Advisory efforts and Iraq
Who are their real bosses?
The US Army isn't going to develop an effective advisory effort in Iraq. Period.
The current leadership thinks you can take people from one job and then turn them into advisors with very little cultural and almost no language training. Then, they are supposed to train the Iraqis to fight their cousins.
If the US had tried to induct Iraqis into US units in 2003, they might have built a cadre which could have trained other Iraqis and then built a military loyal to a central government. But we didn't do anything like that, nor could we have.
The Iraqis were already making it clear that cooperation, any cooperation, with the Americans would equal a death sentence. Then you had the obvious cultural ignorance and racism of Americans. Haji means nigger to Iraqis and Americans use it freely.
But the problem is that the Iraqis have other loyalities. They are loyal to tribe, to their faith, not a central government. Saddam suppressed these instincts, but he's on the chopping block now. When the US trains people to fight for a "central" Iraqi government, the only real motivation is a paycheck. Because when that day comes to test their loyalty, they are going to choose what matters, which is their family, tribe and faith.
When the US formed KATUSA, the Koreans saw that they were fighting for their homeland, that the North was basically run by lunatics, they had a stake in the fight. The ARVN fought in their own formations, but the loyalty was always shaky. When Special Forces teams worked with the LLDB, the SVN Special Forces, they were always sure to have Nung bodyguards guard their interior compound to prevent assassination.
The French experience of mixed units, going back to WWII, was better, but the US isn't interested in working with Iraqis on a one to one basis. For some reason, the successful KATUSA program, which continues to this day, has not been replicated.
Another consequence of the advisory program is that too many untrained soldiers will be sent to basically supervise people who do not speak their language or share their culture. Special Forces spends at least a year in language and skills training for their soldiers, who also have the rank, E-5, to command respect. The current plan is to send main force US units home, create advisory teams and send them to Iraqi units.
The current plan will basically graft a US command structure on the Iraqi battalions and higher formations. Only problem is that the Iraqi Army has outside loyalties to militias, tribes, factions which they do not control and there is no loyalty to a central government. Most Iraqi soldiers are looking for a job, and have no motivation to fight for a government who members live in London.
But the net effect of our training is to make the Shia militias more efficient. There are already cases of the Mahdi Army passing by Army checkpoints with no problem. When the showdown comes, who do you think they will fight with? Iraqi units won't move from their local areas to Baghdad. Why? They don't serve a national government. When one unit was given such orders, the men stripped off their uniforms and left, on camera.
We are trying to buy time in Iraq, but for what? Maliki is a weak puppet. Hakim wants others to do his dirty work, again. We're left with the Sadrists setting the agenda and the AQ base in Anbar killing Americans. Time is not what we have in Iraq. Because when Sadr or Hakim make their move, and one is left standing, then the US will have only enemies.
posted by Steve @ 4:00:00 PM