The Truth about Iraq’s Security

Despite their claim that there “is no higher priority than continuing to train, equip and mentor Iraqi armed and police forces,” the White House continues to shortchange Iraq’s security forces while wildly inflating their size and capabilities to the American people, according to a new GAO report. We combed through the document so you don’t have to — below are some of the more disturbing findings:

White House Still Misleading about Progress in Iraq:

— U.S. government agencies do not report reliable data on the extent to which Iraqi security forces are trained and equipped. [p.2] — The reported number of Iraqi police is unreliable because the Ministry of Interior does not receive consistent and accurate reporting from the police forces around the country. The data does not exclude police absent from duty. [p.2] — The reported number of security forces overstates the number actually serving. Ministry of Interior reports, for example, include police who are absent without leave in its totals. Ministry of Defense reports exclude the absent military personnel from its totals. According to DOD officials, the number of absentees is probably in the tens of thousands. [p.8] — The departments of State and Defense no longer report on the extent to which Iraqi security forces are equipped with their required weapons, vehicles, communications equipment, and body armor. [p.4]

U.S. Must Invest in Faltering Iraqi Forces:

— Coalition leadership has yet to develop a system to assess the readiness of Iraqi military and police forces so they can identify weaknesses and provide them with effective support. [p.4] — Many police remain untrained and unvetted, according to Department of Defense (DOD) officials. [p.6] — Recent reports indicate that some Iraqi security personnel continue to cooperate with insurgents. For example, a February 2005 report cited instances of insurgent infiltration of Iraqi police forces. Police manning a checkpoint in one area were reporting convoy movements by mobile telephone to local terrorists. Police in another area were infiltrated by former regime elements. [p.17]