I, for one, am totally shocked to learn that the Bush administration's efforts to flood the Iraq war zone with weapons hasn't so much generated law, order, and security as it has created a situation where "U.S. military officials do not know what happened to 30 percent of the weapons the United States distributed to Iraqi forces from 2004 through early this year as part of an effort to train and equip the troops."
This is the kind of thing that makes proposals to refuse to admit defeat in Iraq by maintaining an indefinite "train & equip" mission there so potentially dangerous. Introducing more and more weapons and expertise in using them into the civil war dynamic runs the risk of just making things worse. The good news, however, is that as best I can tell from the article the GAO thinks things are better in 2006-2007 than they were in 2004-2005. The bad news is that the especially bad period for the equipment program when "weapons distribution was haphazard and rushed and failed to follow established procedures" came "when security training was led by Gen. David H. Petraeus, who now commands all U.S. forces in Iraq."
Photo by Flickr user Joe Logon used under a Creative Commons license
Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.