Friday, April 14, 2006

The Iraqi Army: Official temp agency

The Seattle Times has an A.P. article about a policy of the Iraqi Army that is simply mind boggling.
U.S. and Iraqi commanders are increasingly critical of a policy that lets Iraqi soldiers leave their units virtually at will — essentially deserting with no punishment. They blame the lax rule for draining the Iraqi ranks to confront the insurgency, in some cases by 30 percent or even half.

Iraqi officials, however, say they have no choice but to allow the policy, or they may attract virtually no volunteers.
Virtually no volunteers? They have over 50% unemployment, are desperately poor in a land swimming with oil, but if they don't let the soldiers slip off when they want they couldn't fill the ranks. Just amazing!

This hardly inspires confidence in the whole notion that the Iraqi's are gonna be standing up to secure western democracy for themselves.

Furthermore, if the locals can just walk away at any point, how do we know we are not training the enemy? It makes perfect sense for the enemy to put their recruits into the Iraqi army, have them trained with our experts and at our expense, then have them melt back into the countryside to fight us. Isn't this just obvious to anyone who looks at the situation?

The A.P. also reports:
Some Iraqi army officers believe the casual attitude toward unauthorized absences is a good thing because it helps morale among young soldiers who have never been away from home and joined mostly because they need money.

Added Maj. Gen. Jaafar Mustafa, an Iraqi army officer in Sulaimaniyah: "We do not want any soldier to stay against his will, because this will affect the performance and the morale of the Iraqi army. By giving the choice for the Iraqi members to stay or leave, more people will volunteer in the army."
Great points offered up by these officers right? In effect they say 'These are mama's boys so they need to be able to go home every now and then'. These points are so obviously on target that precisely NO other armed force in the world has this policy. But I'm sure they'll come around.

The article continues:
"All the soldiers now, they don't care about the country. They care about the money," al-Kafage said. "It's too easy for them to quit. If someone punishes them, they can throw down their uniform and say, 'Have a nice day.' "

U.S. trainers who oversee the battalion's rookie soldiers, most from the Shiite areas south of Baghdad, echo the complaint.
Imagine that. You are going through Iraqi boot camp and some burly sarge gets all up in your face because you cant march in time. You don't have to put up with that garbage! Just take your stuff and go home. I'll bet discipline in that army is... well, nonexistent actually.

Do you think that when Rumsfeld insisted on disbanding the Iraqi army after the invasion, he ever dreamed that the army that replaced it would be able to disband themselves as a matter of policy.

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