Iraq: June 2, 2003

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Demobilizing the Iraqi army will mean making lump sum payments to the full time professionals below the rank of colonel. This includes the senior NCOs. Most of the troops were conscripts, who didn't get paid much anyway and were content just to go home and be done with the unpopular army service. Colonels and generals will have to prove they were not Baath party activists before they can receive any severance pay. These officers were almost always active Baath party members and used their army jobs for personal gain. Corruption was widespread in Iraq, and Saddam encouraged it so that everyone was "guilty" if he had to dump them.

To deal with the unemployment problem, which Saddam used as means of controlling the population (government jobs were doled out to supporters), the coalition is hiring hundreds of thousands of Iraqis for public works projects. Saddam allowed the nations infrastructure to largely fall apart over the last two decades.

Iraqis are being allowed to keep their rifles and pistols as long as they keep them at home and are not caught on the street with them. But coalition troops are demanding that RPGs, machine-guns and other heavy weapons. Many Iraqis with these weapons will not turn them in because there is a black market for the heavier weapons and no one wants to lose that kind of money.

 

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