With The 12-Point Platform, this won't happen: Handing over weapons caches to ticked-off locals who want to kill us
Via Nippersdad, the Guardian:
Chaos in Yemen has left the US military unable to monitor the vast arsenal it has spent years providing to its Yemeni counterpart.
Yemen is now functionally leaderless after Houthi rebels took over the capital of Sana’a last month, prompting the resignation of President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi. The rebels are said to control the Yemeni military’s arms depots and bases, giving them effective control of US-provided and other heavy weaponry, including tanks and artillery.
The unrest has “limited our ability to conduct routine end-use monitoring checks and inspections we would normally perform”, a US defense official told the Guardian.
US military officials would not specify which military equipment it could no longer track, but in recent years the US has sold or leased equipment including helicopters, night-vision gear, surveillance equipment, military radios and transport aircraft to Yemen.
Since 2006, the US military has provided more than $400m to Yemen, according to research estimates prepared for Congress.
Of course, we're assuming that the Pentagon actually could monitor this "vast arsenal," given that it lacks basic auditing functions. The hilarious thing is that losing arsenals to the locals -- who are ticked off because we do things like blow wedding parties to pink mist with drone strikes -- is something that our world-class (but at what?) military regularly does. As we see in Afghanistan:
Since 2004, the United States has supplied the fledgling Afghan Nation Security Forces with everything from uniforms to transport aircraft, but a new inspector general report finds that officials might have lost track of more than 43 percent of the 474,823 small arms supplied to the ANSF.
The Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction compared two information systems that track weapons transfers from the United Sates to Afghanistan and found major discrepancies between the two, according to a report released Monday. ... Both SCIP and OVERLORD require manual data entry and are not linked together, so when SIGAR reviewed both systems, it found that some weapon serial numbers were not only duplicated, but were incomplete or did not match each another. Both OVERLORD and SCIP contained more than 50,000 serial numbers with no shipping or receiving dates.
Note the lack of functioning audit systems.
At the Afghan army’s Central Supply Depot, the inspector general found that 551 of 4,388 weapons listed in an inventory record, or “property book,” did not match a physical count of the inventory. Among the weapons documented but not present: 24 M2 .50 caliber heavy machine guns and 24 bolt action M48 sniper rifles.
The inventory provided only the total count for certain weapon types and not individual serial numbers. ...
One audit by SIGAR, at the 1st Afghan National Civil Order Police Garrison, yielded only a partial handwritten list of serial numbers for a number of Kalashnikovs.
To be fair, this is the Afghans, not "us," but it looks to me like they are doing in a simpler and more direct way exactly what we are doing by setting up two competing dysfunctional* audit systems.
In response the SIGAR report, a top Pentagon official did not dispute the findings but said that an effort to reconcile the two weapons-tracking systems was ongoing. The United States, said Michael Dumont, a deputy assistant secretary of defense, does not have the authority to recover or destroy any excess Afghan weapons but can help the Afghans determine “disposition options.”
“DoD will remain engaged in addressing these critical weapons accountability issues as we continue to train, advise and assist the ASNF in the years to come,” Dumont said.
Love the Pentagon-ese!
And in Iraq:
THE fall of the city of Mosul to Iraqi militants has landed them a deadly windfall — a massive cache of US-supplied weapons including vehicles, tanks and helicopters.
The Iraq government forces abandoned their arms and ammunition as they fled the horde of Sunni gunmen streaming into the war-torn nation’s second largest city earlier this week. ...
Tanks. Humvees. Trucks. Even US-supplied Blackhawk and scout/combat helicopters may have fallen into extremist hands. ...
But as images emerge of the captured hoard, questions are also being raised about the generally poor state of the vehicles.
Images of a compound full of the iconic US Humvee vehicle reveal most are in a poor state of repair, with many stripped of key components for spares.
Again, no audit function. And I suppose if everything ISIS seized is all clapped out, no harm no foul (aside from a few hundred millions and any intelligence).
Anyhow, the clapped out Humvees blow a hole in my main brilliant idea, which was that instead of using our corrupt/incompetent/double-agent/"eye for the main chance" friends as middlepersons, and then waiting for the inevitable Clusterfuck, we should just give weapons directly to our enemies!**
And you can see the self-licking ice-cream cone, too:
1) Load up friendly locals with weapons [Profit to arms dealers, trainers, and corrupt U.S. soldiers and locals working on the black market]
2) Strike our enemies while whacking plenty of locals, too [Profit to contractors]
3) Wait for the inevitable blowback [Profit to media as story escalates]
4) Locals collapse
5) Enemies strengthen themselves with the weapons they seize from the locals
6) Load up new friendly locals with new weapons [Profit to arms dealers and trainers]
Rinse, repeat, though I'm not sure I have all the profit parts right.
I think we've seen something like this cycle play out at least twice in Iraq, and now it's played out for the first time in Yemen. Gawd knows how many times it's played out in Afghanistan.
There's also the more general problem of And I don't think this is so much conscious as "working toward the market"..... Which is why I think self-licking ice cream cones are an awfully good definition of corruption, as opposed to the more conventional "quid pro quo." The process is like terraforming our own planet for evil purposes, leaving vast areas of the world awash with equipment that's designed to kill people.
Anyhow, the obvious answer is to stop doing this by ending the wars. We've got no business in any of these places, and we should get out. If you put aside the profits to be made by bloated arms dealers, there's no reason for us to be there, and we're making life worse for civilians everywhere, including in the U.S., when blowback reaches our shores again, which it will.
So, #10: End the wars. And one of the implementation details for throwing a big net over the military-industrial complex (not sure that's the term) is the audit function. Defund whatever can't be audited which -- note well -- includes these arms depots.
NOTE * Or, if not dysfunctional, dysfunctional at its putative function.