Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Bring'em Home

I am for returning our troops, but I do think we shouldn't leave Iraq, unless that is what they would like. Maybe a referendum would be a good idea for that fledgling democracy. But this post is really about holding our leaders to their own words.

The president has warned against making a timetable for withdrawing troops from Iraq. Such a power vacuum would only encourage the insurgents, we are told. At the same time he tells us we do not need a draft to replenish the troops we have there. Our forces are entirely sufficient. Lastly, we are told that the Iraqis are training thousands of police and military of their own to eventually take the place of our troops.
So rather than set a timetable, here is an elegant and simple solution. For every Iraqi soldier or police officer trained, we remove one 'coalition' soldier. There will be no vacuum of security for the insurgents to take advantage of, and since we are making such great progress in training the Iraqis, we should be able to begin at least to pull out of there soon.
This is of course, assuming that we don't need any more troops, and that we are making very good progress with the training, and that the insurgency is 'in its last throes' as we've been told. But, why shouldn't we believe our leaders, have they ever lied to us before about Iraq?
Is there are reasonable objection to this the republicrats can make?
US.... I mean Coalition Soldiers are wey better trained then Iraqi police? Well, okay, make it one US soldier for every five Iraq police trained. Fair enough? Of course, that means we won't get out until they have 1 million police/security personnel.. That might be worse than during Saddam.


At 1:13 PM, Blogger RTO Trainer said...

The problem is in determininig what is "trained." Do you simply mena they have been instructed in the basic skills? Or have they adopted a professional ethos appropriate to a democracy (which includes the notion of military authority subordinate to civilian authority)?

It takes 15 years to produce a Company First Sergeant. It takes abotu the same to produce a Brigade Commander. Graned thay had people with the requisite expereince in these jobs, but not in the context of a democratic government.

All I'm trying to point out here is that the metric you would use can be highly subjective.

At 1:38 PM, Blogger Scholz said...

Presumably "trained" must mean something. Otherwise why would our government be constantly telling us about all the people they've trained. But suppose they have only received the basic training. Well, we could then return one of our soldiers who has recieved just basic training.
I think though, that you are right in a sense. Our government wants to take advatage of the ambiguity of the language by claiming (a) that we've trained all these people 100,000 last I heard; and (b) that there are no trained forces able to take our place (presumably trained but unable to serve without supervision from us). That way they can keep a very large military force in the area (just in case Syria, or Iran look like interesting targets), but still claim success in the War on Terror.... whoops I mean the Global Struggle Against Extremism.
As to the fighting vs. ethos training, having taught quite a few ROTC students, I am not sure how strong that ethos training is (though I know many honorable and thoughtful soldiers). In Iraq the fighting training has already be done, they used to have a 1 million person army (right?) So all they would need would be professional ethos training. How long can that take? One semester, two?

At 11:13 PM, Blogger RTO Trainer said...

A semester or two? Not at all.

A generation is closer to the truth.

In that respect it's not much different than Bosnia and Kosovo. Or Afghanistan, where they have to have an entire generation come up not thinking everyone shooting at each other is normal.

It's a matter of not just setting up a democratic framework, but allowing those principles to inform (the methaphysical sense) the persons that Democracy requires.

Incidentally, i don't beleive that there is any particular effort to take advantage of ambiguity. I was a part of the Task Force, involved in training the Afghan Army last year. I go back for the same mission next year. In Afghanistan the particulars are a bit differnt, but the essential problem is the same.

We trained a Corps of soldiers for Afghanistan. The Afghans are a brave people (it is no problem to get them to charge into incoming fire, the challenge is in getting them to wait for air or artillery support), but it doesn't matter how brave they are or how many they are it they don't commit themselves to the support of their new government.


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