We were told the surge was gonna be some kind of shoulder to shoulder operation shared between Iraqis and US troops. Turns out the Iraqi participation is another part of the great flop that is the “surge.”
One immediate goal, set this month by Petraeus, is to add 20,000 soldiers to the Iraqi army alone, so that each combat battalion will be filled to 120 percent of its official manpower. That number does not include tens of thousands more Iraqi soldiers who will be required to fill vacant slots in the country’s army, which has an annual attrition rate of 15 to 18 percent.
The extra manpower is partly needed because roughly 25 percent of Iraqi soldiers are on leave at any given time. The requirement is particularly acute for Iraqi army battalions rotating into Baghdad, because roughly a quarter of their troops stay behind in their home provinces to guard bases and towns. “A deployable army for the entire nation is somewhat of a new concept for them,” Dempsey said.
He pointed out that when units showed up in Baghdad at 50 percent strength for their 90-day rotations, the American officers were upset, but “senior military leaders of the Iraqi government were kind of pleased that they had gotten 50 percent to come.”