There are any number of stories, issues, mistakes that sum up the incompetence of US involvement in Iraq.

But the latest revelation that the US military is unable to account for 190,000 AK-47 assault rifles and pistols perhaps provides the perfect illustration.

The Pentagon has acknowledged that 30% of guns shipped to Iraq during the last three years for use by Iraqi security services can no longer be traced. It is now said to be “reviewing” arms delivery procedures.

This is catastrophic failure on so many levels, not least the fact that despite spending $19.2bn on Iraqi security services since 2003, the US military and government clearly does not think it appropriate to keep proper records on where that money is being spent and what happens to the equipment it sends out to the war-ravaged country.

Throw in the not exactly insignificant fact that almost 200,000 deadly weapons are unaccounted for in a country that is verging on the brink of complete lawlessness and the errors of judgement and procedure really do begin to look criminal.

Iraq is a country on the brink of total collapse and yet President George W Bush continues to try to deflect attention from his true legacy through his unique and largely successful brand of scaremongering.

As news of the missing weapons emerged, President Bush was signing a temporary surveillance bill. The bill, which he described as a “top priority”, apparently plugs a gap in US domestic security arrangements and means US intelligence agencies will no longer need a warrant to eavesdrop on US citizens’ international phone calls and emails.

Fighting the “terror within” has proved a useful trump card for President Bush on so many occasions.

As the paranoia whipped up by the President in the Land of the Free intensifies, so does the intolerable daily pressure on the country he “liberated” so triumphantly.

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