Tuesday, November 30, 2004

 

At least a decade?

I hate to be negative about Iraq - I really do - lest I be seen as desiring a U.S. defeat. Which I certainly don't, but how can one remain sunnily positive after reading this?
U.S. Officials Say Iraq's Forces Founder Under Rebel Assaults

By RICHARD A. OPPEL Jr. and JAMES GLANZ

MOSUL, Iraq, Nov. 29 - Iraqi police and national guard forces, whose performance is crucial to securing January elections, are foundering in the face of coordinated efforts to kill and intimidate them and their families, say American officials in the provinces facing the most violent insurgency.

For months, Iraqi recruits for both forces have been the victims of assassinations and car bombs aimed at lines of applicants as well as police stations. On Monday morning, a suicide bomber rammed a car into a group of police officers waiting to collect their salaries west of Ramadi, killing 12 people, Interior Ministry officials said.

While Bush administration officials say that the training is progressing and that there have been instances in which the Iraqis have proved tactically useful and fought bravely, local American commanders and security officials say both Iraqi forces are riddled with problems.

In the most violent provinces, they say, the Iraqis are so intimidated that many are reluctant to show up and do not tell their families where they work; they have yet to receive adequate training or weapons, present a danger to American troops they fight alongside, and are unreliable because of corruption, desertion or infiltration.

Given the weak performance of Iraqi forces, any major withdrawal of American troops for at least a decade would invite chaos, a senior Interior Ministry official, whose name could not be used, said in an interview last week.

South of Baghdad, where American troops are still trying to drive out insurgents after the recent offensive in Falluja, American officers warn their own troops to be prepared to "duck and cover" to avoid stray shots fired by Iraqi recruits.
"At least a decade."

"'Duck and cover' to avoid stray shots fired by Iraqi recruits."

And, according to our Fearless Leader, the war is going well? Blow me over, I'd hate to try to imagine what it would be like if it were going badly!
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