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Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Former Commander of training activities in Iraq

Lt. Gen. David Petraeus was formerly Commander of the Multi-National Security Transition Command and the NATO Training Mission in Iraq. Recently he gave a speech at Princeton University.

Interesting summary points on the five missions of the Transition Command, point 5 being especially noteworthy:
  1. To "help Iraqis." "...Better the Arabs do it tolerably than that you do it perfectly. It is their war, and you are to help them, not win it for them.”
  2. To organize the Iraqi military. "The organization of the training of the special Iraqi police had to be particularly original. We have "dramatically shifted" the police training from the Kosovo model. “Iraq is not a 9mm pistol world, it is an AK47 world."
  3. To equip the Iraqi military. More than 700,000 uniforms, 210,000 sets of body armor, hundreds of thousands of small arms, helmets, hundreds of million of rounds of ammunition, 20,000 vehicles and so forth have been distributed to Iraqi forces.
  4. To train the Iraqi military. Historically, “the inshallah school of shooting” prevailed. Iraqi soldiers in combat would hold the weapon over their head, shoot wildly until the magazine was empty, and “inshallah -- meaning if God wills it -- you will hit something.”
  5. To mentor Iraqi military and police leaders. There are 115 Iraqi battalions in combat right now, and every single one of them has a ten man American training team. The American training team teaches the Iraqi officers how to lead and helps coordinate Coalition assistance in logistical matters and combat support. “A huge effort paying enormous dividends.”

Posted by Antarctic Lemur | 10/04/2005 05:09:00 PM

9 Comments:

Blogger Ackers1 said...

The problem is as General Casey before the Senate Armed Services Committee last Thursday testified, of the 100-plus battalions in the American-created Iraqi army, only one, perhaps 1,000 soldiers, is capable of heading off on its own to fight, out of sight of its American protectors.

Think about it and you realise what a complete Alice in Wonderland fantasy Bush has been spinning these last few years.

Perhaps this is what is meant by catastrophic success!

10/04/2005 07:03:00 PM  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

As we posted just several days ago Ackers, there are around 3 dozen battalions at the "level 2" of combat fitness, and the US military is trying to spread the trained personal around rather than create several NATO-quality battalions and leaving the other 110 at Saddam levels of (ill)training and equipment.

If you'd read the article before commenting you'd have realised that.

I think another General coined the correct phrase: Don't be stuck on stupid.

10/04/2005 07:16:00 PM  
Anonymous dim said...

Two salient points to add:

The Iraqi troops are mostly non-uniformed and are using their own weapons and cars, because most of the money provided to the Iraqi Ministry of defence has been stolen.

The US troops are refusing to train the Iraqi army in tactics and will not share intelligence with them, since they are so totally infiltrated by the insurgents.

But other than those little teething problems, sounds like they're doing a GREAT job getting Iraqs military up to speed.

10/04/2005 07:19:00 PM  
Blogger Ackers1 said...

I'll stay stuck on stupid thanks AL. The fact is the the number of Iraqi units capable of acting independently of U.S. support had actually fallen from a pitiful three battalions to only one. Furthermore it would seem the only really effective units of the new security forces are essentially militias of the Kurdish and Shiite parties loyal to their party leaders rather than to a new state.

Tom Engelhardt poses the question another way:

"What if we invaded a country under false pretenses; occupied it;, began building huge, permanent military bases on its territory; let its capital and provincial cities be looted; disbanded its military; provided no services essential to modern life; couldn't even produce oil for gas tanks in an oil-rich land; bombed some of its cities, destroyed parts or all of others; put tens of thousands of its inhabitants in U.S. military-controlled jails (where prisoners would be subjected to barbaric tortures and humiliations); provided next to no jobs; opened the economy to every kind of depredation; set foreign corporations to loot the country; invited in tens of thousands of private "security contractors," heavily armed and under no legal constraints; and then asked large numbers of Iraqis, desperate for jobs that could be found nowhere else, to join a new "Iraqi" military force meant to defend a "government" that could hardly leave an American fortified enclave in its own capital. After that, our military trainers, our generals, our politicians, our reporters, and our pundits all began fretting about this force for not fighting fiercely, being independent, taking the initiative, or "standing up." The question should be, but isn't: Standing up for what?

10/04/2005 07:54:00 PM  
Blogger Psycho Milt said...

Standing up for what? Well, how about standing up for getting the American occupation force out of the country, which is only going to happen when there's a govt capable of taking over. Simply asserting that the Americans should pull out now is like asserting gravity should be 8mps squared instead of 9 - it's not going to happen, so save your energy. The crazed mutants carrying out this insurgency have completely failed against the Americans, so they're now concentrating on killing Iraqis and trying to provoke a civil war. Are we supposed to see them as "good guys" in this conflict? Or what? What exactly is the Left's answer Ackers, because I'm on the left and I haven't seen one I like yet. Like it or not, the war was started and Saddam was defeated. That argument is over. The only argument now is whether the US gets to impose democracy on Iraqis that wouldn't know it if it bit them on the bum, or whether, having fucked the country over, they pull out and leave a power vacuum to be filled by whoever kills the most. I don't like either option that much, but living in a country neighbouring Iraq I'd prefer the place not to descend completely into chaos. If the Yanks can train the Iraqi army well enough to kill off these mofos who think voting should carry the death penalty, I'm all for it.

10/04/2005 08:45:00 PM  
Anonymous george said...

Well folks, Iraq has 17 provinces, 10 of which are functioning normally. The remaining 7 are in the Sunni triangle where ex Baathists fight with local Sunni nationalists and all despise the foreign 'holy warriors'. Shoot-outs between them are commonplace.

They are all taking a hiding from the American and Iraqi forces. Their tactics have changed to terrorizing the locals. In short a struggle to coerce an area. Have you ever wondered why there are long lines at police recruiting stations? Have you ever wondered at the courage of people who will stand out like sitting ducks in the sun for hours to sign up, waiting for the inevitable car bomb, mortar and machine gun attack? The local Joe Abdul is pissed off with the nutters, big time. People want to get on with living, they do not want to be dominated. I take my hat off to the men and women who refused to be intimidated. They voted and it cost a large number their life or limbs. This in the Sunni area!

19% of New Zealanders could not get off their arse to vote in the last election. Would we have stood in line while somebody shot at us?

I doubt it.

We would have behaved like bloody rabbits.

The Iraqi people want a crack at running their own lives.

Their opportunity to do so is being paid for by very young Americans and the sort of young Arab man that will stand in line knowing he is a target but does so just the same.

This country hasn't even the gumption to throw out a government that is robbing us of our freedoms one by one. Stop slinging mud at a nation that has moral conviction.

10/04/2005 10:08:00 PM  
Blogger fm said...

A perspective from someone on the ground training the Iraqi battalions in question:

http://strengthandhonor.typepad.com/captaink/2005/10/fully_capable_1.html

Seems pretty encouraging (which must be a disappointment to some).

10/04/2005 11:47:00 PM  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

Good find fm. The training strategy used by the United States this time embodies all that was learned from the clusterfuck of Vietnam and forgotten after the Philippines - never leave the indigenous soldiers to the mercy of their old-style poorly-trained officers and brand-new government. Provide training and incorporate western troops into the local military and use these for local patrolling-type activites, but target the insurgency heirarchy in a parallel effort using highly-trained western units and intelligence services.

John Paul Vann couldn't have designed it better.

I will do a post...

10/04/2005 11:55:00 PM  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

Also it helps if the Soviet Union isn't supplying the other side with weapons and a neighbouring country isn't allowed to act as a base for military excursions against allied troops :-)

10/05/2005 12:06:00 AM  

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