Monday, October 01, 2007

U.S. Didn't Track Weapons

Once again there is the continued witch hunt regarding the accountability of weapons within MNSTC-I as noted in the Associated Press Report: U.S. Didn't Track Weapons For Iraqis written by By Richard Lardner. In the article the issue that has been known of the thousands of rifles, pistols, sets of body armor, vehicles and radios, along with millions of rounds of ammunition, had been delivered to Iraqis which could not be accounted for.

As I have said previously in this Blog that we were pushed to deliver an equipped Iraqi Army and security force from Scratch (thanks to decisions made in March 2004). In the headlong push to arm Iraqi forces we did not adequately keep good records. For what its worth, there still is no regulatory guidance for just what exactly is the prescribed standard for such accountability. What we know in hindsight is that an accountant today cannot reconstruct with the records what happened to 190,000 weapons according to one audit.

An October 2006 audit by the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction said there was "questionable accuracy" and "incomplete accountability" in the way MNSTC-I managed weapons. Again – the luxury of detailed recordkeeping in a war zone with a foreign military is not an easy task by any standard.

What I like is the response from Retired Army Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton

He expected the inspector general would find that there were too few people to handle the enormous influx of weapons and money into the country. One of the greatest irritants to me was watching the Pentagon cooking along at full strength while we in Iraq were running on a very thin personnel shoestring.

MG Eaton preceded Gen Petraeus and has made an accurate but overlooked observation.

I stated in my Blog previously that in MNSTC-I we were pressed to do many things quickly, not with quality…. Americans, Politicians and the Press all expected performance that continues to prove elusive. As MG Eaton says further in the article

There have never been enough people, and there has never been enough bureaucratic support and effort to do this thing properly

And I have noted before that Gen Petraeus said many times in country to those of us on his staff “this experience is like building an aircraft that is already in flight."

The 20-20 hindsight of those that were not there is not really in focus in my mind... It should be filtered through the effort and intent.

1 comment:

Kevin said...

What 20-20 hindsight?? There were scores of people, right from the beginning, including the top Military leadership, who said this was not doable with the people you have. A lot more were needed. Read my blog The Command T.O.C. and you will see that since 2004 (not sure the archives to back that far but trust me, it was there)I have been saying that there were far too few troops to properly occupy a land like Iraq.

We all know the Shinseki story.

So, this thing about "20-20" hindsight is a "Bushism" when he says, "who knew". Well, Powell knew, Shinseki knew, White knew, many former military bloggers knew, apparently Sanchez knew and was too chickenshit to say anything, etc. etc.

If you knew than you should have spoken up. If this good general knew than he should have spoken up and retired in protest.

But, since he did not, he, along with the rest of the military, will forever be known as administering the most incompetently handled war in the history of the United States.

Perhaps the folks fighting should have listened to and supported those of us who tried to help by saying how foolish it was to occupy a Country like Iraq with 100,000 soldiers.

Instead, those people for the most part spent their time saying that anyone who spoke up against the plans were "traitors" and "subversives"