December 6, 2005

A Few Good Iraqi Men

Hatched by Sachi

Finding a real success story disguised as a catastrophe is becoming a hobby of mine. When I go through the familiar pessimistic headlines, I often stumble onto good news hidden in the corners. Take a look at this story from Reuters, which tries so hard to play the Iraqi Army as good, but not, well, good enough. Trying so hard, they don't even notice that they prove exactly the opposite: that the Iraqi soldiers are really as good as it gets.

The success of Iraqi Security Force training is undeniable. More and more Iraqi forces are taking over operations and leading attacks. Even the MSM have to admit the readiness of the Iraqi forces. But being the MSM, they also have to find some way to give it a negative spin. If they can't attack the Iraqis' ability, what can they pick on? Ah, lack of equipment, that's what!

Equipped with little armour or ammunition, [Iraqi Army] soldiers can often be seen wearing balaclavas and toting AK-47 rifles as they ride around in the back of Nissan trucks.

This sounds familier. Weren't the MSM complaining about lack of armored vehicle for the US troops not too long ago? But wait, there is more.

Iraqi soldiers could storm the village, conduct house-to- house searches and round up suspects, but with only a few unarmoured Nissan trucks to ride in, they'd never get out alive.

"We'll need the American military to lead us out of there," he said, noting that the route out of the village would probably be booby-trapped with improvised explosive devices and the Iraqi army didn't have vehicles that could withstand them.

But what's the real story? That Iraqi troops are now capable of leading a raid with the US troops serving only as backup. They just don't have enough Humvees. Well, actually they are short of something even more important:

Even as a group of [Colonel Mohammed Najem] Kharye's men prepared for the village raid by scrutinising a map drawn in the sand and marked with smooth stones, others squatted nearby, still waiting for identification badges.

They can map up and plan the raid, but they don't have enough ID badges! Actually, I wasn't kidding when I said this was "something even more important." But I'll wait until the end of the post to explain what I mean.

Shortage of equipment or lack of logistical support is nothing new. Every army suffers from such problems at one time or another. What's important is the troops' ability to solve the problem by improvising with what they have, to come up with a workaround. The Iraqi army is doing exactly that; this is where Reuters doesn't even understand the real story behind the superficial story they're reporting.

Though attacks on Iraqi forces are frequent, the soldiers do not have the armoured Humvees, Bradley fighting vehicles or tanks that are capable of withstanding bullets and some blasts.

In an attempt to make their Nissan trucks safer, Iraqi soldiers at Khamiss have welded sheet metal to the sides. AK-47 rifles and rocket propelled grenades are their main weapons -- they have not even been given mortar rounds.

Obviously, the better an army is equipped, better off they are. But if the army is not skilled, all the weaponry in the world can't bring a victory. And without the "heart" for combat, neither training nor equipment can make soldiers stick out a fight.

Saddam's army was armed to the teeth and even trained, after a fashion. After the fall of the regime, we found thousands of weapons' caches filled with state of the art weapons (side by side with virtual antiques). How well did that army fight? Confronted with the enemy (us), Saddam's soldiers simply threw away their guns and fled.

Within weeks of Saddam's fall in April 2003, U.S. authorities disbanded Iraq's 400,000-strong armed forces. U.S. officials said this simply formalised the fact that the army had evaporated in the aftermath of the war, with soldiers deserting en masse.

Weaponry and equipment are nice, but they don't make an army. Men (and women like Sgt. Hester) with the will to fight and the training to make it a good one make an army. From the looks of it, the new Iraqi Army has plenty of both -- now.

Even soldiers sometimes forget that; Americans -- heck, Westerners -- have had that kind of "heart" for such a long time, they sometimes forget it's a rare and precious thing. That more than anything else is why Western civilization dominates the world.

I was looking at the website Soldiers For the Truth, and I read a piece by former intelligence officer Michael Gifford. It's a great article; Captain Gifford says the road to getting out of Iraq leads through victory in training up the Iraqi Army... he's definitely no John Kerry! But then he falls into a trap that catches many others:

I spent 6 months training the police of the restive Al Anbar Province of Iraq in the winter and spring of 2004, and that was after 6 months of fighting in the streets along side them. For the few first months, we were wondering why they were deserting in huge numbers, why they were running from firefights. I realized very quickly that we were asking them these questions from inside our armored humvees and from behind our bulletproof vests. No wonder these guys were turning tail and running! I put myself in their shoes, and started to see just how bad they had it.

But wait... if that's the problem -- then why didn't the American Marines run from Iwo Jima? They didn't have any armor then, either. What about Col. Joshua Chamberlain and the 20th Maine Volunteers on Little Round Top at the battle of Gettysburg, repulsing attack after attack from the Confederate forces? At the end of the battle, as the Grays massed for a final attack, Chamberlain realized his men were out of ammunition... so he ordered a bayonet charge which shattered the Confederate ranks.

The 20th Maine didn't have any uparmored Humvees. Neither did the 250 men who defended the Alamo, buying time for Sam Houston to raise a Texican army against Santa Anna.

For that matter, what about the 300 Spartans and their 4,000-5,000 Greek allies who held the gates of Thermopylae against the two-million-man Persian army of Xerxes, led by King Leonidas? At the end, the Spartans sent their allies away to live; but none of the Spartans survived.

The armor doesn't make the man; the man makes the armor.

And then came the body armor--my God, you should have seen the looks on their faces when we issued them new bulletproof vests in the winter of 2003. We went as far as to show them the actual test plates from the vests we were issuing--the plates that we took out to the range and shot--proving that they were able to stop both 9mm and AK47 rounds. A few weeks after their issue, I heard reports from Fallujah that the Iraqi police were really showing some cajones - much, much more confidence.

I don't think Captain Gifford understands what really happened, because it isn't a military question. It wasn't that the Iraqis were no longer afraid of dying. That body armor was a magic spell, the spell of acceptance: they had professional equipment, so they started thinking of themselves as professionals.

The same with the armored Humvees and the improved ammunition. Here is the proof:

Their morale began to increase with the equipment we began to provide. And once we began to outfit them with better uniforms, leather jackets and patches, you could really see their pride begin to swell. And anyone who's worked with the Iraqi Police or Army knows that pride is a huge factor in their morale.

New uniforms and leather jackets aren't the keys to destroying the insurgency, but it shows we give a damn about making sure they're safe and professional looking.

It showed that we treated them as equals -- and they began to perform as equals. And that is what I meant by saying that giving the Iraqi solders ID badges really was more important than Humvees: the badges (the Los Angeles Police Department calls them "shields," which reminds us of the Spartans again) were like the Wizard of Oz giving the Cowardly Lion a medal; the courage was there within him all the time... he just needed someone to help him find it.

Back to Col. Kharye's Iraqi troops and why they really have become "as good as it gets."

But Kharye says morale is high -- especially among soldiers who remember life in Saddam Hussein's army....

"In the past if you made a mistake, you were executed immediately, no questions asked," Kharye said. "Now we can debate the positives and negatives of operations. It's a big difference."

Saddam's army led from the top but the U.S. military is teaching Iraqi officers to encourage lower ranking soldiers to make decisions and take charge, said Arrington.

That is the real story... the one that Reuters missed because their big, fat agenda got in the way again.

Hatched by Sachi on this day, December 6, 2005, at the time of 2:26 AM

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Tracked on September 26, 2006 5:32 PM


The following hissed in response by: KarmiCommunist

Lady Sachi...i hope that You and Dafydd don't find that offensive, far too many seem to,

Anyway, Great Thread.

Finding a real success story disguised as a catastrophe is becoming a hobby of mine.

Me likes!!! Or, even finding a catastrophe disguised as a real success story works for humble Low and Ignorant Insane swamp hermit me, say like the feminism movement leading to the feminizing of males or Males/males dropping out...this for example:

Disappearing Act
Where Have the Men Gone? No Place Good

My Dad fought in WW2, Korea, Viet Nam, and some place in South America (Dom Rep, i think)...has like 4 CIB's. He never voted, and never will.

One of the first things that he taught me, was that the American Troops are taught to think. Communists don't teach such...they are taught to just follow in mass waves. Perhaps Dad was wrong, but mass waves are akin to suicidal bombings, but on a larger scale. Scary, yes, but someone should be left to fight, if any side wishes to win a War.

The Iraqis were under Saddam, for like 30-years, and he used most of his troops as mere 'cannon fodder', or worse. Like Hitler and Saddam, the Democrat Party does not want America's Troops to think on their own, and in fact even seek to destroy the will to fight and to speak in this case.

Lady Sachi...You have clearly put a lot of thought into this Post, and back such up with facts and opinion.

The December 15th Vote will show who in the "Western World" were wrong. Iraqi Trainees are murdered everyday in Iraq, along with their families at times, and yet the Volunteers for such a duty keep showing up. WOW!!!

i think that Senator Joseph Lieberman said it best, its like 27-million against 10,000, but such gets little support from MSM. BTW, CBS was down 11% on the stock market today, and i have been shorting it for some time now. Now, like you have said:

The success of Iraqi Security Force training is undeniable.

i agree...just look at the success of the first two Votes in Iraq!!!

i don't care if the Iraqi troops were butt-naked, because the first two Votes in Iraq prove what they and our Troops did!!! This is *GREAT*:

Shortage of equipment or lack of logistical support is nothing new. Every army suffers from such problems at one time or another. What's important is the troops' ability to solve the problem by improvising with what they have, to come up with a workaround. The Iraqi army is doing exactly that; this is where Reuters doesn't even understand the real story behind the superficial story they're reporting.


Its akin to the Saddamists, Bathists, Islamists, and whatever facing some 27,000,000 with a mere 10,000, and yet the new's reporting is a reversal of the actual facts, with reporting reflecting that W was wrong.

Well, i can go on typing no more, for the mere thought of America's left makes me puke on my computer screen. i wish they were *ALL* in a Prison, for i would return to such a Place, just for the pleasure of Pimping them out to a Prison Population, and/or saving them from the enemies that they freely support, even though my 'Whores' would know no to speak.

Before closing...some, what, like some 75% of Iraq never had a choice under Saddam, and now even the Sunni are expected to turnout @ almost 100% during the December 15th Vote!!!

Scheesh, the Dems are in serious trouble, huh.


The above hissed in response by: KarmiCommunist [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 6, 2005 6:25 PM

The following hissed in response by: Michael Combs

This is typical of the very interesting and insightful posts I find on your blog every visit. It is a pleasure. I tried commenting days earlier, but it took me awhile to get past the typekey doorman.

The above hissed in response by: Michael Combs [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 6, 2005 11:01 PM

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