Boot on the Ground
Here's the opinion of someone up close and personal to the Iraq situation:
WASHINGTON (AFX) - Sectarian rivalries and inefficient Iraqi ministries could turn the Iraqi security forces into 'militias or armed gangs,' Lt. General John Vines, the senior US operational commander in Iraq, told The New York Times.It looks like "some" in the military have decided that their spokesman, Jack Murtha, wasn't able to get the job done. Wonder how long this general will have a job? Then again, maybe he's ready for retirement given the situation he's in:
The comments came as it emerged that US forces suffered Thursday their deadliest day in Iraq since August last year.
In what the newspaper called 'perhaps the bluntest public assessment yet by a senior military officer' of Iraq's future, Vines said in an interview published Friday that the security forces were currently better organized than the Iraqi government.
'The ability of the ministries to support them, to pay them, to resupply them, provide them with water, ammunition, spare parts and weapons is not as advanced as the competence of the forces in the field,' Vines said.
International Hearld Tribune:
As the operational commander for more than 150,000 American troops and 20,000 coalition forces, Vines has day-to-day oversight, along with his Iraqi counterparts, over what troops here call the battle space around the country.Sounds like two bulldogs fighting over a bone. Not enough troops maybe?
In the weeks leading up to the December election, however, Vines split with his boss, General George Casey Jr., the overall American commander in Iraq, over how and where to assign critical resources to ensure a peaceful and successful election.
According to interviews with several senior army officers, who were granted anonymity to avoid their getting caught in the middle of a disagreement between their two top bosses, Casey wanted to beef up operations along the border between Iraq and Syria, as well as the Euphrates River Valley, to make it harder for suicide bombers to infiltrate and explode themselves in Baghdad during the elections.
But Vines and his field commanders said the center of gravity was Baghdad and its predominantly Sunni Arab suburbs like Falluja, the officers said. Vines wanted to position more forces there to increase the Sunni Arab turnout, a major political goal of the Bush administration but also a means to help reduce the insurgency.
The two senior commanders eventually worked out a compromise to put troops in both places, but there were tense moments before the two generals said they would have to agree to disagree, according to senior officers.
I feel sorry for these guys. Nation-building is not their job. Everybody in Iraq hates them, with a whole bunch of them trying to kill them. There's not enough of them. They can't trust the Iraqi's who are supposed to take over from them. Political leadership at home is miserable. And who knows when it will all end.
Talk about being caught between a rock and a hard place. It's a wonder they're not tearing each other apart.