View Full Version : IRAQ: Privileges, plus responsibilities

02-28-08, 01:26 PM
IRAQ: Privileges, plus responsibilities

One of the goals of the U.S. in training the Iraqi army is to alter the relationship between enlisted personnel and officers. It's a slow process: Habits ingrained over decades are difficult to change.

Like a lot of armies, particularly those in the old Soviet model, the former Iraqi army worked on the premise that the enlisted existed to serve the officers. The U.S. military works on the premise that while rank has its privileges, it also has its responsibilities.

When a problem arose and workers in the Iraqi chow hall at the Habbaniya training camp refused to admit the enlisted Iraqis, one of their officers breezed past and enjoyed his meal while dozens of hungry soldiers waited outside.

A Marine trainer quietly told the officer that this was not a good way to win the respect and loyalty of his men. Several days later, the same officer went to the Marines to complain that his enlisted men did not have enough blankets in the barracks.

"I consider that a victory," said Marine Gunner Stuart White, who runs the training program.

— Tony Perry in Habbaniya