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[casi] Pentagon: Many of New Iraq Soldiers Quit

Dear List,

I don't suppose we can blame the resignations on
Ba’thists who don’t want Iraq to develop..

Perhaps those guys will remain in service if they are
paid salaries on par with those proposed for a
secretary for a certain project. After all, those guys
would be sacrificing their lives on the job, and it
should certainly be rewarded with a better salary than
a secretary’s. Especially now that we are told by GWB
that those who sacrifice more are better rewarded...


Pentagon: Many of New Iraq Soldiers Quit

Thu Dec 11, 1:50 PM ET

By PAULINE JELINEK, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - Efforts to create a new Iraqi army to
help take over the country's security have suffered a
setback with the resignations of more than one-third
of the soldiers trained so far, officials say.
The recruits said they were unhappy with salaries and
other terms of employment, so the U.S. occupation
authority will review those issues, an authority
official said Thursday.

Promoted as essential to Iraq (news - web sites)'s
future, the army's first 700-man battalion lost some
250 men over recent weeks as they were preparing to
begin operations this month, Pentagon (news - web
sites) officials said.

In Baghdad, the authority official who briefed
reporters Thursday on condition of anonymity said
salaries and terms and conditions of employment would
be compared with the other security services in Iraq
such as police and border guards.

The official said current salaries — at least for
low-level troops — far outweighed those in the Army
under ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein (news - web
sites). Recruits earn $50 per month, privates $60, and
colonels $180, compared with $2 for recruits under

It was unclear whether the soldiers who remained would
be sent out for duty, officials said.

The battalion was highly celebrated when the newly
retrained soldiers, marching to the beat of a U.S.
Army band, completed a nine-week basic training course
in early October. The graduates, including 65
officers, were to be the core "of an army that will
defend its country and not oppress it," Iraq's
American administrator, L. Paul Bremer, said at the

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and other
officials have repeatedly trumpeted the growth of
Iraqi security forces, announcing breakneck speed in
recruiting and training.

"Across the country, Iraqi security forces — now
number close to 160,000 — are assuming more
responsibility for the security of their country,"
Rumsfeld said at the Pentagon on Tuesday.

He did not mention the problem with the army recruits.
Officials said Wednesday they were unaware of any
other sizable resignations from the rest of the
160,000 new Iraqi security groups, which they said
includes 68,000 police, 13,200 civil defense forces,
65,300 guards at facilities and infrastructure and
12,500 border police.

The crumbling of Iraq's first revived army battalion
holds considerable symbolism because Bush
administration officials have placed great importance
on handing to Iraqis some of the duties performed by
the 130,000 Americans now occupying the country.

About three-quarters of the recruits in the first
battalion also were soldiers of the 400,000-man Iraq
army that fell apart under U.S.-British attack seven
months ago. Bremer formally dissolved the old Iraqi
army in May.

A second battalion still is in training. The American
plan calls for building a 40,000-man force of light
infantry battalions by next October, after which a
sovereign Iraq government can decide on the eventual
size and makeup of its military.

The administration plans to spend some $2 billion to
rebuild the Iraqi army in the next year.

The new units were to take on largely passive defense
duties, such as border security and manning road

Bremer has said officials are working to speed up the
training of Iraqi soldiers and police to cope with new
security threats following a rise in attacks by

Recruiting is done by U.S. authorities and training is
led by civilian instructors — mostly ex-U.S. military
men from the U.S. defense contractor Vinnell Corp.

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