Friday, April 28, 2006

Finally doing their job

Some right-wing blog is abusing my theme song. Stop it.

Reading this WaPo article about how Iraqi troops and police in one town, even those trained by Americans, are not to be trusted, I got the distinct feeling that while some of them certainly are insurgents, others are simply failing to demonstrate the loyalty to which their American overlords feel entitled.

And the more the Americans suspect their loyalty, the more they treat them as cannon fodder. The need not to give them advance warning of missions so that they don’t tip off the insurgents mean they have no role in planning or choosing those missions; if they weren’t gung-ho before, that wouldn’t be the way to make them. And worse than cannon fodder: there’s a story about the police commander telling the Americans about an IED only after the 28-year old American who seems to be issuing orders to the Iraqis decides to take the commander along on a drive through town. The American sees the story as being about the duplicity of the natives; the Iraqi might just see it as an example of the Americans using Iraqis as human shields.

The Americans also seem to arrest members of those forces on a regular basis not just for insurgent activities, but for failing to do their jobs (and risk their lives) in what the Americans consider a sufficiently zealous manner (“Tell your guys, if they refuse to ride in the Humvees, they will go to jail for 10 days. It’s not a choice,” a 23-year old American lieutenant threatened). The flip side of that is the view of one unnamed American officer that “more police have been killed lately, which means some of them are finally doing their job.” That’s rather like the witch-drowning thing. Or to put it another way, the only good Iraqi cop is a dead Iraqi cop.

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