November 5, 2003

From the ground up...

If you are one of the people who thinks we should have kept Saddam's army intact, read this, by Walter Slocombe, Director for National Security and Defense in the CPA.

He has a lot of good reasons why we didn't. Here's one crazy fact I didn't know:

...Thus any recalled "army" would have consisted almost entirely of officers from the absurdly top-heavy senior ranks. The Iraqi army -- with a payroll of 500,000, almost exactly the size of the American Army -- had 11,000 generals (the United States has 307) and 14,000 colonels (the United States has 3,500).
Of course, the main reason is that we want Iraq to have a very different sort of army. Not an Arab "coup army," but a real army. And that means rebuilding from the ground up.
....All this does not mean we should spurn the many individual Iraqi veterans willing to serve the new Iraq. On the contrary, they have been welcomed and even actively recruited. About 60 percent of the privates in the New Iraqi Army, and virtually all the officers and NCOs, have military experience. Other new security forces, such as the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps and the Facilities Protection Service, have taken in many thousands of former soldiers. Only those who served in Hussein's inner circles of security and control forces, or who reached the top four ranks of the Baath Party (about 8,000 out of nearly a quarter-million officers and NCOs in the old army) are ineligible to join the New Iraqi Army and other security forces. Although we have not so far recruited officers whose former rank was above lieutenant colonel, that is because we have not yet needed more senior ranks. As the army (and other security forces) grow, higher-ranking officers with clean records will be considered, along with potential promotions from the new organizations...

Posted by John Weidner at November 5, 2003 7:48 AM
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