Morale: Betrayed In Iraq


September 11, 2009: A major reason for poor morale in the Iraqi security forces (army and police) is the lack of long term medical care for wounded troops. In theory, the Iraqi government is supposed to allow badly wounded soldiers and police to retire on a pension (based on the extent of their injuries), and provide lifelong medical care for service connected injuries. But the government rarely does this, and keeps the wounded men on the payroll, while not providing continuing health care. The injured soldiers end up spending much of their military pay on needed medical care.

The wounded soldiers and police often can't do much because of their infirmities, but are always there as a reminded to troops what can happen if they are badly injured. This, understandably, is not good for morale. The government has long promised to pass a law authorizing long term health care, but it never seems to get through parliament. This increases disdain Iraqis have for their elected leaders. Corruption has long been a major problem in the Middle East, and in Iraq, Saddam and his cronies continued the tradition. The democratically elected government promised to eliminate the corruption, but that didn't happen. While billions were allocated, by parliament, for long overdue infrastructure (water, power, sanitation, roads) projects, a lot of this stuff never got built. The free press and democratic give and take at least got a lot of this stealing publicized. A few of the powerful thieves were prosecuted. But, so far, these powerful men have been able to use their influence, and stolen cash, to avoid prison. The stealing goes on, and the troops seethe with resentment and anger.



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