The ineptitude of the Iraqi Army...
Wonder why it is taking so long to get the Iraqi troops up and running, this article from the Washington Times indicates that the Iraqi troops may be more loyal to the militias than the country.
BAGHDAD -- The plan was simple: Iraqi troops would block escape routes while U.S. soldiers searched for weapons house by house. But the Iraqi troops didn't show up on time.
When they finally did appear, the Iraqis ignored U.S. orders and let dozens of cars -- including an ambulance full of armed militiamen -- pass through checkpoints in eastern Baghdad, American soldiers said in recent interviews.
It wasn't an isolated incident, they added.
U.S. commanders have hailed the performance of Iraqi troops in the crackdown on militias and insurgents in Baghdad. But some U.S. soldiers say the Iraqis serving alongside them are among the worst they've ever seen -- seeming more loyal to militias than the government.
Last week, for example, Sgt. 1st Class Eric Sheehan discovered that barriers and concertina wire that were supposed to bolster defensive positions had been dragged away -- again -- under the noses of nearby Iraqi soldiers.
I "suggest we fire these IAs and get them out of the way," Sgt. Sheehan, of Jennerstown, Pa., reported to senior officers, referring to Iraqi army troops.
Re: The ineptitude of the Iraqi Army...
They've certainly had their ups and downs over there, but lets remember that the coalition is trying to build an Army from scratch. For those in the public who don't understand how difficult a task this is, and think that building an army consitutes a boot camp, uniform, and rifle, you need to check yourself. The job at hand is very difficult, and will take a very large amount of time. The reasons for this are obvious. You need to recruit, train, equip, structure, and deploy the IA. These are 3rd world recruits. The task is daunting. Not impossible, just difficult. To expect the army to be top notch in a couple of years time is illogical. If you read real articles from real soldiers who are there, you come to understand the real problems and/or progress that's being made. Newsweek had a pretty decent article from an embed. It's worth a read. It cites some of the problems, and some of the progress being made. Remember that with time, and with each successful mission, leadership and confidence is being built. The biggest problem the coalition has had in building the IA has been with finding good officers. Finding leaders in a nation that was run through oppresive fear is difficult. It's why it will take some time to find some.
Forty-five minutes, four enemy RPGs, two wounded Iraqi soldiers, and a handful of Brandon outbursts later, the mission is coming to a close. The Iraqi soldiers are making steady ground up the street, and have caught six suspected insurgents and killed four enemy combatants. Most of the Iraqi soldiers are beaming with pride. But not U.S. Sgt. William Thomas Fraas. He points across the square to two Iraqi soldiers who are kicking a detainee in the rear as they lead him off towards their humvee. “I have to go over there and tell them to stop beating him up,” says Fraas. “That’s lucky,” says one American private. “The Iraqi Army usually kills them.” He explains the Americans’ dilemma: “We can’t witness them beating them up. We can’t fight the war for them. We’ve got to tell them what to do—they’re like a bunch of kids.”
Back at FOB Apache some 20 minutes later, the tension has subsided as Brandon’s men gather for a debriefing. “I was dying—and I know you guys were dying—to get in there, but I wanted to let Tarek do it,” Brandon says. “Tarek is notorious for not making his own decisions, for not sticking his neck out. But today he said, ‘F--- what my boss says.’ Today, the Iraqi Army stayed and fought the enemy and the politics, and they hit their objective.”
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