The U.S. government has shipped over 1.4 million guns to Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11, according a new analysis by the U.K.-based watchdog Action on Armed Violence (AOAV), but the Pentagon is only able to account for fewer than half of them.
AOAV released its analysis of publicly available data on U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) contracts on Wednesday, and added that when requested to provide its own accounting for the small arms provided to the war-torn nations, “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.”
AOAV also noted that the total number of small weapons the U.S. provided to Iraq and Afghanistan is likely to be far higher than even the group’s count, as the Pentagon kept such shoddy records of the planeloads of weapons it dispatched to those countries—if it kept any records at all.
“Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks,” observed C.J. Chivers in the New York Times Magazine, “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.”
Today, “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,” Chivers wrote.
“What to do?” the Times reporter wondered. “If past is precedent, given enough time one of the United States’ solutions will be, once again, to ship in more guns.”
Full article: Pentagon has no idea where hundreds of thousands of guns went in Iraq and Afghanistan (Intellihub)