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.