Friday, March 23, 2007

GAO: Unsecured Munitions Responsible for Half of U.S. Casualties in Iraq

A Government Accountability Office report was released yesterday, concurrent with testimony given in front of the National Security subcommittee of the House Oversight Committee.

The testimony of Davi M. D'Agostino, Director of Defense Capabilities and Management at GAO was really a damning indictment of the mismanagement of the entire war by the Bush administration and the Department of Defense under their control, including the Joint Chiefs.

You might recall the incident at al Qa Qaa, where 380 tons of conventional weaponry and explosives went missing? That was only a drop in the bucket. Conventional munitions caches were scattered all over the country, and the failure of the DoD to properly secure these ammo dumps has been directly responsible for fully one half of the deaths and injuries sustained by U.S. Service personnel serving in Iraq.

In our report, we concluded that a fundamental gap existed between the OIF war plan assumptions and the experiences of U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq, contributing to insufficient troops being on the ground to prevent widespread looting of conventional munitions storage sites and resulting in looted munitions being a continuing asymmetric threat to U.S. and coalition forces. The human, strategic, and financial costs of this failure to provide sufficient troops have been high, with IEDs made with looted munitions causing about half of all U.S. combat fatalities and casualties in Iraq and killing hundreds of Iraqis and contributing to increasing instability, challenging U.S. strategic goals in Iraq. Further, DOD does not appear to have conducted a theaterwide survey and assessed the risk associated with unsecured conventional munitions storage sites to U.S. (P. 12 of .pdf)

Read the entire report. Put simply: Absolutely every thing has been done absolutely wrong. Everything. From the very first faulty and outlandishly foolish assumptions of a cakewalk and a capitulated Iraqi military providing security and post-war Iraq would not be a U.S. concern and resistance would be minimal (the whole “greeted as liberators” thing). All the way to fecklessly failing to secure munitions that have subsequently killed 1600 Americans and severely injured 10-15,000 more.

Am I supposed to just shrug and say "so what?" here? Because I can't do that.

Congress is right to take control away. They can not point to a single thing they have done right, there is no reason to trust them now, and it’s time to start taking reasoned and reasonable steps to end the war and bring our troops home.

[Cross-posted from Watching Those We Chose and linked on Political Animal]


Anonymous said...

I am so glad you posted this; mr. mbg and I talked about this yesterday. What was up with the unsecured munitions?

Anonymous said...

The priority was to protect the Oil Ministry and find WMD. Who could have forseen that leaving tons and tons of explosives unsecured would cause trouble down the road?

Dad the Realist said...

Hi Bluegirl. Been a fan since I started reading Kevin's blog.

Wasn't this the ammo dump that was passed by the convoy on the way to Bagdad? And the commanders deemed it unimportant to post guards there?

Correct me if I'm wrong.

--Blue Girl said...

Hi Dad. Thanks for the kind words. Al Qa Qaa was indeed the one you refer to, and is the only one referred to by name in the declassified portions of the report.

Larry Burkum said...

So what do you think this does to the recent efforts to tie all the insurgent weapons to Iran? And along those same lines, did the British purposely antagonize the Iranians into action (capturing troops who had boarded a ship) to assist in Bushco's desire to attack Iran? Wouldn't it be a perfect set up--we send in special forces to "rescue" our allies, not for regime change. And when Iran fights back, game on.

Seriously, would this surprise anyone?