Monday, 1 December 2014

The Phantom Army

The quick nature in Iraq of ISIS suddenly moving south and taking over a big chunk of Iraq.....has been largely unexplained in the news media circles.  Everyone basically gave a free ticket to ISIS and just said they had superior capabilities, and left it at that.

This week, it's come out that an investigative arm of Iraq has been looking at one single issue....men in uniform.....Iraqi Army troops.

They've reached this conclusion....they think 50,000 troops that are on the payroll.....getting $600 a month as pay.....are non-existent.

Yeah, it's a bit hard to believe.

If you sit down and examine the pay, the training, the uniforms, the barracks, and various aspects of the military pay requirements......you'd need roughly $350 million to cover everything.  But what they say is that various officers were in the middle of this scheme....pretending they had some many troops under them.....but were just skimming off the top.  An extra ten troops here ($6,000 a month).....an extra forty troops there ($24,000).....and you got yourself a decent house, a new Mercedes, and a good lifestyle.

The hope was.....you'd never have to go into battle without your forty men.  You can imagine this phantom unit in existence.....on the books with 400 troops.  But as you walked around the barracks and compound.....you just never saw more than 200 troops.  No one said much.....and why would you worry?  Unless of course, ISIS came knocking.

The thing that bothers me is that the US was also paying out training funds, and they likely used the same books.  So when the Pentagon said they'd trained the whole 114th Brigade of 400 men.....the odds are that they only trained half that many, and still paid a full rate for the other 200 non-existent men.  The bullets and weapons handed out?  Hard to say.  Maybe they still exist but I doubt it.

The logic on how ISIS moved so fast across Iraq?  Well.....they just weren't that good.  They met Iraqi military units that were undermanned and unable to sustain a decent defense.  Nothing more than that.

Will anyone go to jail?  I doubt it.  Should they pay the money back?  Well, it'd be the right thing to do but the money is already spent.

Years and decades from now.....history will be written over the vast offensive that the ISIS folks mounted in Iraq in 2013.  The whole story will be centered around a non-existent Iraqi army.  And the public will simply not believe that such a thing could happen.  

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