An important post with huge implications not just for the surge but for the Iraqi army’s capabilities across the country. If you thought phantom cops were a problem in New Orleans during Katrina, imagine ordering a company of soldiers into battle against Al Qaeda and finding out you’ve only really got a platoon.
A former MiTTer described how “ghost soldiers” result in both American and Iraqi deaths by compromising security operations in Fallujah.
“Let’s say there are 500 soldiers reported on staff; there will really be only 300, but someone up the line will report 500 and pocket the extra pay,” said the former MiTT member who insisted on anonymity. Having fewer actual soldiers available for patrols and other missions exposes both Iraqi and U.S. soldiers to more lethal attacks by insurgents, he said. The reduced manpower allows insurgents “freedom of movement” to both stage attacks and plant Improvised Explosive Devices, the number one killer of U.S. and Iraqi soldiers and police.
“There’s always some level of corruption going on, and that’s one thing, but when it’s getting people killed, it’s unacceptable,” he angrily explained.