U.S. military has lost track of 30 percent of the weapons distributed to Iraqi security forces. The missing $9 billion are still unaccounted for, whereas the U.S. forces have fulfilled a mere one-sixth of all their objectives in Iraq. The findings of a recent report prepared by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) repute all the optimistic statements on Iraq made by the White House and the Pentagon.
Earlier last month the GAO’s head David Walker spoke about a critical situation in the United States. According to him, the situation stems not only from the practice of military intervention in the affairs of other countries – a characteristic of the Roman Empire at the time of decline. Part of the problem has to do with the nation’s moral values, which were undermined as the political standards continued to worsen, said David Walker.
According to a preliminary annual report released by the Government Accountability Office, the scale of political and military progress allowed the United States to fulfill only three out of its eighteen aims in Iraq. The final version of the report will be sent to U.S. Congress on Tuesday.
According to information obtained by The Washington Post, the Government Accountability Office calls into question a positive view of the situation in Iraq the White House is trying to convey. The official assessment is based on a joint report by Gen. David H. Petraeus, the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, and Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq. The report is expected to be released later this month.
Taking into account that “compared with the pre-war period, the life of Iraqi citizens has not improved a bit,” the GAO findings look hardly surprising. The GAO’s experts discovered a “loss” of 30 percent of the weapons the United States distributed to Iraqi forces from 2004 through 2007. The Pentagon currently lists 190,000 AK-47 assault rifles and pistols as unaccounted for.
There are good grounds to assume that members of U.S. forces stationed in Iraq are simply running their own “small businesses” out there, and most of the unaccounted-for weapons are used by the Iraqi insurgents fighting U.S. forces in that country. The Pentagon has reluctantly admitted that the problem did exist, and promised to tighten control over weapons supply to Iraq.
Iraqi officials seem to be catching up with their American bosses when it comes to funds considered unaccounted for. The Iraqi government recently issued orders to arrest Hazem al-Shaalam, Iraqi former defense minister, who is charged with misappropriation of more than $1 billion allocated for the purchase of new arms. In fact, the Iraqi government somehow managed to lose track of $9 billion distributed among the ministries. Besides, Iraq’s central bank does not know what happened to several million dollars in cash.
Needless to say, a war that is so profitable for both sides involved could go on forever. On the one hand, the war is a heavy burden to the peoples of both countries. On the other hand, those interested in making fast and huge profits out of the war are determined to keep it going.
The findings of the Government Accountability Office present a serious problem to the Bush administration. The GAO is an independent agency that is not associated with any political party, and therefore the GAO’s head can afford to voice a point of view that is rather unflattering for the U.S. government.
David Walker had previously accused the U.S. government of making every effort to oppose control over spending relating to the Iraqi campaign. “There are good grounds to believe that the money of U.S. taxpayers has been wasted away. We can see no progress whatsoever being made in Iraq,” said David Walker in his previous report.
The GOA report was released in the nick of time because U.S. President Bush is set to request additional $50 billion to finance the Iraq war.
Translated by Guerman Grachev
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