The Iraqi Ghost Army: The Equivalent Of Four Divisions Found To Be Nonexistent

250px-Army_of_the_deadIn movies like The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, a ghost army can be a decisive advantage for a besieged army. It appears that Iraq has not just a ghost army but one that is 50,000 strong. The “ghost soldiers” were discovered in an investigation as the latest example of corruption in the country where literally billions of dollars in U.S. aid have disappeared without a trace.

Iraq’s prime minister Haidar al-Abadi has promised to crackdown on the ghost soldiers, which is the equivalent to almost four full army divisions that do not actually exist.

However, the Iraqis do not refer to these fictitious soldiers as “ghosts” but rather “fadhaiyin” or “space men” — which would seem even more promising for a low-tech army. Here is the most interesting element. The spacemen are well known and condoned in the army. One officer explained that each officer is “allowed five guards. He’ll keep two, send three home and pocket their salary or an agreed percentage.” Then there is the large group at the brigade level where commanders typically have 40 or more soldiers who stay at home or don’t exist.”

So, after years of complaining about waste and corruption, this practice has been openly occurring as a standard operating procedure. Indeed, it leaves the lasting image of commanders receiving all of those anti-corruption memos and passing along the orders to their nonexistent subordinates while collecting their pay.

It turns out that it takes little to get rid of an army of ghosts, you just have to release them:

Source: ABC.Net

42 thoughts on “The Iraqi Ghost Army: The Equivalent Of Four Divisions Found To Be Nonexistent”

  1. Yet more proof that you cannot buy your way into a stable and just society. Every single life lost in Iraq was a waste. Every single dollar spent was a waste.

    Nothing dishonors the memory of our war dead than our refusal to admit we screwed the Middle East over by trying to manipulate the internal affairs of sovereign countries.

    Our soldiers deserve better than do die for a country where its own army cannot be expected to carry out their duty. If Iraqis refuse to die for their country, why should we accept the death of our soldiers on Iraq’s behalf?

    The only smart thing the US has ever done in Iraq was leaving when the Iraqi government demanded we leave. Let them die for their country, our soldiers deserve better than trying to repair the damage the US caused when it supported Saddam Hussein in ’79 because he hated the Shiietes as much as we did.

    Anyone outraged by more news about how our meddling in Iraq didn’t work is either ignorant of history or intentionally blind to it.

    The President has screwed up a lot of things, but he was right to pull out of Iraq, and he is completely stupid to go back in. Let Iraq and ISIL fight it out. We cannot fix this.

    1. Daniel – there is a long and dishonorable history of ‘ghost armies.’ This is not the first or the last. Some money was wasted, not all. Some decisions were bad, not all.

  2. So, now we know that there is corruption in government; the Iraqi government and the U.S. government. So, what’s new?

    Anyone who believes that there is anything “holy” in government is naive, and still believes in sugar plums, daises, and the Tooth Fairy. How many times does the government have to be caught, in yet, another lie for everyone to lose faith in this system? Yet, every two years we run to the Polls and vote. What are we voting for? Answer: a different set of crooks and hoodlums.

    Wake up and smell the bulls*it. I used the * in bulls*it in hope of not being deleted because of “foul” language. It’s funny how certain words are considered “inappropriate”, while what is in the news can be much, much, worse. So goes toe world of the hypocrite. The world is full of them.

  3. Any person with half a brain should have been able to draw a parallel between the US governments efforts to “Vietmanize” the blood-soaked boondoggle known as the Vietnam War and the US governments incompetent attempts 40 years later to “Iraqize” the elective war based wholly upon lies in Iraq.

    Both efforts were abysmal failures for all involved. The sole exception being the swollen and misbegotten profit margins of the merchants of death.

    PS Don’t forget the US governments specious efforts in Afghanistan.

    PPS How many millions of lives destroyed and dollars wasted does it take to learn a lesson?

  4. The only reason our taxpayer dollars disappeared without a trace in Iraq is no different than the reasons they disappear here at home… there is ZERO accountability from bureaucrats who think the money is theirs!

  5. Time to get out. Bismarck would see we finally have things as they should be over there, our enemies fighting among themselves, so it’s time to head to the sea.

  6. Is this similar to the ghost government we have? You know like the “gnomes of Zurich” author Taylor Caldwell talks about in her book Of Captains and Kings. Seems like things operate in the shadows in many areas in government and industry. Only the useful idiots that are used by these groups see glimpses of its operations just before they are thrown under the bus.Only the light of investigative truth can expose these activities. Only the brave will try.

  7. Corruption is especially bad in Iraq and Iran. I don’t know about Afghanistan.

    But it makes it very difficult to deal with them when corruption is so rife. I hate the waste of taxpayer dollars.

  8. Is it a surprise that we not only wasted lives of our servicemen and women in Iraq, but also Billions?

  9. Isn’t this par for government contracts? Don’t most of them contain a line item for “unplanned cost overruns” often up to 20% of the contract total?

  10. I would expect that the Iraqi ghost army is better trained and better in the field than its earthly and mortal counterpart.

  11. Not “less income tax” than his (six-figure-salaried) secretary, Isaac; Buffett pays far more in total taxes. It’s only an ostensibly lower average tax RATE because Buffett pays mostly the capital gains rate. Furthermore, if you include the corporate taxes already paid (Are those “ghost” taxes?!?), even the total tax rate on those earnings likely far exceeds that of his secretary.

    As I understand it, Buffett provides Obama fodder with which to lobby for higher income tax rates because, again, Buffett doesn’t pay much income tax at the personal income rates, and also Buffett needs Obama to continue to stall the Keystone XL pipeline that could damage Buffett’s BNSF investment. Ghost cronyism.

    Sorry to follow the off-topic lead, but hate to let that shoddy urban legend stand.

  12. Or Warren Buffet paying less income tax than his secretary. Even he said that was ridiculous. Must be that ‘Ghost’ income.

  13. It is just like the “no show” corrupt union jobs organized crime get on most every construction project in the northeast.

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