Not enough guns: Iraqi security forces
Not enough armor, not enough weapons
Iraq analyst says security forces lack equipment, training
PM - Monday, 26 July , 2004 18:30:09
Reporter: Rafael Epstein
MARK COLVIN: The future stability of Iraq remains one of the most pressing issues in global politics. It'll be decided in large part by Iraq's new police force and army.
The army's just been involved in its biggest battle so far, engaging insurgents in a five hour gun fight north of Baghdad, in which 15 insurgents were reported killed.
But one of Washington's most respected analysts says that the bigger picture is that the future of Iraq's forces is not bright.
Anthony Cordesman, from the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, lays much of the blame at the feet of the Pentagon and the US Congress.
Professor Cordesman has regular access to top political and military figures in the US and Iraq. He says the US-led Coalition is guilty of a gross administrative, moral and military failure in not building and equipping effective Iraqi security forces.
He spoke to Rafael Epstein.
ANTHONY CORDESMAN: I think the most serious problem was that we assumed that they were really not going to have to deal with active counter insurgency. That they were not going to have to be properly trained and equipped to deal with really lethal attacks.
We didn't give them the training from, really, the fall of Saddam on through April of this year. We didn't give them elementary protection like body armour. We didn't even give them the proper communications to ask for American help. And we created very, very large forces which would have been adequate only if there had been no insurgent threat, or we'd been able to defeat it very quickly.
And long after it became apparent that the insurgents were a serious movement, and in large numbers, the US aid effort still failed to provide the level of equipment and training that was necessary.
RAFAEL EPSTEIN: How bad is the equipment problem, in your view?
ANTHONY CORDESMAN: Well, the statistics that are being reported by the Department of Defence essentially tell you that only a fraction of the body armour and vehicles are available. Some of the figures border on the ridiculous. The requirement for vehicles for people in the Facilities Protection Service, which has 77,000 men in it, the requirement is for less than 500 vehicles and less than 50 are on hand.
That kind of problem affects virtually all of the services.
Yet another example of gross US incompetence. Not arming the Iraqis adequately kills Americans soldiers.
posted by Steve @ 11:20:00 AM