Polished tanks

Blogger and freelance embed journalist Bill Ardolino finds that some pay, body armor and weapon shortages in the new Iraqi army are due to corruption among senior commanders, affecting day-to-day operations and the lives of everyone below them:

"Perhaps half of the Iraqi Army in Fallujah, primarily the ‘Jundi’ soldiers at the bottom of the pay scale, haven’t been paid in months. As a result, 160 soldiers in the Iraqi Third Battalion recently walked off the job because of missed salaries. The supposed number of soldiers in the battalion was about 700, yet the loss of 160 reduced the unit’s real strength by half. Fuel and equipment shortages greatly influenced by corruption also hamper operations."

Corruption among generals and colonels was believed to be common in the defunct South Vietnamese army, as well, where the commander’s traditional waxed jeep often extended to polished tanks and personnel carriers. Lots of gold-plating, in other words, indicating units organized for something other than fighting. Hopefully the Iraqis can stop it before it worsens.

0 responses to “Polished tanks

  1. Yeah, that problem is pretty endemic to all militaries in the region. It’s a true culture of corruption. Fortunately, there’s no North Iraqi Army armed by the Soviets to roll in and crush them.
    (I think it’s Bill Ardolino you’re referring to.)

  2. Thanks for the correction. It is, indeed, Ardolino, and I fixed it. No northern army, as you say, just troops and explosives coming in from Syria and Iran.

  3. Yeah, it’s like fighting only the VC and not the NVA. And the VC were crushed years before the NVA conquered SV.
    Fortunately, insurgencies that can’t field a regular army pretty much always lose in the end.

  4. Well, let’s hope. I wonder, though, if the Iraq one couldn’t go on as long as Syria and Iran want to help with fresh recruits and weapons.