The surge plan is already falling apart at the seams, according to a report in the NY Times.
It’s hard to know what to think of the Iraqi army and police. The stories are appalling, that they run away, don’t show up for work, sell their weapons and uniforms to insurgents, target Sunnis, on and on. They have no real armored fighting vehicles or sophisticated weapons. They drive around in small pickup trucks. Why? BECAUSE THE US HAS BEEN AFRAID TO ARM THEM. Hmm.
And they are largely Shiite.
These guys are expected to lead the charge into Sadr City? a Shiite area with a population of Brooklyn, or twice that of Dallas, Texas? I’m sorry but this really isn’t going to happen.
But yet the Iraqi army, with a controversial new commanding general is demanding control of the upcoming “security” surge.
In face of strong U.S. skepticism, the Iraqi prime minister, Nouri Kamal al-Maliki, has named an officer from the Shiite heartland of southern Iraq who was virtually unknown to the Americans, and whose bullish attitude about Iraqi primacy in the effort has deepened U.S. anxieties
Will the Iraqi Army even allow aggressive activities in Sadr City? Will they try to target Sunni areas? Maybe the Kurdish peshmerga will be used as point men, but it’s likely the US forces are gonna have to take the lead, kicking down doors, shooting and blowing up mostly innocent people, and getting shot and blown up themselves, doubling our casualty rate. The US forces’ natural response to being hugely outnumbered will be to escalate the weaponry and the civilian casualties and destruction. The new US commander on the ground in Iraq has a rep for making trouble among civilians:
Untrained in counterinsurgency, the commander of the Fourth Infantry Division, Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno, ordered his men to kick in doors and arrest any man who looked like an insurgent. Overflowing their cells at Abu Ghraib, the prisoners became targets of poorly trained, overwhelmed guards.
Even Kagan and Keane, who wrote the surge idea, think the Bush numbers are too small to succeed.
oh, and the reconstruction stuff Bush talked about:
…more than doubling the number of U.S.-led reconstruction teams in Iraq to 22 and quintupling the number of American civilian reconstruction specialists to 500. But how the new specialists will be recruited and how security will be provided for them remain unclear.
As the ugly details of Bush’s surge become clear, one anonymous US Army officer in Iraq stated:
“We are being played like a pawn.”
Agreed. And not just by the Iraqis.