Iraqi Police Being Rebuilt From The Ground Up

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More reports out of Iraq, and the news isn’t particularly encouraging.

From NY Times:

WASHINGTON, Aug. 30 — An independent commission established by Congress to assess Iraq’s security forces will recommend remaking the 26,000-member national police force to purge it of corrupt officers and Shiite militants suspected of complicity in sectarian killings, administration and military officials said Thursday.

The commission, headed by Gen. James L. Jones, the former top United States commander in Europe, concludes that the rampant sectarianism that has existed since the formation of the police force requires that its current units “be scrapped” and reshaped into a smaller, more elite organization, according to one senior official familiar with the findings. The recommendation is that “we should start over,” the official said. […]

Geoff Morrell, a spokesman for Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, said that an American effort to retrain the Iraqi police forces was under way. Mr. Morrell said that Pentagon officials believed that such an effort could succeed in removing sectarianism from the ranks without requiring a complete overhaul of the Iraqi force.

So all this time and we’re going to start over?

Personally, I’m in favor of it if this is really the right solution. I know Dems will have a field day with this, and rightly so, but we have to be brutal with our truths now because something tells me we’re not going to get many more chances.

However, Kevin Drum injects some hard truths of his own into the discussion…

Even if we could do it, it means (a) putting 26,000 armed and pissed off Iraqis back on the street, (b) running the country without a police force until a new one is recruited and trained, and (c) spending two or three years building a replacement. And that’s the good news. The bad news is that there’s no reason to think the shiny new police force would be any better than the old one. It didn’t improve after all our efforts in 2006, after all. The unpleasant truth is that there’s a reason the police force acts essentially as an extension of the Shiite militias — namely that that’s exactly how the Shiite government wants it — and no reason to think that’s going to change anytime in the near future.

Remember when we put a bunch of pissed off men with military training on the streets in 2003?

I’ll leave you with that thought…