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Building Iraq's Army: Mission Improbable. Washington Post 6/10/05

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Clarkie1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-11-05 01:04 AM
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Building Iraq's Army: Mission Improbable. Washington Post 6/10/05
By Anthony Shadid and Steve Fainaru
Washington Post Foreign Service
Friday, June 10, 2005; A01


BAIJI, Iraq -- An hour before dawn, the sky still clouded by a dust storm, the soldiers of the Iraqi army's Charlie Company began their mission with a ballad to ousted president Saddam Hussein. "We have lived in humiliation since you left," one sang in Arabic, out of earshot of his U.S. counterparts. "We had hoped to spend our life with you."

But the Iraqi soldiers had no clue where they were going. They shrugged their shoulders when asked what they would do. The U.S. military had billed the mission as pivotal in the Iraqis' progress as a fighting force but had kept the destination and objectives secret out of fear the Iraqis would leak the information to insurgents.

"We can't tell these guys about a lot of this stuff, because we're not really sure who's good and who isn't," said Rick McGovern, a tough-talking 37-year-old platoon sergeant from Hershey, Pa., who heads the military training for Charlie Company.

The reconstruction of Iraq's security forces is the prerequisite for an American withdrawal from Iraq. But as the Bush administration extols the continuing progress of the new Iraqi army, the project in Baiji, a desolate oil town at a strategic crossroads in northern Iraq, demonstrates the immense challenges of building an army from scratch in the middle of a bloody insurgency.

Charlie Company disintegrated once after its commander was killed by a car bomb in December. And members of the unit were threatening to quit en masse this week over complaints that ranged from dismal living conditions to insurgent threats. Across a vast cultural divide, language is just one impediment. Young Iraqi soldiers, ill-equipped and drawn from a disenchanted Sunni Arab minority, say they are not even sure what they are fighting for. They complain bitterly that their American mentors don't respect them.

In fact, the Americans don't: Frustrated U.S. soldiers question the Iraqis' courage, discipline and dedication and wonder whether they will ever be able to fight on their own, much less reach the U.S. military's goal of operating independently by the fall...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/20...
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vogonjiltz Donating Member (298 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-11-05 01:12 AM
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1. All we are doing is arming and training insurgents.
Like in Viet Nam, we'll have to watch our backs around the the soldiers we are training. It's an old trick, during WWII in Yugoslavia, Tito encourages his partisans to join the puppet regime's army for the training, guns, stuf to steal as well as for intel purposes.
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