Creating an Iraqi Army That Can Fight (Aug 27, 2004 entry)
On Strategy Page:
The new units have been in training for nearly a year. The units mix Shias, Sunnis and Kurds together. They are all volunteers and the American recruiters make sure they understand what they are getting into. That includes working well with people you would normally not work with. There are a disproportionate number of Kurds in the units, which has caused some concern within the Iraqi government. The Kurds have been basically independent from any Iraqi government since the early 1990s, and both Shia and Sunni Arabs are unsure if they will be able to make the Kurdish territories a real part of Iraq again. But once the Kurds train with the Arabs, and those who can’t handle the training are removed, the units come together. Only one of these battalions, the 36th battalion of the Civil Defence Corps, has been in action. But others are being recruited and trained.
See the SP post for more.
It’s been said many times and in many ways. The Iraqis are going to have to take more responsibility for their own security. Not only for the short-term reason of alleviating some of the pressure on US and allied troops, but because Iraq needs to be able to lift its chin up. Until they can realistically run their own nation, they are going to have trouble feeling proud about themselves, freed or not.
Multi-ethnic units like these commando-type forces can help lay the foundation for an Iraq where the different groups tolerate each other and identify themselves as Iraqis first. It won’t really begin to take hold, of course, until the Iraqis that are young children today are running the country, but the seeds need to be planted. This is going to take a long time and it will require a lot of patience.
(I have no idea if the Iraqi soldier identified by FoxNews as a “Special Forces” soldier last April was a member fo the 36th batallion of the Iraqi CDC. If he was, amybe FoxNews wasn’t too far out of line.)