In the latest example of just how great the Iraqi troops are being trained, or where their allegiances may lie (probably first and foremost it lies with saving their own asses), we have this bit of news from earlier today:
Gunmen in Iraqi army uniforms burst into Red Crescent offices on Sunday and kidnapped more than two dozen people at the humanitarian organization in the latest sign of the country's growing lawlessness.
While the article and other early reports don’t indicate whether these gunmen were actual Iraqi forces, were members of the army that was so brilliantly disbanded after the initial invasion, stole the uniforms or were given the uniforms by members of the current Iraqi army – it does indicate one thing:
Things could very well be worse than even we think.
If this is part of the
“stay the course” “new way forward”, then it certainly seems as though it is a lot closer to what Roger Daltrey sang back in the early 70’s when he said “meet the new boss.....same as the old boss”. As for that “humanitarian organization” – well it is none other than the Red Crescent, which is part of the International Red Cross, and has over 200,000 volunteers and staff in Iraq.
As I wondered above – while this may not actually be the Iraqi police, this event from last week certainly was an Iraqi officer:
A nephew of Saddam Hussein's who was serving a life sentence for financing insurgents and possessing bombs escaped from prison yesterday in northern Iraq with the help of a police officer, authorities said.
Or this story from under two months ago which talks about the Shiite militia infiltrating the Iraqi police force. And not just low level forces either:
The signs of the militias are everywhere at the Sholeh police station.
Posters celebrating Moqtada al-Sadr, head of the Mahdi Army militia, dot the building's walls. The police chief sometimes remarks that Shiite militias should wipe out all Sunnis. Visitors to this violent neighborhood in the Iraqi capital whisper that nearly all the police officers have split loyalties.
And then one rainy night this month, the Sholeh police set up an ambush and killed Army Cpl. Kenny F. Stanton Jr., a 20-year-old budding journalist, his unit said. At the time, Stanton and other members of the unit had been trailing a group of Sholeh police escorting known Mahdi Army members.
“Standing up so we can stand down”. Killing American troops that were supposed to be training them. Police Chiefs calling for genocide. Please tell me how 20,000 or even 50,000 more troops will do anything at all to stop this from continuing to spiral out of control? From the same Washington Post article:
Seventy percent of the Iraqi police force has been infiltrated by militias, primarily the Mahdi Army, according to Shaw and other military police trainers. Police officers are too terrified to patrol enormous swaths of the capital. And while there are some good cops, many have been assassinated or are considering quitting the force.
U.S. military reports on the Iraqi police often read like a who's who of the two main militias in Iraq: the Mahdi Army, also known as Jaish al-Mahdi or JAM, and the Badr Organization, also known as the Badr Brigade or Badr Corps.
Seventy percent? SEVENTY FUCKING PERCENT of the Iraqi police are under the control of various militia? This is standing up? This is “progress”? This is state authorized genocide.
What do our own troops have to say about the predicament they are in? Well, an article in today’s LA Times paints a bleak picture about Iraqi troops, leadership in the Iraqi army and the lack of trust that the US troops have:
As U.S. forces train Iraqis to take more responsibility in fighting insurgents in Al Anbar province, they say that leadership in the Iraqis' enlisted ranks remains in short supply.
An Iraqi army unit here sagged after the death of one of its soldiers, whom Marines nicknamed Sgt. Barnes after a hard-nosed character in the movie "Platoon." And Marines say the unit's combat effectiveness fell apart after a sergeant they respected was killed by a roadside bomb.
A year ago the Marine Corps changed its priorities to emphasize the training of Iraqi security forces. At this station, Marines and Iraqi soldiers went on joint missions but details often had to be withheld from the Iraqis for fear they would inform the insurgents.
"You want to trust them, but you really can't," said Lance Cpl. Robert Warren, 20.
A report by the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) last month had some gruesome findings and also pointed out that:
UNAMI's Human Rights Office received continuing reports that the police and security forces are either infiltrated or act in collusion with militias, while police and military security operations continued to be based on massive sweeps.
Notice that none of this is all that old. In fact, I don’t think that any of these reports linked above were from before the last week in October. What can honestly be done by our troops when (1) they can’t trust the forces they are supposed to be training in the first place, (2) the police forces are overrun with members of Shiite militias whose sole purpose is to kill as many Sunnis as possible, (3) the number of properly trained Iraqi units is hovering around zero more than three years after the occupation began and most importantly (4) noone in the Iraqi government or in any position of power wants to (or can do) anything to reverse this trend.
Our troops are in an impossible situation. They have been from the beginning. They have done all that they could, given the situation, the tools, guidance, armor, equipment (or lack thereof) they were provided. To have an impact here, we need another 300,000 troops, at a minimum. If that isn’t going to happen (and given the fact that an overwhelming majority of Americans want us the hell out of dodge within six months), then there is only one thing left to do.
Bring our troops home now. Things are already completely out of control. They will be out of control whether we stay or not. We might as well protect our own country and our own troops.