Saturday, August 04, 2007

Maybe they pluck the bombs with their shiny new yellow reflective belts

The WaPo has a maybe-should-read about the new American policy of authorizing Sunni militias, trying to apply the so-called Anbar model. I get a strong sense of American military types being in way over their heads, not having any idea who the players are as they try to pick through complex local politics and praying that the people they’re backing aren’t lying to them and won’t shoot them the moment their backs are turned. How all this really works in practice has been a mystery to me for a while now, and the article doesn’t help that much:

“The fighters are provided with badges, yellow reflective belts and arrest powers.” How precisely can the US military grant arrest powers to people who are unrecognized by the central government? What happens to people they “arrest”?

When the US talks about signing “security contracts” with sheiks to protect pipelines, are they really just paying protection money? Is anyone else horrified by the sentence, “The military would also pay the sheiks $100 for every bomb plucked off the roadside”?


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