Iraqi Troops Often Unfit, Corrupt

February 10th, 2007  
Team Infidel

Topic: Iraqi Troops Often Unfit, Corrupt

Miami Herald
February 10, 2007
Pg. 1

Iraqi forces are plagued by militia infiltration, incompetence, prisoner abuse and corruption.
By Tom Lasseter, McClatchy News Service
BAGHDAD - Many of the Iraqi forces whom the United States is counting on to defeat Sunni Muslim insurgents, disarm Shiite Muslim gunmen and assume responsibility for keeping the peace have been infiltrated by sectarian militias and are plagued by incompetence and corruption.
Two weeks with American units that patrolled with Iraqi forces in west and east Baghdad found that Iraqi officers sold new uniforms meant for their troops, and that their soldiers wore plastic shower sandals while manning checkpoints, abused prisoners and solicited bribes to free suspects they'd captured.
During a patrol last week in a violent west Baghdad neighborhood that's the scene of regular sniper fire at U.S. and Iraqi troops, Staff Sgt. Jeremie Oliver saw Iraqi soldiers gathered in the road near a streetlight, making them an easy target for gunmen on the surrounding rooftops.
Thinking that something might be wrong, Oliver, 30, of Farmington, Maine, jogged over. The Iraqis were looking at pornography on a cellphone.
The shortcomings that Oliver and other U.S. soldiers observed in the Iraqi troops are at the heart of America's dilemma in Iraq. If the country's police officers and soldiers aren't able to secure the capital, a U.S. withdrawal almost certainly would mean even more widespread carnage. Continuing to prop up the Iraqi forces, however, almost certainly would lead to more American casualties, but not necessarily to victory.
Iraqi troops are ''immeasurably'' better than they were, and they continue ''to gain in both confidence and in capability,'' Army Maj. Gen. William Caldwell said Monday.
Although the United States has spent $15.4 billion since 2003 to train and equip Iraqi forces, Caldwell conceded that the country's military and security forces still have ``deficiencies in both leadership and logistics, and have yet to win the trust of Iraq's ethnic and sectarian communities.''
''If we don't give them some kind of lead in this, we will be here forever,'' said Staff Sgt. Erik Helton, who patrols in east Baghdad with the 1st Infantry Division. ``But half the Iraqi army is either sympathetic to [sectarian militias] or are actual members.''
American forces usually keep the Iraqis in the dark about upcoming operations, said Helton, 27, of Richlands, Va. ''We're careful not to give them information before a raid,'' he said. ``Who knows who they're affiliated with or who they're going to call?''
The declassified version of a report last month by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said sectarian divisions ``erode the dependability of many units, many are hampered by personnel and equipment shortfalls, and a number of Iraqi units have refused to serve outside of the areas where they were recruited.''
Despite improvements, the report concluded, Iraqi forces ``will be hard pressed in the next 12-18 months to execute significantly increased security responsibilities, and particularly to operate independently against Shia militias with success.''
Interviews with U.S. soldiers, and reporting made possible by accompanying them on patrols, made it clear that there are profound problems with the Iraqi troops.
The problems range from worries that they're operating on behalf of Shiite death squads to their refusal to carry out basic tasks such as wearing flak vests.
In a west Baghdad neighborhood where bodies often turn up beside the road, facedown on the pavement with bullets in their heads, Army 1st Lt. Brendan Griswold looked on last week as Iraqi soldiers patted down three men at a checkpoint and thumbed through their documents. The Iraqi soldiers found a fake Iraqi passport on one of the men, whom they suspected was Jordanian and possibly an insurgent.
Griswold didn't stir, determined to let the Iraqis conduct the search.
''I like going out with some of them. But some of the others are hard to control; they run away when things happen,'' said the 24-year-old 1st Cavalry Division platoon commander from Leavenworth, Kan.
An Iraqi soldier approached him. ''Where do we put them?'' he asked.
Griswold pointed to the Iraqi army Humvees in front of him. Iraqi soldiers grabbed the three men, opened their Humvees and started to stuff them inside.
''No, not in there,'' Griswold yelled, as he cussed under his breath and walked over to supervise.
After Griswold made sure the detainees were seated in the Humvees, the convoy drove to an Iraqi army intelligence office. The Iraqi troops led the three men into what looked like a darkened closet. Griswold asked the Iraqis not to abuse the detainees, then shook hands and said goodbye.
As he left the intelligence building, he asked his interpreter what the Iraqi troops would do to the detainees.
''They were asking them how much they would pay to be released,'' the interpreter replied with a grin.
February 11th, 2007  
Not good...
February 11th, 2007  
Neutron bomb.
February 11th, 2007  

Originally Posted by bulldogg
Neutron bomb.
From your lips to god's ears...

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