- Early this year, the American-led training command shifted its emphasis from simple head counts of Iraqi troops to an assessment of unit readiness based on a four-part classification scheme. Level I, the highest, was for "fully capable" units --- those that could plan, execute, and maintain counterinsurgency operations with no help whatsoever. Last summer Pentagon officials said that three Iraqi units, out of a total of 115 police and army battalions, had reached this level. In September the U.S. military commander in Iraq, Army General George Casey, lowered that estimate to one.
Do you believe that? I don't.
After all, let's consider who the new Iraqi government is. Its leaders, endorsed by us, include members of a radical Shiite organization, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, which is quite cozy with the theocrats ruling neighboring Iran. And SCIRI, in turn, has an armed wing, the Badr Brigade, which was hosted and trained by Iran during the decades when Saddam Hussein was in power.
If there's one thing the Iranians learned during the Iran-Iraq war, it's how to train an effective armed force.
These units have now almost certainly enrolled en masse in the new American-built armed forces. And while the Americans may have perfectly legitimate reasons to wonder on whose behalf they are operating, it's awfully hard to imagine that they are incapable of carrying out independant operations.
Then again, does the question of loyalty even matter? We are the ones who put their leadership, SCIRI, in the ruling coalition. That, apparently, is the cause for which American soldiers are dying --- making Iraq safe for the murderous allies of Iranian fanatics.