The Pentagon is asking Congress for $1.2 billion to train and equip the bedraggled Iraqi Army in the coming year in the battle against ISIS – but just finding the soldiers to train may pose a major challenge. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi disclosed Sunday that his country’s army has been paying the salaries of at least 50,000 soldiers who simply don’t exist. In this latest wrinkle in the long, sorry saga of corruption within the Iraqi military, the fictitious soldiers have been kept on the payroll in a major scam by senior officers.
President Obama’s plan to defeat the terror group ISIS partially hinges on training and upgrading the Iraqi army – but corruption potentially adds to the cost of what is already a very expensive proposition. The U.S. is spending roughly $7 million to $10 million a day on the air war against ISIS in northern Iraq and parts of Syria – and that doesn’t include the cost of war planes. Gordon Adams, a prominent military analyst at American University, recently estimated that the mission to stop ISIS will cost $15 billion to $20 billion a year.
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