G.W. Bush, Strategeric Genius

1 comment June 4th, 2007at 11:22am Posted by Eli

So, how’s that Surge workin’ out for us? NYT has an update:

Three months after the start of the Baghdad security plan that has added thousands of American and Iraqi troops to the capital, they control fewer than one-third of the city’s neighborhoods, far short of the initial goal for the operation, according to some commanders and an internal military assessment.

(…)

The operation “is at a difficult point right now, to be sure,” said Brig. Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, the deputy commander of the First Cavalry Division, which has responsibility for Baghdad.

In an interview, he said that while military planners had expected to make greater gains by now, that has not been possible in large part because Iraqi police and army units, which were expected to handle basic security tasks, like manning checkpoints and conducting patrols, have not provided all the forces promised, and in some cases have performed poorly.

That is forcing American commanders to conduct operations to remove insurgents from some areas multiple times. The heavily Shiite security forces have also repeatedly failed to intervene in some areas when fighters, who fled or laid low when the American troops arrived, resumed sectarian killings.

(…)

The last of the five combat brigades ordered to Iraq as reinforcements as part of the security plan will increase the number of American troops in the city to around 30,000, up from 21,000 before the operation, an American officer said.

In addition, around 30,000 Iraqi Army and national police forces and another 21,000 policemen have been deployed in Baghdad. Many of the Iraqi units have turned up at less than full strength and other units have been redeployed from the capital, General Brooks said, leaving fewer than expected.

(…)

In addition to carrying out sectarian killings, the Mahdi Army controls two of the area’s three gas stations, which refuse to sell to most Sunnis. Gunmen regularly attacked trash trucks when they entered Sunni areas until the American military began providing security. Sunni homes are also the targets of arson attacks if their occupants fail to heed warnings to leave, he said.

Sunni insurgents have fought back as well, with two large car bomb attacks in largely Shiite sections of Baya and Ameel that killed more than 60 people, officers said.

The sectarian violence was especially disheartening to some American officers because it occurred in May, the same month that they were undertaking the centerpiece of the Baghdad security plan – a neighborhood clearing operation.

The battalion’s troops, augmented by more than 2,000 soldiers in armored Stryker vehicles, went block by block through the neighborhood, arresting suspected insurgents and destroying arms caches.

But since the Stryker unit has moved on to a different area of Baghdad, “there’s been a reinfiltration” by Shiite fighters and intimidation squads, who had left the area when the operation began, said Capt. Tim Wright, the company commander responsible for the neighborhood.

(…)

When Colonel Frank went to the Ameel police station recently accompanied by a reporter and asked for help in capturing a local Shiite sheik believed to be behind the bombings, the police official he was meeting with spoke in a whisper. “They listen to us,” he said, pointing to a ventilation grill on his wall. “I am in danger just by meeting with you.”

A few weeks earlier, angered by the attacks on his soldiers, Colonel Frank ordered a video camera hidden near an abandoned swimming pool along a main road in Ameel, near a police checkpoint, where patrols had been hit repeatedly.

When the video was examined after another attack, it showed two Iraqi policemen talking with companions, who were heard off-camera, apparently laying an explosive device. Minutes after the policemen were seen driving away, the camera showed a powerful bomb detonating as an American Humvee came into view.

(…)

After police commanders were confronted with the video in mid-May, six Iraqi officers were arrested, Colonel Frank said.

But the episode has not been forgotten. At a weekly meeting where military commanders and police chiefs sit around a horseshoe-shaped conference table at one of the American bases, Capt. Adel Fakry, the Ameel police commander, complained that American soldiers on patrol were showing “distrust” toward his officers.

“The reason there is distrust,” Colonel Frank responded, his voice rising, “is because I have a video of six Iraqi officers placing a bomb against my soldiers, and they came from your station.”

There had been “some mistakes,” Captain Fakry responded, looking taken aback by the confrontation. Not all of the six officers were from his station, he added before ending the conversation by flipping open his cellphone and making a call while the meeting continued.

The same distrust has hampered relations throughout Baghdad since the strategy began. In Shula, a neighborhood just east of Kadhimiya, north of Rashid, American troops in March discovered a group of Iraqis in police uniforms setting up an E.F.P. near a bridge. They were using police vehicles to provide cover.

Clearly, the insurgents’ infiltration into the Iraqi police can only be a sign of their last-throe desperation.

I think, just maybe, it might be time to acknowledge that if the Iraqi forces still haven’t “stood up” after four years of training and US pressure, THEY NEVER WILL. Any plan that depends on the performance of Iraqi troops or police WILL FAIL. I don’t see why this is so hard to grasp, and yet every time Dubya comes up with one of these magical “I’ll get out of debt by winning the Powerball” plans, the media and pundits pretend that it’s something other than wishful fantasy or outright dishonesty.

When the president wants to stay in Iraq forever, and doesn’t care about the safety of Iraqis or Americans, the unreliability of Iraqi forces is more feature than bug.

Entry Filed under: Bush,Iraq,War

1 Comment

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