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thedrifter
08-10-04, 08:21 AM
08-09-2004 <br />
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Could Iraqis Really Be This Bad? <br />
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Iraqi security forces developing -- slowly <br />
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By PAMELA HESS

thedrifter
08-10-04, 08:22 AM
At a shooting range at Al Qaim, near the Syrian border a small group of Marines is working with 13 members of the ING in a three-week training course, what the Marines are calling, for the Iraqis' benefit, "commando training."

They've already been through about six weeks of training. The group began with about 20 members, but seven have dropped out or been kicked out.

When they graduate they will get the coveted red beret and a pistol, a sign of prestige in a country where everyone seems to have their own personal AK-47. With luck, this small elite force will return to their units and provide the kind of leadership that has been lacking.

The 1st Marine Division commander, Maj. Gen. Jim Mattis, has put a considerable amount of thought into the problems posed by the Iraqi security force, and has turned the American approach to training new forces inside out.

"Instead of going for capability, we're going for credibility first," Mattis explained. "We just reversed our way of looking at it. But we're in Iraq and if they look sharp, maybe we can get their hearts in the game."

"We don't care how well-trained they are until we know we can depend on them," Mattis said in a huddle with the Marine trainers as the 13 men behind them shot AK-47s at paper targets. "We don't want to be training the enemy."

It's hoped that giving the security forces boots, matching uniforms, body armor - the hallmarks of authority in a country long ruled by a military leader - will translate to credibility.

"You and I have never been in a place without respect, without any control over your life," Mattis said.

Durrant offered a concrete example. Eight weeks ago he went on a patrol with a group of eight ING soldiers and six Marines in Kharma, a town north of Fallujah.

"It was a very good patrol. I was very comfortable with it," he said. "But the (Iraqi) guys were actually kind of clownish looking. They didn't have boots. Some of them were wearing dress shoes, some of them were wearing tennis shoes. One guy had sandals, and they all had mix-and-match uniforms.

"The kids all laughed at them and pointed because they didn't look like soldiers. We finally got uniforms and boots on them, and the locals look at them with respect. Because they look like soldiers," he said.

In the meantime, the Marines are selecting promising recruits and giving them special attention in the hope they will be able to inspire their comrades to embrace a degree of professionalism.

There are places where it is working. In Hit, Haditha and Annah, the police are operating well, sometimes in concert with the ING.

In Hit there are 1,100 police on the payroll. Tucker acknowledges there is corruption - bribery is practically a way of life here - but he is optimistic.

"I think it's on its way to normalcy."

In Haditha, a Marine platoon has moved in with the security forces, which makes a big difference. One of the truths of Iraq is that Marines sleep behind wire and guards. Iraqi security forces have to go home at night, where they are exposed to all manner of danger for their association with the Americans.

"When the transfer of government came, it was like a light switch went on," in Haditha, Tucker said.

Annah, a small town to the north, "is kind of an island of stability. They have largely spurned the U.S. presence, and it seems to be working for them," Tucker said.

Annah held an election and selected a mayor and town council to whom the police answer.

"The first time we did a raid there, the police chief came up to me after and said, 'Why don't you just tell me what you want and I'll do it?'" Tucker said. The arrangement has worked out.

"We're getting there in some places," Durrant concurred. "There were Marines watching (a recent battle in Ramadi at the government center), and the Iraqis were fighting the insurgents. They were charging in with machine guns like John Wayne. They had one shot in the shoulder, one in the stomach and they killed two insurgents. We could have helped them, but they didn't want it. That's local control. And that's one of the definitions for us to leave."

http://www.sftt.org/cgi-bin/csNews/csNews.cgi?database=Special%20Reports.db&command=viewone&op=t&id=289&rnd=928.6502254836439


Ellie

MillRatUSMC
08-10-04, 12:25 PM
Don't tell this isn't like Vietnam!
Under-trained, laying around because they're well supplied.
Shades of the South Vietnamese!
We see big numbers of the security forces for Iraq.
Now we see this...which is the 'truth"?
I'm sitting here shaking my head in disbelief.
Now a question comes to mind;
"Who lying?"
At this rate, we'll be there for another 12 to 15 years that means that we'll be in that region for over 30 years!
With no end in sight.
Got to finish reading "The Generals Wars".
There was no end game for Desert Storm, is there now an end game for Iraqi Freedom I and II?
General Colin Powell warned about becoming involved in post war Iraq during Desert Storm.
When did our thinking change on occupation and nation building of Iraq?
God, what a mess!

Semper Fidelis/Semper Fi
Ricardo

MillRatUSMC
08-10-04, 12:26 PM
Correction...

Under-trained, laying around because they're not well supplied.

Sorry...

Semper Fidelis/Semper Fi
Ricardo

Toby M
08-10-04, 03:42 PM
Col. Durrant might be a little more careful about being so vocal. Our politicians don't like to have that kind of publicity-it makes them look bad. Durrant could find himself re-assigned to the North Pole region in December! Doesn't matter that his is right in his complaints...