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WASHINGTON ? U.S. commanders and Bush administration officials are overstating the number of Iraqi security forces on duty, providing an inaccurate picture about the training mission that is the U.S. military's exit strategy for Iraq, a government audit agency said Monday.
The Pentagon in its latest figures said 142,000 Iraqis had been trained as police and soldiers. But the Government Accountability Office said those figures include tens of thousands of Iraqi policemen who had left their jobs without explanation.
In the shadow of a former Saddam Hussein palace on the banks of the Tigris River, a platoon of Iraqi army recruits hustled, on elbows and knees, toward a mock enemy bunker.
In Baghdad, Lt. Gen. David Petraeus, in overall command of training Iraqi security forces, told reporters that 145,000 Iraqis are now trained and equipped, although he noted that these are not all equally capable in combat.
Asked how many are elite fighters, Petraeus replied, ``It certainly has got to be on the order of 50,000 or so at this point.'' He described those as being ``in the fight directly'' against the insurgents. Later, Petraeus said he preferred not to provide an estimate, saying his 50,000 figure was a ``totally off-the-cuff number.''
In Washington, defense officials told a House panel that Iraqi security forces who are trained and equipped now number 142,472
Skilled troops from Hussein army may get booted again.
Iraq's fledgling security forces would be in danger of collapse if the newly elected government follows through on promises to purge the ranks of former regime members, politicians and analysts warn.
The dismantling of Saddam Hussein's military is widely viewed as one of the gravest mistakes of the U.S.-led occupation, and in the past year, the Bush administration has worked to reverse it by helping the interim Iraqi government restore the jobs of some highly skilled troops.
Now, analysts say, the incoming government led by Shi'ite Muslims is at risk of repeating the error blamed for swelling the mostly Sunni insurgency.
...More than 95 percent of the military personnel in Iraq report using e-mail, and nearly two-thirds say they use it three or more times a week, said Dr. Ender, who also is looking at subtler issues like whether officers, troops and families chose e-mail for certain types of messages - routine news, for example - and saved more personal topics for cellphone conversations. The capacity for such real-time, interactive communication has unquestionably aided military field operations, but researchers say the emotional and psychological impact on soldiers and their families is less clear.
A West Point-trained infantry officer faces at least nine years in prison after pleading guilty Monday to multiple charges surrounding a 2004 incident in which two Iraqi civilians were forced to plunge into the Tigris River. 1st Lt. Jack Saville said he knew from training at the U.S. Military Academy that it was wrong to participate in the punishment of the two curfew violators, one of whom drowned, according to family members.
Capt. Shawn Martin was so determined to find the thugs behind a July 2003 roadside bombing in Iraq that he ordered a man to dig his own grave in 110-degree heat. What Martin did next - and during other encounters with Iraqis - was criminal, prosecutors said Monday on the opening day of what could be a three-day court-martial.
A sensor at a Department of Defense mailroom in Fairfax County, Va., signaled the presence of a suspicious biological substance Monday, forcing hundreds of workers to remain inside three buildings for almost six hours.
Debra Burlingame, whose brother piloted the plane that crashed into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, couldn't believe it when she heard that someone was auctioning off a flag that allegedly survived the terrorist attack.
Whether you call it Bagram Air Base or Bagram airfield, the U.S. military facility in northeast Afghanistan is no longer just a glorified city of tents. Slowly, but steadily, a slew of construction projects is providing troops with better housing and improved work areas as well as a handful of new shops for eating and entertainment.
IWO JIMA, Japan ? Men once determined to kill one another met again this weekend, but this time in peace at a ceremony to pay tribute to warriors who never left this desolate island.
Pakistan has developed new illicit channels to upgrade its nuclear weapons program, despite efforts by the U.N. atomic watchdog to shut down all illegal procurement avenues, diplomats and nuclear experts said.
A judge has opened the way for the nation's most populous state to follow Massachusetts in allowing same-sex couples to tie the knot, but both sides in the debate predicted a vigorous court fight before California goes the way of its East Coast counterpart.
Wow - the auctioning of the Pentagon flag is unreal. I can understand the family problem but this is a piece of our history and it just appears so crass.Posted by Toni at March 15, 2005 02:06 PM
There will be a vast discrepancy in estimates of the trained and combat-ready Iraqi forces for some time to come. When I got out of boot camp and ITR at Pendleton I was trained, though far from combat ready. Fortunately I had some six months or so to work my way into my squad and platoon before the landings in Chu Lai. By then I knew what my comrades would do and what they expected me to do.
There is a huge difference between 'trained' and combat-ready. One could throw a platoon of even combat veteran professionals together and, until they train and work together, they won't be combat-ready.