Thursday, July 12, 2007

I Sit at My Table and Wage War on Myself

The likes of David Ignatius suggest that even if we begin withdrawing troops from Iraq, we should leave behind a large residual force that would, among other tasks, continue to train Iraqi security forces. Here's a brief snapshot about how productive an exercise that's turning out to be (via the artist formerly known as praktike):

A previously undisclosed Army investigation into an audacious January attack in Karbala that killed five U.S. soldiers concludes that Iraqi police working alongside American troops colluded with insurgents.[...]

The U.S. "defense hinged on a level of trust that … early warning and defense would be provided by the Karbala Iraqi police. This trust was violated," the report dated Feb. 27 says.

The information is contained in an investigative file made available to USA TODAY and authenticated by the Army.

The attack has drawn special scrutiny from Pentagon officials because of the unprecedented breach of security and the insurgents' tactics.

The investigation reveals several new details about the assault, including:

•Iraqi police suddenly vanished from the government compound before the shooting started.

•Attackers, evidently briefed on how U.S. forces would defend themselves, bottled up more than three dozen soldiers in a barracks and headquarters complex using a combination of smoke and fragment grenades and satchel charges to blow up Humvees.

•Gunmen knew exactly where to find and abduct U.S. officers.

•Iraqi vendors operating a PX and barbershop went home early.

•A back gate was left unlocked and unguarded.

The article goes on to mention speculation that elements of the Iranian Quds force collaborated with the Iraqi security forces in question. Ultimately, though, it matters little. The operative fact is that the Iraqi security forces that we are expending lives and money training are willing to turn against us in large numbers when the opportunity presents itself.

This isn't the first such incident, nor will it be the last. Tragically. The levels of infiltration and split allegiances are endemic and unavoidable.

Does someone want to explain to me, then, why we should leave behind a residual training force to train security forces of dubious loyalty and reliance? - a training force that would then require an even larger support and force protection contingent that would all prove attractive targets for our putative allies and obvious enemies alike.

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