July 4, 2012

Fast and Furious in Perspective

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On the issue of the ATF gunwalking scandal, I’m going to do something out of character – I’m going to concede a point. I’m going to pretend like I never read the recent Fortune article that throws a lot of cold water on the Congressional investigation led by Rep. Darrell Issa into the Justice Department’s mishandling of the fallout from “Fast and Furious.” I’m even going to forget about Congressman Issa’s committee essentially showing its hand by demanding a “scalp” in exchange for avoiding a vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress.

For the purpose of this blog post, I will assume that the Republicans leading the investigation into Fast and Furious are operating with the best of intentions, and not engaged in “political theater.”

Assuming the best of intentions, I can understand Republicans investigating such an egregious and calamitous blunder. However, I’m suspicious of the newfound zeal with which Republicans have pursued the case.

Estimates for the number of guns lost in Fast and Furious was about 2000. A frightening number no doubt, but a quick Google search prompted something that I would recommend our zealous public servants take a look at, if they are so concerned about lost guns.

In August 2007 a Congressional report was issued detailing how many US-supplied weapons were missing in Iraq. The number was 200,000. According to CNN “about 110,000 AK-47 rifles and 80,000 pistols,” as well as “heavy machine guns and rocket-propelled grenade launchers” were misplaced.  When a Pentagon official was asked if any of the weapons had made their way into the hands of insurgents he provided a reassuring response that made it seem like the Pentagon was totally taking the situation seriously and did not merit any sort of Congressional intervention.

The spokesmen looked coolly into what I can assume was a microphone and said, “anything is possible.” I imagine him shrugging as he said that.

The good news from that report is that it followed a report from the Department of Defense that put the number of missing weapons at 500,000.

Once Rep. Issa explains to me why he sat on his hands in 2007, I’ll be a lot more willing to understand why he feels it necessary to hold Eric Holder in contempt in 2012.

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Original Author: Noah Karr-Kaitin