About that legion of new Iraqi forces

By Jeff Horwitz
Published October 1, 2004 6:06AM (EDT)

Twice during Thursday night's debate President Bush proclaimed that Iraq now has 100,000 of its own troops ready to protect the country, and that the number will go to 125K by the end of the year, and 200K the following. Sounds like great news -- but it's not accurate.

According to the Department of Defense's own documents, obtained by Reuters, "only about 53,000 of the 100,000 Iraqis on duty now have undergone training."

Moreover, "of the nearly 90,000 currently in the [Iraqi] police force, only 8,169 have had the full eight-week academy training. Another 46,176 are listed as 'untrained,' and it will be July 2006 before the administration reaches its new goal of a 135,000-strong, fully trained police force.

"Six Army battalions have had 'initial training,' while 57 National Guard battalions, 896 soldiers in each, are still being recruited or 'awaiting equipment.' Just eight Guard battalions have reached 'initial (operating) capability,' and the Pentagon acknowledged the Guard's performance has been 'uneven.'"

Jeff Horwitz

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