The Iraqi military has been in the news quite a bit lately, and it’s been mostly positive news. I hope it’s pretty well grounded in reality and not spin for two reasons.
First, of course, I want to see the Iraqis take responsibility for more and more of their nation. Not only will this lessen the pressure on our guys, but it will increase the odds that Iraq will emerge from all this as a legitimate nation.
Secondly, though, if the Bush administration over-hypes the Iraqi military’s effectiveness (they wouldn’t do that, would they?), they may find themselves in a position of trying to explain the continued high-profile of American troops. If the Iraqis are doing so well, the question will soon be, why are Americans still doing so much? It could lead to increased pressure to pull our guys out too soon, and that would obviously be disastrous.
As much as I want the Iraqi military to contribute in a meaningful manner, we need it to be legitimate work. They need to be truly capable of the mission. I’m cautiously optimistic that they’re going to be up to the task.