Iraqi Military

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The Urban Legend

Tale: The message behind the tales below is to imply that the new Iraqi military is almost ready to teake on the security of Iraq against insurgents Examples:

  • Did you know that the Iraqi Navy is operational? They have five 100-foot patrol craft, 34 smaller vessels and a navel infantry regiment
  • The new Iraqi Army is on active duty and has 200,000 members
  • Did you know that Iraq's Air Force consists of three operation squadrons, 9 reconnaissance and 3 US C-130 transport aircraft which operate day and night, and will soon add 16 UH-1 helicopters and 4 bell jet rangers?
  • Did you know that Iraq has a counter-terrorist unit and a Commando Battalion?
  • the first battalion of the new Iraqi Army has graduated and is on active duty

Status:False

One line rebuttal: As we learned in the Pentagon's own 2005 budget report, Iraq's military can barely equip one army batallion

Source: Several e-mails have been circulating describing Iraq's "advances" under US occupation and Rumsfeld's March 2004 interview with Wolf Blitzer

Snopes: This particular e-mail entitled Did You Know This? managed to appear in Snopes Urban Legends pages. This particular assertion is not disputed by Snopes, who says These types of items are generally impossible to categorize with a single truth value because they typically contain a mixture of fact, opinion, subjective statements, inaccuracies, and literally true but often misleading claims.

Investigation:The tale builds on Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld declarations such as The new Iraqi Army is on active duty and has 200,000 members Rumsfeld Interview March 14, 2004 and on a Coalition Provisional Authority briefing given by L. Paul Bremer..

The asserion has been declared false by Sen. Biden (D) and others who have been running around telling anyone who'll listen that this was all lies. Definitive proof was obtained when the Pentagon released it's supplemental budget bill [PDF] on Feb 14 2005.

As Kos writes on his piece Iraq's hollow military: the Defense Department now admits in a $5.7 billion request to train local troops, there are hardly any Iraqi forces that are able to put up a fight

.. only one of the 90 batallions fielded by the Iraqi armed forces is combat capable. The others have no vehicles, no ammunition, no fuel, and very little in the way of weapons.

Examples:

Only one of the 90 batallions fielded by the Iraqi armed forces is combat capable, as we see Iraq's hollow military

  • Did you know that the Iraqi Navy is operational? They have five 100-foot patrol craft, 34 smaller vessels and a navel infantry regiment

So they must be worse of than in Saddams time as we see in this globalsecurity.org summary: As of late 2002.. The Iraqi navy consisted of three major surface classes... (and) ... numerous units of smaller patrol boat size.. Iraq is estimated to have more than 150 of these smaller boats... The Iraqi Navy had about 600 personnel total..

  • Did you know that Iraq's Air Force consists of three operation squadrons, 9 reconnaissance and 3 US C-130 transport aircraft which operate day and night, and will soon add 16 UH-1 helicopters and 4 bell jet rangers?

Again this is not up to 2002 levels as we can see in this summary

  • Did you know that Iraq has a counter-terrorist unit and a Commando Battalion?

On a country of 25 million people, with insurgent attacks happening daily across all major cities ONE unit can do little. There were NO terror attacks in Iraq soil prior to US' invasion

  • the first battalion of the new Iraqi Army has graduated and is on active duty

As we learn on Iraqi army, police force fall short on training this didn't help much: more than half of (Iraq's) first battalion deserted Some of the remaining soldiers had not mastered such basic skills as marching in formation or responding correctly to radio calls, The Washington Post reported at the time.

One year after the first training contracts were issued, the Iraqi army has only 6,700 troops – slightly more than half the size of the Los Angeles police force – and fewer than half of them have received training

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