Monday, July 25, 2005

Bad and Good News from Iraq

Read the link to Strategypage, but in short, there will be more violence as the former regime elements are froze out of what they consider to be their rightful place. (Overlords of the less human Shia). However, the Iraqi army is becoming more competent, which is more of an accomplishment than most people realize.
Many civilians seems to think that training a soldier only involves how to wear a uniform, march, salute, and shoot. The reality of modern warfare involves teaching them to think. A rigid heirarchy is prone to breaking, but a flexible, thinking organization is resilient and more effective. The interesting thing about the article, is that the Iraqi junior officers are so willing to learn how the Americans do things. If we can train them in only tactics and techniques, we will only be half way home. The trick will be to train them in values. i.e. Loyalty to the civilian leadership, integrity and self discipline.
One of the greatest threats to the Iraqi success will be the elimination of the ususal suspects in failures of the Middle East - theft, corruption, nepotism, etc. By making the Iraqi Army into a meritcracy, they will provide the model for the civilian government to follow. After all, can there be anything more disheartening to a fledgling democracy, than the belief that you can never get what you want from your government because you lack the right connections, or that your baksheesh is insufficient.
Well, here is to hope. May they succeed beyond my wildest dreams.

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