Six troops from one Army company, specifically. The article coincides with the release of the Baker Commission report but it’s careful not to say the troops are welcoming that. For the simple reason that the core of the Commission’s strategy, i.e., turning the country over to Iraqi troops in the near future with a vastly reduced force of U.S. troops advising them, is absurd:
“In Iraq, we try to win the hearts and minds of population,” said [1st Lt. Gerard] Dow, 32, of Chicago. “They want Americans out of here. They blame us for all their problems. They look at us as the terrorists and then they turn around and help the terrorists who are trying to kill us.”
Dow trained Iraqi soldiers in Ramadi and in the north during his first assignment in Iraq, and he doubts U.S. forces will be able to hand over the fighting by early next year as the commission recommends.
“The Iraqi army is getting there,” he said. “But they are still not where they need to be and I doubt they will be by then. Too many times, they are in a selfish state of mind. Too often they are along for the ride while we do the work for them.”
He said the largely Shiite soldiers sometimes loot homes, fail to follow orders and openly acknowledge that they don’t trust the Sunni population.
“They are only going to do the right thing if someone’s watching and they know they will be punished if they don’t,” he said. “That’s not every soldier. I have met some great guys, but it is a lot of them. They don’t care, and this is their country.”
Asked if he was frustrated with the situation in Ramadi, he replied: “That doesn’t cover it.”…
Dow said elders at a nearby mosque broadcast messages saying Americans are the cause of all the problems in Ramadi, the capital of restive Sunni-dominated Anbar province, 70 miles west of Baghdad.
Pace is reportedly considering abandoning Anbar altogether.
Meanwhile, some Iraqi soldiers say once the U.S. goes, they’re going too:
[I]n his years with the Iraqi Army he has learnt one simple lesson: once the US military pulls back in Iraq, he should leave the country if he wants to survive. “As soon as it happens, I will quit my job and live outside Iraq,” the sergeant told The Times.
“We need to give the Americans back all the authority over the Iraqi Army like before.”…
A decision by the US military to hand over full control of Iraq’s Army to a Government plagued by sectarian interests, could well spell its ruin…
The sergeant, dressed in a US Army shirt, bemoaned the intensifying government pressure. He feels that the Americans have taught his men to be a professional, non-sectarian force and political parties are undermining them.
“If we detain Sunni terrorists, many of the Sunnis working for the Government will keep pushing us and our battalion commanders and ask us why you do that. Sometimes they will make a complaint against us. If we do the same thing in Sadr City, they (Shia officials) will make an announcement on television that we are doing the wrong thing and killing innocent people.”
Like the man said, “We can train Iraqis to be better soldiers but it is not proven we can train them to be better Iraqis.” We probably can’t. Not at this point, anyway.
N.Z. Bear notes that among the keywords encoded into the PDF version of the Baker report, the word “victory” does not appear. Is that defeatism or realism?
Update: Pace has since denied that there are plans to pull out of Anbar.
Update: INDC Bill e-mails:
Start linking roggio and fumento, at least as a counterpoint to or component of your ongoing Commissar conversion …