Thursday, August 30, 2007

Training an Army

Brian Williams on tonight's NBC news reported on a situation that goes to prove what I've been saying about Iraq for years now. The report, from Richard Engel, is about the Kurdish region of Iraq, more properly called Kurdistan. The people there want a separate country, because they are not Arabs and they don't consider themselves Iraqis. They have a strong sense of national identity and a strong loyalty to the Free Kurdistan cause.

Since the fall of Saddam Hussein, Kurdistan has been allowed to have its own army, called the Peshmerga. The Peshmerga actually believe in the cause for which they are fighting, and their loyalty is straightforward and undivided--they want a free and peaceful homeland.

What I've been saying is that it doesn't take months and months, nay years and years, to train an army to "stand up" if in fact the soldiers want to stand up for what you're asking them to stand up for. The reason we can't get "Iraqis to stand up so that we can stand down" is that the people we're trying to stand up are not interested in whatever agenda it is that we're trying to "train" them for. It hasn't taken the "insurgents" (whoever they are) long to train their men and put a backbone in them. And it also hasn't been difficult to get the Kurdish army, protecting Kurdish people, to acquit themselves like men and to provide real security for their own people.

This should be a sign to us that whatever the hell it is we're trying to "train" the Iraqi police and army to do, they don't want to do it, and therefore we will never succeed in "training" them to want to.

We train soldiers and Marines in something like 6 months. It's easy to do, because they come in wanting to be U. S. soldiers and Marines, because they actually believe in what they are being taught.

Apparently what is going on in Iraq is something else, some kind of passive aggressive resistance by the "trainees," who want a paycheck maybe, a job maybe, but who deep down simply don't buy what it is we're selling. So they vote with their backbone, by collapsing every time the trainers' backs are turned.

The Iraqi politicians don't want the program we're pushing on them either, or they wouldn't all be on vacation or simply absent.

So we've done what at least some, maybe even most, Iraqis wanted, which is to remove Saddam. And now whatever we thought was in it for us, they have no intention of giving us. So we either raise the war to a whole new level, basically forcing our positions upon a conquered people, or we leave. Like they used to say about Vietnam, declare victory and go home No WMDs, no more Saddam, job done!

We will only find out what all those half-trained Iraqi soldiers really believe in and want when we see what they're willing to die for. And it sure as hell ain't for us. Maybe it will be to keep the Kurds out of Kirkuk. Maybe it will be to keep Iran out of Baghdad. We'll never know till we get out of the way and let them stand up on their own two feet, or slink down on their own asses.

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