One note about this number, 275,000. I had lunch with my uncle today, in town for a conference from his duties as Sgt Maj for the 1 MEF (the whole MEF) in Iraq. He works rather closely with the Iraqi forces out in al-Anbar province, and he reported that at any given time, 25% of all Iraqi forces are on leave. Why? there are no ATMs in Iraq. The soldiers get paid in cash, and they have to go home after each pay-day to hand the money to their families. So, with this in mind, this force of 275,000 only has 206,250 soldiers available on any given day.I've blogged about this before, chiefly because as well as reducing availability this is a terrible security risk. The regular reports from Iraq that several dozen soldiers have been taken off a bus and machine-gunned are caused by this mad practice. There may be no ATMs in Iraq, but in 1914 the British army's mobilisation plan foresaw that each married reservist's family could draw a proportion of his pay, in cash, in their home town. After three years, they still haven't hit on the idea.
Can anyone think of a good reason why not? I suspect it's simply that, with people queuing in suicide-bomber magnet lines outside the recruiting stations, they don't care enough to fix it when they can just buy in more cannon fodder. After all, they still get blown up queueing outside the recruiting stations and nobody's cared enough to deal with that.