Friday, March 23, 2007
U.S. Has No Idea of Extent of Looted Iraqi Ammo
"Coalition forces" were too busy trying to protect the oil infrastructure and searching for phantom WMD to properly secure the ammo dumps.
Now, the chickens are coming home to roost.
Four years after invading Iraq, the U.S. military still does not know how many tons of explosives were stolen from the country's massive prewar stockpiles or how many weapons caches remain unsecured, according to a government audit made public Thursday.
Many of the looted munitions have since made their way into the roadside bombs and other improvised explosive devices responsible for the bulk of U.S. troop deaths in Iraq.
The Government Accountability Office report cites a lack of manpower, inadequate planning and misplaced priorities in the military's failure to account for and immediately secure weapons during and after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. The number of unaccounted-for munitions "could range significantly from thousands to millions of tons," says an unclassified version of the report released at a congressional hearing.
The report warns that some weapons stockpiles still may be vulnerable to looting and could fall into the hands of insurgents and terrorists. As recently as October, government investigators could not confirm that all weapons sites had been physically secured, and said that there apparently had been no nationwide tally by the Defense Department.