Did you ever wonder how the sectarian death squads in Baghdad can roam the streets all night, torturing people in their Iraqi government issue uniforms, then show up for work the next morning fresh as a daisy? Wonder no longer.
I finally decided I should read the Baker Hamilton report, commissioned by the U.S. Congress and written by a bi-partisan study group. Here is the answer, on page 13 of the report:
Soldiers are on leave one week a month so that they can visit their families and take them their pay. Soldiers are paid in cash because there is no banking system. Soldiers are given leave liberally and face no penalties for absence without leave. Unit readiness rates are low often at 50 per cent or less.
What a job. Work three weeks out of four, then take off. If you need more time off, just take it. You can even get a second job moonlighting with a sectarian militia, using your official uniform and weapon.
Here is my solution for eliminating death squads. Get time clocks, something mechanical that can’t be bribed. Offer lots of overtime. Pay the soldiers who work overtime. Don’t pay the soldiers when they don’t work. Gradually give the hours of the soldiers who aren’t showing up for work to the soldiers who are showing up for work. Let them know that’s what you are doing. When the soldiers are all working eighty hours a week, they won’t have the time or energy to join death squads.
If you haven’t read the Baker Hamilton report yet, it is online here:
You can also get more information about the report by searching Wikipedia under “Iraq study group”.