Monday, August 30, 2004

Quagmire - Countering the Spin

We're likely to hear a lot this week about how well things are going in Iraq; about how great the Iraqis have it now that Saddam is gone. Here are a couple of things (WSJ - subscription) that you won't hear from any of the speakers at the Republican National Convention:

Iraqi National Guard troops are supposed to police their own hometowns and villages. But in many cases the soldiers refuse to arrest anyone for fear the insurgents will seek revenge against their families.

"I've seen insurgents put [remote-detonated roadside bombs] 100 meters from my Iraqi National Guard checkpoints," said Staff Sgt. Nicholas Fox, who oversees a company of about 90 Iraqi soldiers outside Fallujah. When Sgt. Fox asked the Iraqi soldiers why they didn't stop the insurgents, the soldiers replied that they were afraid their families would be targeted.

Two Iraqi National Guard units in al Anbar province, which encompasses Fallujah and Ramadi, were overrun earlier this month by insurgents who stormed their headquarters. The insurgents kidnapped the units' battalion commanders. The dead body of one of the commanders was found a few days later; the other man is still missing. The insurgents also took most of the two 800-soldier battalions' guns, helmets and body armor.

The police haven't performed well, either. Recently the Marines detained the police chief for the province, who is suspected of cooperating with the insurgents. His officers were guarding the provincial governor's home when it was attacked by insurgents and the governor's two sons were abducted. The police didn't fire a shot.
Just remember these incidents while you're listening to BushCo. tout its accomplishments in Iraq.

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