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U.S. Army Sgt. Robert Newman, Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, U.S. Army Europe, watches the sunrise after a dismounted patrol mission near Forward Operating Base Baylough, Zabul, Afghanistan, March 19, 2009.
Bring them home
What could possibly go wrong?
The Pentagon has shipped Afghan security forces tens of thousands of excessive AK-47 assault rifles and other weapons since 2004 and many have gone missing, raising concerns that they’ve fallen into the hands of Taliban or other insurgent rebels.

John F. Sipko, the U.S. special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, found in a report released Monday that shoddy record-keeping by the Defense Department, the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Police has contributed to the failure to track the small arms.

The Pentagon is still sending Afghanistan weapons based on its peak 2012 levels of army and police personnel, even as those numbers have declined, Sipko found.

The report says that even though the Afghan National Security Force is scheduled for reductions in numbers of personnel, the weapons supplied to it are continuing as if that were not the case. Which means even more excess weapons, even though the Pentagon admits it has no authority to compel the Afghan government to complete an inventory, and no authority to recover or destroy the weapons it already has provided, even if they could be located, many of which can't be. And in case you were wondering, we're talking:
747,000 rifles, pistols, machine guns, grenade launchers and shotguns worth $626 million since 2004
Let me repeat that.
747,000 rifles, pistols, machine guns, grenade launchers and shotguns worth $626 million since 2004
And just to make things even more exciting, Congress has made the Pentagon responsible for tracking the weapons, which makes perfect sense, considering the Pentagon has absolutely no means of doing so. We're headed for three-fourths of a million weapons at a cost approaching two-thirds of a billion dollars, provided to a military whose personnel have consistently proven to have inconsistent loyalties, overseen by a government that is rife with corruption, in a country where a lot of people hate the United States, an extremist theocratic opposition army has spent more than a decade proving it can't be defeated, and U.S. military personnel continue to serve in the firing line, while the Afghan people continue to live in it.

What could possibly go wrong?

Originally posted to Laurence Lewis on Tue Jul 29, 2014 at 06:19 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Not surprised (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurence Lewis, enhydra lutris

    I voted Tuesday, May 6, 2014 because it is my right, my responsibility and because my parents moved from Alabama to Ohio to vote. Unfortunately, the republicons want to turn Ohio into Alabama.

    by a2nite on Tue Jul 29, 2014 at 06:26:17 AM PDT

  •  If you can loose billions in cash (10+ / 0-)

    in Iraq, why not nearly a million weapons in Afghanistan?  The NRA probably would have a bake sale to get the money up to make it an even million.  Everybody needs a gun.

    •  Speaking of Iraq ... (0+ / 0-)

      I think I saw on Frontline the other night that the U.S. is still arming Nouri al-Maliki as well as the governments of Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Quatar, UAE, Bahrain and probably some others I've left out.

      But back to Iraq. For 11 years now I've been apprised by U.S. media of every IED attack by those evil bastards. What has never been reported to my knowledge is the origin of the explosives used in those IEDs. Does some of it come from U.S. manufactured weapons seized in the early days of the Iraq debacle?

      Tar sands, fracking and deep water drilling are expensive. Crude oil price exceeded $100/bbl in 2008 where it still hovers. NH₃ based fertilizer feeds an estimated ⅓ of the world with the Haber-Bosch process using natural gas as a feedstock.

      by FrY10cK on Sun Aug 03, 2014 at 03:37:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Whatever does go wrong, it's the fault of the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    alypsee1, unfangus

    Kenyan Muslim Socialist Usurper and his hordes of gun-grabbin', same-sex, bible-burnin' do-badders.

    Since it is a truth universally acknowledged that every last effing time we give weapons to our "allies," those weapons will eventually go missing, only to be used to kill Americans, I'm not surprised in the least. I guess the money involved is simply too good to refuse.

    •  But someone is getting really rich (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      US Blues, boofdah

      Gun manufacturers in the U.S. with huge contracts with the Pentagon are getting really really rich, so all is well!!!!

      Ignorance is the curse of God; knowledge is the wing wherewith we fly to heaven. William Shakespeare

      by lutznancy on Sun Aug 03, 2014 at 05:17:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But it isn't US arms manufacturers (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        boofdah

        AK-47s are not made in the US. Locations of manufacture for the AK-47 are China, Vietnam, Thailand, Romania, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Serbia, and possibly Israel. Also RPG launchers and the grenades they use are not made in the US. Tactical shotguns are made all over the world, much like the AK-47.

        Knowledge is Power. Ignorance is not bliss, it is suffering. If you like hypocrite Obama, you'll love hypocrite Hillary.

        by harris stein on Sun Aug 03, 2014 at 05:59:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid s (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurence Lewis, Eric Nelson

    tupid.

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Tue Jul 29, 2014 at 06:44:55 AM PDT

  •  Sir , (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurence Lewis, Eric Nelson, drmah

    may I check the serial number on your AK-47 , please ?
    Do you have a receipt for that rocket launcher ?
    Thank You for shopping at the US Arms Bizarre .

    "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. M. H.

    by indycam on Tue Jul 29, 2014 at 06:51:24 AM PDT

  •  Aren't these precisely the sort of deals (4+ / 0-)

    which would be banned under the UN Small Arms Treaty?  You know, the treaty that the NRA (and some RKBAers here) contend is meant to "get our guns", but which actually does nothing of the sort.

    Anyone arguing that there's no difference between the parties is a fucking moron who can simply go to hell. -- kos

    by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Tue Jul 29, 2014 at 07:03:09 AM PDT

    •  Only if the Pentagon (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SueDe, Metric Only

      were honest about where the weapons are likely to end up.  There's no specific rule that would forbid the United States government from selling/giving weapons to the government of Afghanistan.

      Article 11
      Diversion 7
      1. Each State Party involved in the transfer of conventional arms covered under Article 2 (1) shall take measures to prevent their diversion.

      2. The exporting State Party shall seek to prevent the diversion of the transfer of conventional arms covered under Article 2 (1) through its national control system, established in accordance with Article 5 (2), by assessing the risk of diversion of the export and considering the establishment of mitigation measures such as confidence-building measures or jointly developed and agreed programmes by the exporting and importing States. Other prevention measures may include, where appropriate: examining parties involved in the export, requiring additional documentation, certificates, assurances, not authorizing the export or other appropriate measures.

      3. Importing, transit, trans-shipment and exporting States Parties shall cooperate and exchange information, pursuant to their national laws, where appropriate and feasible, in order to mitigate the risk of diversion of the transfer of conventional arms covered under Article 2 (1).

      4. If a State Party detects a diversion of transferred conventional arms covered under Article 2 (1), the State Party shall take appropriate measures, pursuant to its national laws and in accordance with international law, to address such diversion. Such measures may include alerting potentially affected States Parties, examining diverted shipments of such conventional arms covered under Article 2 (1), and taking follow-up measures through investigation and law enforcement.

      5. In order to better comprehend and prevent the diversion of transferred conventional arms covered under Article 2 (1), States Parties are encouraged to share relevant information with one another on effective measures to address diversion. Such information may include information on illicit activities including corruption, international trafficking routes, illicit brokers, sources of illicit supply, methods of concealment, common points of dispatch, or destinations used by organized groups engaged in diversion.

      6. States Parties are encouraged to report to other States Parties, through the Secretariat, on measures taken in addressing the diversion of transferred conventional arms covered under Article 2 (1).

      https://unoda-web.s3.amazonaws.com/...
  •  compare those numbers to size of Aghan military (10+ / 0-)

    which according to Wikepedia, including all active in Army and Air Force is around 200,000.

    When I was in the Marines in the 1960s the first thing I received when reporting to my duty station at Quantico was an M-14.  As an E-1 at that time I was not issued either a sidearm (in those days the 1911M1A1 .45 automatic pistol) and only infantry units had grenade launchers, one per platoon.

    Not all US Army soldiers are issued weapons.

    I doubt that there is widespread issuance of weapons to US Air Force Personnel.

    Given the size of the military, this looks more like a boondoggle for US weapons manufacturers than it is a legitimate level of assistance to an ally.

    "Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it, because what the world needs is more people who have come alive." - Howard Thurman

    by teacherken on Tue Jul 29, 2014 at 07:22:41 AM PDT

  •  "excessive" indeed (5+ / 0-)
    Thomas Gouttierre, director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska in Omaha, said he wasn’t surprised by Sipko’s findings of loose weapons in the war-torn nation. A former strategic adviser to U.S. commanders in Afghanistan, he has visited there more than a dozen times since the U.S. invasion in October 2001 after the Sept. 11 attacks.

    Gouttierre said the issue of missing weapons is part of a larger problem in which billions of dollars in U.S. aid to Afghanistan has been siphoned off by waste, corruption and mismanagement.

    “It’s very evident to me that our government has been looking the other way for a long time,” Gouttierre said. “Everything after 2003 was Iraq-focused. In Afghanistan, we kind of threw money at programs without any real supervision that would be required of something this massive.”

    The current U.S. drawdown from Afghanistan will see most American troops gone this year, with the last combat brigades scheduled to leave by the end of 2016. Inspectors working for Sipko found missing weapons during visits between May 2013 and June 2014 to four central weapons depots in Afghanistan belonging to the army or the police.

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "If we appear to seek the unattainable, then let it be known that we do so to avoid the unimaginable." (@eState4Column5)

    by annieli on Tue Jul 29, 2014 at 07:25:00 AM PDT

  •  When it comes to the Pentagon, the operative (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    enhydra lutris, kurt

    questions is "What can go right"? Keep in mind that an audit cannot be performed on the Pentagon and that makes this multimillion, wastrel organization unaccountable.

  •  we are the largest weapons supplier in the world (7+ / 0-)

    Eventually all the global battles will have our weapons on both sides.
      It's good for business.

    "The oppressors most powerful weapon is the mind of the oppressed." - Stephen Biko

    by gjohnsit on Tue Jul 29, 2014 at 08:34:25 AM PDT

    •  Obviously you didn't read the link (0+ / 0-)

      from gosoxataboy. All of the weapons going to Afghanistan are foreign made. While it is true that the US is the world's #1 arms supplier, that is only to NATO members and Israel. I saw a number on the McGlauphlin group that the US has supplied Israel with a staggering 180 billion in arms since 1947.

      Knowledge is Power. Ignorance is not bliss, it is suffering. If you like hypocrite Obama, you'll love hypocrite Hillary.

      by harris stein on Sun Aug 03, 2014 at 06:10:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Poor illiterate underpaid soldier (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kurt

    in the U.S. war against the Taliban pilfers some rifles from the U.S. Department of Defense. An organization of immense wealth and power and continual mismanagement and fraud. Is the story here really that

    overseen by a government that is rife with corruption
    Afghans are corrupt?
  •  Israel of Hamas? Poll on who has them. I would (0+ / 0-)

    guess it might be Israel.

  •  As McNuts would say (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    417els

    Well, as McNuts would say, we can take care of this problem by ensuring that we send the weapons only to the moderates! :-)

    (-7.75,-5.64) If you like your $50 a month "healthcare plan"... you are an idiot!

    by Whirlaway on Sat Aug 02, 2014 at 07:03:35 PM PDT

  •  It will be fine. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    too many people, SueDe, 417els, US Blues

    Everything will come out in the wash.
    Don't worry, be happy.
    These things happen.
    USA! USA!

  •  Did they send the Afghans a BUK SAM launcher? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    on the cusp, BenFranklin99
    •  Don't know (0+ / 0-)

      but the taliban would have a hard time getting a weapon that requires 2 or 3 30 ton tracked vehicles to operate properly out of Afghanistan and I think Iran already has their own version of SAMs. Well, maybe they could get it to Pakistan or India but then what?

      Knowledge is Power. Ignorance is not bliss, it is suffering. If you like hypocrite Obama, you'll love hypocrite Hillary.

      by harris stein on Sun Aug 03, 2014 at 06:16:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  According to statistics I could find, there are (4+ / 0-)

    roughly 8.5 million Afghan men between the ages of 15 and 64.

    So we've only managed to arm one-tenth of the adult men.  The NRA is outraged.

  •  so they don't know what happened (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BenFranklin99

    to the weapons.

    who could've seen that coming?

    An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

    by mightymouse on Sat Aug 02, 2014 at 07:24:44 PM PDT

  •  What could go wrong? Rosen could write an expose! (0+ / 0-)

    Then a Pentagon PR flack would have to be assigned to deal with the brush fire. This is what pisses generals off.

    "Well, yeah, the Constitution is worth it if you succeed." - Nancy Pelosi, 6/30/07 // "Succeed?" At what?

    by nailbender on Sat Aug 02, 2014 at 07:25:55 PM PDT

  •  Not to fret, it's good for business. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    akze29, SueDe

    American business, weapons supplier to the world.

  •  I'm Shocked, Shocked - - (0+ / 0-)

    Who could have imagined?

  •  John McCain; the logical thing to do is send more (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BenFranklin99, Laurence Lewis

    So that the people who don't have weapons yet are armed to protect themselves against those who do.

    "What's it all about? You know what I mean." - Alfie

    by Fordmandalay on Sat Aug 02, 2014 at 07:33:52 PM PDT

  •  Now a bunch of good guys with guys out there, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BenFranklin99, US Blues

    no doubt.

    Our foreign policy has sucked for decades. Nothing has changed. We dump arms into Afghanistan. We support thugs like Netanyahu. What's new?

    Marx was an optimist.

    by psnyder on Sat Aug 02, 2014 at 07:49:43 PM PDT

  •  An armed society... (5+ / 0-)

    ...is a polite society.

    Must be approaching cotillion levels of politeness over there by now.

    The superfluous goods of the rich are necessary to the poor, and when you possess the superfluous you possess what is not yours." St. Augustine

    by Davis X Machina on Sat Aug 02, 2014 at 07:52:39 PM PDT

  •  Why get so worked up about this? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    417els, jestbill, FrY10cK

    The U.S. has been selling or supplying arms, missiles and bombs to different governments in the Middle East for decades.  Many of them go missing, and many of them are used.  I think this country has decided if the people in that part of the world want to kill each other, well, there's profit in all that hatred.  Just like the gun manufacturers here sense the same thing within this country and are profiting handsomely from it.

    "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing" - Edmund Burke

    by SueDe on Sat Aug 02, 2014 at 07:52:41 PM PDT

  •  Meet a pig peddler cum arms dealer (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    417els, FrY10cK

    He's one of the people that makes this stuff happen.

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/...

    The rear end of the building butts up on a 4th-century church and mossy Roman ruins, and it dwarfs the country’s adjoining presidential palace. Inside the hotel, a dark-eyed woman in a pantsuit invites guests to the erotic nightclub in the hotel basement. Skip the strip club, and there’s a hotel bar with a spacious lounge, where carpeting absorbs sound, and marble pillars reflect the light of the massive crystal chandeliers.

    It is here that a short, heavyset, American arms dealer visiting from Fresno, Calif., held his business meetings. Bulgarian weapons dealers said that this man — 53-year-old Ara Dolarian — was likable and garrulous. He was often there on behalf of the U.S. government or its allies, shopping for weapons destined for America’s most difficult and dangerous foreign-policy tangles, such as Iraq and Afghanistan.

    From 2006 until last year, Dolarian managed to get contracts affiliated with the U.S. government that ranged from less than $20,000 to $14 million.

    One $588,000 Dolarian deal last year was for an operation still shrouded in secrecy. American commandos wanted dozens of Kalashnikov rifles, a handful of the massive, Soviet bloc machine guns nicknamed Dushkas to mount on trucks, some rocket-propelled grenade launchers, and hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammunition — a standard package for a foreign quick-reaction force that the U.S. could train and deploy, according to special forces veterans who perused the shopping list for BuzzFeed.

    "Go well through life"-Me (As far as I know)
    This message will self-destruct upon arrival in the NSA archives in Utah.

    by MTmofo on Sat Aug 02, 2014 at 08:00:11 PM PDT

  •  I'm reminded of the South Park episode which had (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurence Lewis

    a scene that featured Cartman asking the armory for "500 AK-47's, please". The armorer replied, "500 !?' Well okay,
    but you 'll have to sign for them."

    LOL...who'd a thunk it ?....

  •  I wonder how many of these weapons were (0+ / 0-)

    "lost" because they were diverted to Istael.

  •  747,000, but (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurence Lewis

    they are wafer-thin.

  •  Well, you know, a good guy with a gun (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurence Lewis

    Something something. I'm sure it applies somehow.

    Be bold. Be courageous. Americans are counting on you. Gabby Giffords.

    by Leftleaner on Sun Aug 03, 2014 at 12:41:11 AM PDT

  •  We always think we can solve geopolitical problems (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurence Lewis

    with weapons. But the root cause of it is the idea that we can solve geopolitical problems. Thats the legacy of Wilson unfortunately.

  •  And in the meantime.... (0+ / 0-)

    Sens. McCain and Graham, (and other right-wing warmongers), are calling on The Obama Administration to arm other unstable groups across the world from Syria to Ukraine.

    "These 'Yet To Be' United States" --James Baldwin--

    by kevinbr38 on Sun Aug 03, 2014 at 07:13:51 AM PDT

  •  pacification (0+ / 0-)

    And now Afghanistan is a certainly more peaceful place, because as the NRA tells us more and morenguns prevent violence. Since 2004, gun related homicides in Afghanistan are markedly....

  •  the pentagon and the (0+ / 0-)

    military industrial complex have a lot in common with the nra and the gun lobby, arm friend and foe alike and it guarantees that your agenda will live on no matter the common sense or argument against it, convince the america public that there is a bogey man out there and you can kill and maim with impunity.

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