, the famous New York Times journalist, Christopher John Chivers said the report has confirmed these concerns.
Chivers wrote in The New York Times that “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.” Chivers is a former Marine, and has extensively reported from Iraq and Afghanistan.
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