Did $1 Billion in Lost US Military Weapons Wind Up in Islamic State Hands?

How have the Islamic State and its allies obtained their military equipment? Well, the answer remains a bit uncertain. While Middle Eastern countries seeking to stymie Iran’s influence — like Qatar — have funneled money and support to these fundamentalist groups, the full picture gets a bit more complicated.

According to findings from a Freedom of Information Act request filed by Amnesty International, the U.S. military recently discovered that at least $1 billion worth of equipment and weapons sent to aid the Iraqi Army are entirely unaccounted for.

The missing funds comprise a majority of the $1.6 billion appropriated by a 2015 Congress-approved plan to aid Iraq’s military and other groups, like the Kurdish Peshmerga, in their battle against the Islamic State.

And it isn’t actually the money itself; much of this allocated funding came in the form of armored Humvees, mortar rounds and assault rifles, among other military equipment.

A mishmash of sloppy recordkeeping is largely at fault here — and by extension, severe negligence by the Pentagon.

Inventory records often overlapped, counting the same pieces of equipment multiple times. Others were left incomplete, meaning some hardware simply vanished.

The Department of Defense does not necessarily explain how or why this happened — whether through incompetence or deliberate subversion. Regardless, it is a somewhat irrelevant detail, considering who possesses these pieces of military equipment now.

But this is not the first time a mishap has occurred involving military hardware transfers to anti-Islamic State allies. Before the 2015 deal, the Department of Defense used even less stringent methods of accountability as it supplied groups like the Iraqi Army.

What remains particularly startling is that the Pentagon was apparently quite aware of this problem – at least since 2007. Officials expressed their concerns in a report to Congress that year, but clearly very little has been done to change these dangerously careless practices.

And the threat of this missing U.S. military hardware ending up in the hands of terrorists is no longer speculation. According to Amnesty International and other groups, Islamic State fighters have documented their use of U.S. weaponry and military vehicles.

This past December, an internal investigation revealed that the Pentagon has managed to waste an incredible $125 billion, not including this lost equipment in Iraq.

One of Donald Trump’s campaign promises focused on putting an end to wasteful practices within the Department of Defense. Not only has he failed to introduce any strategy to accomplish this goal since entering the White House, Trump has recently announced his intention to increase the Pentagon’s budget by nearly $53 billion in the coming fiscal year.

It isn’t a stretch to say that Trump’s budget increase would already be more than met if the Pentagon were to cease wasting such tremendous amounts of money.

Perhaps even more importantly, if Pentagon expenditures — like those used to ship weapons and equipment to Iraq — were performed competently, the horrific violence carried out by groups like the Islamic State would not be as extensive. And it might actually be one of the more practical, effective and inexpensive ways to fight terrorism in Iraq.

Photo Credit: Maj. Johnpaul Arnold / Wikimedia Commons

85 comments

Jack Y
Jack Yabout a year ago

thanks

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Jack Y
Jack Yabout a year ago

thanks

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John J
John Jabout a year ago

thanks for sharing

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John J
John Jabout a year ago

thanks for sharing

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Marie W
Marie W1 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill1 years ago

The Obama Administration was so anxious to "end the war in Iraq" that they were willing to do anything! The problem with that is you don't end wars you have to win them!

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Herbert C
Herbert C1 years ago

Freya H
I signed, I took action on June 6th, but I had to search for it. Your link just leads back to this page. Yes, we could free up an enormous amount of money cutting military spending but what about all the ill will we would lose? It's worth a try, so many ways the money could be better spent.


The exact petition name is [Cut Military Spending - Don't Increase It!]

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/367/932/858/cut-military-spending-dont-increase-it/

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Will Rogers
Will Rogers1 years ago

Probably. Most of the weapons on the planet was made by americans anyway.

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Bill Eagle
Bill Eagle1 years ago

Our throwing money at the military is not making us any safer. We need to audit where a lot of our "defense" money is really going.. We have an abundance of fraud, waste and abuse. Jail time for corporate crooks would help make all of America safer.

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