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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-22-2007, 08:15 PM Thread Starter
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U.S. plan backs off training of Iraqis

Policy shift entrusts security to American troop buildup

WASHINGTON -- Military planners have abandoned the idea that training Iraqi troops will enable U.S. troops to start coming home and now say American forces will have to defeat the insurgents and secure control of troubled provinces.

Training Iraqi troops, which had been the cornerstone of the Bush administration's Iraq policy since 2005, has dropped in priority, officials in Baghdad and Washington said.

No change has been announced, and a Pentagon spokesman, Col. Gary Keck, said training Iraqis remains important.

"We are just adding another leg to our mission," Keck said, referring to the greater U.S. role in establishing security that new troops arriving in Iraq are to undertake.

Although President George W. Bush said in a speech Friday in East Grand Rapids that Iraqi forces are leading the attacks on insurgents, evidence has been building for months that training those troops is no longer the focus of U.S. policy and that the troops have been ineffective.

Pentagon officials said they know of no new training resources in U.S. plans to dispatch 28,000 more troops to Iraq.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they aren't allowed to publicly discuss the policy. Defense Secretary Robert Gates made no public mention of training Iraqis when he visited Iraq on Thursday.

In a reflection of the need for more U.S. troops, the Pentagon decided earlier this month to increase the length of Army tours in Iraq from 12 months to 15 months. The extension came amid speculation that the U.S. commander there, Army Gen. David Petraeus, will ask that the troop increase be maintained well into next year.

Sectarian violence changes strategy

U.S. officials don't say that the training formula -- championed by Gen. John Abizaid when he was the commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East and by Gen. George Casey when he was the top U.S. general in Iraq -- was doomed from the start. But they said rising sectarian violence and the inability of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to unite the country changed the conditions.

Casey's "mandate was transition. Gen. Petraeus' mandate is security. It is a change based on conditions," said Brig. Gen. Dana Pittard, commander of the Iraq Assistance Group in charge of supporting trained Iraqi forces.

Maj. Gen. Doug Lute, director of operations at U.S. Central Command, which oversees military activities in the Middle East, said that during the troop increase, U.S. officers will be trying to determine how ready Iraqi forces are to assume control.

"We are looking for indicators where we can assess the extent to which we are fighting alongside Iraqi security forces, not as a replacement to them," he said. Those will include "things like the number of U.S.-only missions, the number of combined U.S.-Iraqi missions, the number where Iraqis are in the lead."

Bush first announced the training strategy in the summer of 2005. Military leaders in Baghdad planned to train 325,000 Iraqi security forces. Once that was accomplished, those forces were to take control.

Iraqi forces viewed as ineffective

Throughout 2006, Casey and top Bush administration leaders touted the training as a success, asserting that eight of Iraq's 10 divisions had taken the lead in fighting insurgents.

But U.S. forces complained that the Iraqi forces weren't getting support from their government and that Iraqi military commanders weren't always willing to embrace U.S. tactics. Some everyday Iraqis said they didn't trust the country's forces, saying they were sectarian and easily susceptible to corruption.

Most troubling: Insurgents and militiamen had infiltrated the forces, using their power to carry out sectarian attacks.

In nearly every area where Iraqi forces were given control, the security situation rapidly deteriorated. The exceptions were areas dominated largely by one sect and policed by that sect.

In Tal Afar, which Bush celebrated last year as an example of success, suspected Sunni Muslim insurgents set off a bomb last month that killed as many as 150 people, the largest single bombing attack of the war. U.S. troops were sent to restore order.

Change traced back to U.S. voters

U.S. officials said they once thought that if they empowered their Iraqi counterparts, they would take the lead and do a better job of curtailing the violence. But they say that no longer is their operating principle.

Pentagon officials won't say how many U.S. troops are engaged in training, but they said the number of teams assigned to work alongside trained Iraqi troops hasn't changed.

Military officials say there is no doubt that the November U.S. elections, which gave Democrats control of both houses of Congress, helped push training down the priority list. The elections, they said, made it clear that voters didn't have the patience to wait for Iraqis to take the lead.

Military analysts cite a number of reasons the training program didn't work.

"The problem is we didn't know how to do it and we underestimated the insurgency," said Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

"If spending money you don't have is the height of stupidity, borrowing money to give it away is the height of insanity." -- anon
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-22-2007, 08:22 PM
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So what would be our next excuse to stay there?
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-23-2007, 01:21 PM
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So what would be our next excuse to stay there?
It's kind of uncharacteristic of them to drop the first excuse before snowing on the next. Cart before the horse? Running out of inspiration?

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-23-2007, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by old300D
It's kind of uncharacteristic of them to drop the first excuse before snowing on the next. Cart before the horse? Running out of inspiration?
I don't know, the WMD story was kept alive until it was pretty obvious there were none. Only then did the other excuses start to fly. This is a characteristic of GWB's Administration. Wake up one morning and start another, fresh line of bullshit while you pretend you never said the first one. Jim
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-23-2007, 01:48 PM
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That's because you got a bunch of Jayhawks that buy it by the bucket
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-23-2007, 02:33 PM
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I'm shocked. we're not winning?



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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-23-2007, 02:37 PM Thread Starter
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Not only that, we've apparently abandoned the very backbone of the pullout strategy....

"If spending money you don't have is the height of stupidity, borrowing money to give it away is the height of insanity." -- anon
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-23-2007, 02:39 PM
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i think ftl got his wish.. let them settle their scores.. the division is next, isn't it?



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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-23-2007, 02:41 PM
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Not only that, we've apparently abandoned the very backbone of the pullout strategy....
That's the truth. Every effort to keep us in Iraq must be employed. Even if that means letting our guys in uniform get picked off one by one.

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-23-2007, 03:01 PM Thread Starter
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the division is next, isn't it?
Yeah, division winners make it to the playoffs...

"If spending money you don't have is the height of stupidity, borrowing money to give it away is the height of insanity." -- anon
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