Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Input from a friend of mine:

A friend of mine read my critique of Sen. Clinton's Iraq plan and sent me this e-mail:

Whilst I do appreciate your position in all this...I'm not sure that
your plan to stimulate the local economy with US contracts would work
out as well in practice as it does in theory. Not to feed the
stereotype, but rampant corruption is kind of a way of life in both of
the Middle Eastern Nations I've been to, so giving them money doesn't
really help. Although I have to admit that you make a valid point
regarding those mercenaries. At the very least they probably have a lot
more experience training the locals into some semblance of a viable
police force than we do, but we probably need to have someone shadow
them so we can get a little of that experience (I think someone has been
grumbling about Iran again).

They talk about the Mahdi "infiltrating" the local Iraqi Police, but it
seems inaccurate. In some of the IP stations I've heard about, the Mahdi
don't even bother to hide the fact that they run the place. They
actually put up Mahdi propaganda posters and everything. What these
people need is a sense of identify tied to the IP. Remember what it was
like when you first got out of basic? You felt an unaccountable sense of
pride in the Air Force and the US. It can fade fairly quickly, but the
memory remains. I extremely doubt that we are effectively instilling
these poor IPs with the same sense of awe and wonder that we give the
rawest Trainee in the AF. [CarbonDate], these people don't even have a
uniform. They are required to wear "some kind of blue shirt" (which they
are never issued), ID cards (even for Police) are spotty at best, and
people come and go as they please based on who they know.

Someone posted a link to a milblog entry on one of my forums the other
day. In this entry, a Marine described his daily working conditions, and
commented on an incident, in which, two men attempted to gain entry to
the Iraqi Police Station he was guarding, with hidden AK-47s and
something like six clips of ammo hidden under one of their shirts. It
turns out that they weren't IP, but they worked as bodyguards for an IP
officer, who normally passed them through the security checkpoint on his
authority. Said officer wasn't working that day, and they wouldn't give
an explanation for why they required entry.

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