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26 December 2006

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tequila

You'll know we're actually making progress when they stop blurring out the faces of Iraqi soldiers and police in those publications.

Cloned Poster

Happy Xmas PL.

I clicked on the new Polish AVC, bottom left. I would love to know what they cost.

johnieb

"Korea and Kosovo": Mr. Secretary, didn't you leave something out? My imagination, I suspose.

Nguoi thich Hoa Binh

ddasher

My quick reaction: What a complete load of bullsh*t.

Matthew

ddasher: I second your motion. You know, locals enlist in every colonial army.

Michael D. Adams

I do not have the discipline to read more than a few lines of this...er, solution. However I may use it to wash my pet hog, Bud. Bud is short for Budget Porcinus, of course.

JF Meyer

This publication is in keeping with an earlier observation that our Southeast Asia involvement changed fundamentally when the first of thousands of air conditioners were off-loaded and installed in one of our many bases. A savvy USMC general officer opined at the time that all US forces committed to SEA after 1965 should be required to live in tents and eat field rations. Had that been the norm, he argued, the propensity to homestead would have been nonexistent. When that initial Frigidaire was mounted in a Tan Son Nhut window and the 50 kw fired up, staff folks got comfortable and the signal was given that we were there to stay. This slick English language-only, civil affairs pub with polished text and complimentary professional grade photos causes me to pause and reinforces my concern that this ill-initiated misadventure ain’t seen as a ‘git in and git out’ operation within the military. The air conditioners are there in strength.

johnieb

My interest, if I sustain it, is why Gates has gone to Iraq to get first-hand reports, and from whom? What was the chain of command (and evidence, to a Historian) from Gates's decision, or execution of orders, to his being told "Things are really swell." all over the Green Zone?

I think it sounds like a cover story, but I've mostly dealt with students, and not other brazen BS artistes, lately.

backsdrummer

I base the below on this thread and an article in today's Washington Post.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/27/AR2006122701839_2.html

On 20 December 2006 a large ceremony is held to declare Nijaf is under "Iraqi Provincial Control". The handover agreement, according to Sadiq al-Rikabi, a political adviser to Maliki, is that the "Iraqi side" is to be informed of all actions taken by "multinational forces". I take that to mean Maliki was promised the US would keep him informed of our plans in Nijaf and allow him to veto actions.

One week later, on 27 December 2006, one of Sadr's aides is shot and killed in an early morning raid on his home in Nijaf. The raiding force had 8 American advisers and 35 Iraqi soldiers. That's almost 1 American for every 4 Iraqis. How much advice do they need?

But in spite of "Iraqi provincial control", and although the US spokesperson claims the raid was Iraqi planned and executed, Maliki claims he had no previous knowledge of the raid.

Maliki openly demanded an explanation, but was stonewalled by the US. Maliki has set up a committee to investigate the incident, and some of Maliki's own aides openly wonder if the raid was an execution ordered by the Americans.

The US spokesperson would only say the target of the raid had been under investigation for a "long time" and was implicated in a bombing. I doubt any evidence will ever be presented for review, for "security reasons".

So what does this tell us? Here's my conclusions:

1. Maliki and his government is not trusted or respected by our forces. They keep secrets from him, break promises to him, and carry out lethal actions in areas officially under his government's control, without much worry.

2. Our forces command a select number of Iraqi soldiers outside the Iraqi chain-of-command. They can get these soldiers to keep secrets from, and execute missions contrary to, their own government.

3. The use of warrantless surprise home-invasions of suspects by heavily armed soldiers with little or no police training, no matter how good their previous secret investigation, will eventually lead to shootouts that cause many reasonable people to question their motives. This particular raid has the Iraqi government openly suspecting the US military of political assassination. It might have been better to simply order the suspect in for questioning. Sure, he probably would have fled, but then at least the claim could be made he was not the target of assassination.

4. In light of 1, 2, and 3 above, it's going to be impossible to convince any sane, logical person in Iraq that they can trust their own government or the US forces more than their own militias, and yet that trust is absolutely essential for our stated goals of peace and security in Iraq.

Helena Cobban

What tequila said... (q.v.'Adviser', p.5). On that page they also said the handover of Najaf to Iraqi control was performed at a ceremony attended by "a crowd of hundreds"...

Anyway, belatedly a v. happy Christmas and New Year's to you, Colonel!

W. Patrick Lang

Folks

Ralph Peters is a joke. Not to worry about his fantasies. pl

backsdrummer

Here's a new article, in which unnamed Iraqi government officials talk of an Iraqi unit that report directly to the Americans.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070206/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iraq

So, as I noticed back in December, it appears the US maintains its own Iraqi militia that operates without the knowledge or consent of the Iraqi government.

So Bush tells us militia's are bad, but maintains one himself. This militia supports the "Iraqi government" by defying its policies in areas that are "Iraqi controlled".

This sounds like the type of Iraqi unit that performed the raid on Sadr's aide back in December.

This kind of unit is perfect for dirty-work, as the Americans and Iraqi government can both deny responsibility for its actions.

I firmly believe that these kind of units are nearly always over-used and end up doing more harm than good. They invite all kinds of corrupt behavior, undermine trust in government, etc.

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