Iraqi government discovers 50,000 'ghost soldiers'

Do you think this could be one reason why the Iraqi military is having trouble standing up to Islamic State forces in the field?

Washington Times:

Iraq’s prime minister said Sunday that an investigation of the military forces revealed 50,000 “ghost soldiers” on the country’s payroll.

Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi’s office issued a statement about the massive graft that came with a notification from Parliament saying the payments to the fictitious troops had been cut off, Agence France-Presse reported.

“Over the past few weeks, the PM has been cracking down to expose the ghost soldiers and get to the root of the problem,” Mr. Abadi’s spokesman, Rafid Jaboori, was quoted as saying.

The prime minister’s office said the investigation began within recent months, when the last payments were made, the news agency said, and it included a thorough head count of the country’s soldiers. An anonymous officer told AFP that much of the money was believed to have been siphoned off and included salaries to people who were either never in the military or to soldiers whose deaths had not been reported.

The United States has spent billions of dollars trying to bolster the Iraqi army in the last decade, only to watch the forces crumble this summer amid a blistering offensive from the Islamic State terror group, which now controls about a third of the country.

If Abadi is willing to admit to 50,000 ghosts on the army payroll, how many do you think there really are?  He can't go after all of them – too much of that money is apparently going into the pockets of some pretty powerful people.  I don't think it unreasonable to assume that the actual number of falsified troops may be close to twice the number reported.

Into this black hole, the Obama administration is going to pour more billions of dollars.  Is it too much to ask of the Iraqi government that they not ask us to train soldiers who don't exist?  That would seem to be a prerequisite for American aid anywhere in the world – that taxpayer dollars not contribute to the graft and corruption found in local governments.

As much as we'd like to turn our backs on these crooks, the consequences of an IS victory and takeover of the entire country are too serious for us to allow.  But the Iraqis need us a lot more than we need them, and an insistence that they make a serious effort to get their house in order is the least we should demand.

Do you think this could be one reason why the Iraqi military is having trouble standing up to Islamic State forces in the field?

Washington Times:

Iraq’s prime minister said Sunday that an investigation of the military forces revealed 50,000 “ghost soldiers” on the country’s payroll.

Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi’s office issued a statement about the massive graft that came with a notification from Parliament saying the payments to the fictitious troops had been cut off, Agence France-Presse reported.

“Over the past few weeks, the PM has been cracking down to expose the ghost soldiers and get to the root of the problem,” Mr. Abadi’s spokesman, Rafid Jaboori, was quoted as saying.

The prime minister’s office said the investigation began within recent months, when the last payments were made, the news agency said, and it included a thorough head count of the country’s soldiers. An anonymous officer told AFP that much of the money was believed to have been siphoned off and included salaries to people who were either never in the military or to soldiers whose deaths had not been reported.

The United States has spent billions of dollars trying to bolster the Iraqi army in the last decade, only to watch the forces crumble this summer amid a blistering offensive from the Islamic State terror group, which now controls about a third of the country.

If Abadi is willing to admit to 50,000 ghosts on the army payroll, how many do you think there really are?  He can't go after all of them – too much of that money is apparently going into the pockets of some pretty powerful people.  I don't think it unreasonable to assume that the actual number of falsified troops may be close to twice the number reported.

Into this black hole, the Obama administration is going to pour more billions of dollars.  Is it too much to ask of the Iraqi government that they not ask us to train soldiers who don't exist?  That would seem to be a prerequisite for American aid anywhere in the world – that taxpayer dollars not contribute to the graft and corruption found in local governments.

As much as we'd like to turn our backs on these crooks, the consequences of an IS victory and takeover of the entire country are too serious for us to allow.  But the Iraqis need us a lot more than we need them, and an insistence that they make a serious effort to get their house in order is the least we should demand.