Sunday, October 02, 2005

Decline in Iraqi Troops' Rediness

By Josh White and Bradley Graham
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, September 30, 2005; Page A12

The number of Iraqi army battalions that can fight insurgents without U.S. and coalition help has dropped from three to one, top U.S. generals told Congress yesterday, adding that the security situation in Iraq is too uncertain to predict large-scale American troop withdrawals anytime soon.

GOI: How can we feel like we are making progress in Iraq and coming home when we see a severe drop in Iraqi troop readiness by two thirds. The military and civilian leaders of the Bush administration were hoping to bring some troops home by next year but I do not see that happening unfortunately in 6-12 months.

Casey (General George W. Casey Jr.) also said that the "Iraqi armed forces will not have an independent capability for some time."

GOI: Now, I am not one of those liberals that believes in "cutting and running" (unless in the case of a civil war) but I am concerned when we have been in Iraq for two and a half years and the Iraqi troop readiness has drooped by two-thirds.

Senators bristled at the disclosure that only one of Iraq's 86 army battalions is ready to fight on its own, including rare blunt criticism from Republicans. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said he believes the United States has not had enough troops to fend off insurgents permanently.

GOI: To me this is the main reason that we have seen so many set-backs in Iraq against a strong insurgency. We did not start with enough troops and now we are "behind the eight ball" and playing "catch up" with training Iraqi troops. Plus, there are various reports that show that Iraqi troop recruits are more difficult to find and maintain. There is a high turn-over ratio.

Democrats are by no means the only leaders on Capital Hill that are concerned about these set-backs. Both Sen. John McCain (R) of Arizona, Sen. Susan Collins (R) of Maine, Vietnam veteran Sen. Chuck Hagel (R) of Nebraska, Sen Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) and Sen. Christopher Shays (R-C.T.).

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) stated, said she was discouraged by the lack of readiness by the Iraqi security force. She said that it "contributes to a loss of public confidence in how the war is going," and that "it doesn't feel like progress when we hear today that we have only one Iraqi battalion that is fully capable."

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said he doubts that U.S. commanders have a clear handle on the nature of the insurgency and noted that the war has been more difficult than he expected.

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crimnos said...

This is seriously depressing. How on Earth are we ever supposed to accomplish a mission when we can't even hold on to the few troops we have trained? It's times like these that I think it's obvious we've lost whatever "war" this was supposed to be.

james said...


I know, I know. Sometimes I think that we are just getting in the way of Iraqi's taking the initiative for themselves. There is not much sense of urgency when we are there to back them up.

andi said...

there's a good article about the complexities of this situation in iraq - oh crap, what did i do with that link

*shuffling through cyberpaper*

here it is. sorry for the long link - i hope it works, it's worth a read.;_ylt=Ar5bgR8SQEXV8gno2bLUxFYlr7sF;_ylu=X3oDMTBiMW04NW9mBHNlYwMlJVRPUCUl

what uygur is basically saying is clear: we're fighting for the democratization of an entity that is essentially a figment of the white house's imagination. if we can, he argues, we need to start seriously considering how this land and its resources need to be divided between these factions to get stable.

james, you mentioned earlier that you would support US troop withdrawal in a case of civil war. in your view, what defines a civil war? does there have to be a declaration? granted, i'm not there at the moment, but it sure looks like a civil war to me.

not wanting to upset you - truly, i'm not - just to share opinions and information.


james said...


Thanks for the article. As for the civil war question? I think that you are right. I have said before that we already see a civil war in Iraq and so yes, I think that I am ready to say, let's bring 'em home.