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Born at the Crest of the Empire

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Iraq's Army unable to function without US support

I've written about this several times before, but I think it's important. When the US talks of a "lack of readiness" in the Iraqi troops, even today, the problem is much larger than training and coordination.
The ability to pay its troops is just one of the many basic services for which Iraq's military remains almost totally dependent on American forces.

None of Al Anbar's Iraqi brigades — among the newest and most strategically important — perform independently. Logistics is their greatest weakness. Many rely on U.S. forces for food, transportation, uniforms, identification cards, drinking water, weapons and virtually every other necessity.

The Iraqi government lacks the infrastructure to supply food and water to their own troops.

There're some other interesting bits in this LATimes piece. Desertion rates at 40% in some places, and a US trainer talking about sleeping with one eye open out of fear of his Iraqi trainees.

Also: Does this announcement sound like padding the truth? The headline is US, Iraqi troops kill more than 20 foreign rebels.

Sounds like a successful operation, right? Look how well it's going. The headline does seem to paint a picture of one or two good days, but in the first paragraph we learn that these "kills" took place over "the past few weeks."

I don't know why this bothered me. Maybe it's because in the wake of the revelations about the planting of "truthful, positive" stories in the Iraqi press by Pentagon contractor Lincoln Group, this just smells of bald PR. I mean, the Pentagon didn't pay to have this story printed in the US press, but if it were legal, I think they would have. It's not lying, but it's a deceptive way to present facts.

(The NYTimes/AP version, with virtually the same headline by the way, doesn't mention "weeks" until the fifth paragraph.)


  • The deception bothers you because it's another example of an administration that's more concerned with spin than truth/facts and a press corps that's unwilling to expose many of these decptions for fear of alienating the power elites and/or losing access to them.

    E&P found that some at the Correspondents' Dinner last night thought Stephen Colbert's jokes were too blunt and pointed. No wonder - if they're too afraid to expose the administration lies and deceits in a news story, why would they be any more comfortable exposing them through humor?

    It sure is frustrating. But nothing's going to change as long as the Washington press corps is full of people like Pumpkinhead Russert and TweetyBird Matthews who are only trying to make an honest living by speaking to as many business groups, Chambers of Commerce, and Young Conservative organizations as their booking agents can arrange. You gotta take those lucrative speaking fees while you can, you know.

    By Blogger reality-based educator, at 12:43 PM  

  • I agree with the colbert speculation. They're part of the inside circle; they have adopted the customs of the Washington dinner party circle.

    And, they share some of the responsibility for Iraq, et al. Funny how there's not much reporting on how the reporters screwed up, though.


    By Blogger mikevotes, at 1:44 PM  

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