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Where has this woman been?
Posted by: McQ on Friday, April 20, 2007

Nancy A. Youssef, writing for the McClatchy Washington Bureau appears not to have a clue:
Military planners have abandoned the idea that standing up Iraqi troops will enable American soldiers to start coming home soon and now believe that U.S. troops will have to defeat the insurgents and secure control of troubled provinces.

Training Iraqi troops, which had been the cornerstone of the Bush administration's Iraq policy since 2005, has dropped in priority, officials in Baghdad and Washington said.

No change has been announced, and a Pentagon spokesman, Col. Gary Keck, said training Iraqis remains important. "We are just adding another leg to our mission," Keck said, referring to the greater U.S. role in establishing security that new troops arriving in Iraq will undertake.
First military planners have not "abandoned" the idea that standing up Iraqi troops will enable American soldiers to start coming home earlier. That idea is still a part of the plan and a valid mission. Instead, a different tactic has been added to that "idea". As COL Keck points out, that remains a mission in addition to the new mission of clear, hold and build. Thus the "surge" and the announcement of it's purpose.

Why is it these people think that bringing a new mission on line and expanding the number of troops somehow translates into the abandonment of the mission of training? And, why, given the reason for the surge (give the Iraqis time to stand up the government and the security forces and take charge of their country), would we stop training them?

Yet given that, we get this:
But evidence has been building for months that training Iraqi troops is no longer the focus of U.S. policy. Pentagon officials said they know of no new training resources that have been included in U.S. plans to dispatch 28,000 additional troops to Iraq. The officials spoke only on the condition of anonymity because they aren't authorized to discuss the policy shift publicly. Defense Secretary Robert Gates made no public mention of training Iraqi troops on Thursday during a visit to Iraq.
Well yeah, that's what is called "a new direction" as called for, supposedly, by the American people. And as far as training goes, the fact that it wasn't mentioned by Gates doesn't mean it's been "abandoned". For instance, this wasn't at all difficult to find:
Iraqi security forces have made much progress in the past two years, transitioning from being coalition-driven to being a capable, competent force fighting for its own people, the commander of the Iraqi Assistance Group told reporters in Baghdad yesterday.

"There was a period of time when coalition forces had to urge Iraqi forces to fight. That is not the case any more," Army Brig. Gen. Dana Pittard said at the Combined Press Information Center in the International Zone.

"They are not only capable of fighting, they want to fight for a sovereign Iraq. They are not fighting for the coalition forces. They are fighting for the Iraqi people," he said.

Pittard said the Iraqi army's capabilities are steadily increasing. Currently, eight of the 10 Iraqi army divisions are under Iraqi command. Six are under the command of the Iraqi Ground Forces Command, and two under the Baghdad Security Command. More than 125,000 Iraqis serve in the army.

While all 10 divisions are capable of fighting, some still lack in providing their own logistical support, Pittard said. Working through those issues will take more time, he said.

Problems with sectarian bias in Iraq's national police units also have turned around, he said. Key leaders were replaced, and the units underwent inspections and collective training, resulting in better cohesion.

When pressed by reporters for a time when all Iraqi units will be able to operate on their own, Pittard said the transition to self-reliance is "conditions-based" and cannot be pushed by a timeline. Successes over time build confidence for the Iraqi forces and, in turn, give the coalition forces confidence to turn over more control.

"It takes patience," he said. "Let's accomplish the mission first before we start talking about withdrawing."

Pittard oversees the embedded military transition teams that work with the Iraqi security forces until the units become self-reliant. About 500 11-person teams are embedded in the Iraqi forces at the battalion level and up.
In fact, they have an entire command dedicated to the training of Iraqi forces known as the Multi-National Security Transition Command - Iraq (MNSTC-I) commanded by LTG Martin Dempsey (who took over in April of 2006).

Ironically, after saying training has been abandoned, she quotes Dempsey in the article:
Lt. Gen. Martin Dempsey, who's in charge of training Iraqi troops, said in February that he hoped that Iraqi troops would be able to lead by December. "At the tactical level, I do believe by the end of the year, the conditions should be set that they are increasingly taking responsibility for the combat operations," Dempsey told NBC News.
Tell me, does that sound like training has been "abandoned"?

To me it sounds like training is going swimmingly well and Dempsey hopes to have Iraqi troops in all areas leading by December.

Apparently Ms. Youseff doesn't understand that the military is capable of multi-tasking and can, in fact, do simultaneous missions. She also doesn't seem to understand that something not being mentioned doesn't necessarily mean it has been abandoned. In fact, if Dempsey is to be believed, it appears the training side of the mission is going pretty darn well.
 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
Should I even mention the immortal phrase "Train the trainers"?
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
Why does anybody pay attention to "McClatchy"? They are about as reliable as Democratic Underground.
 
Written By: A.S.
URL: http://
Why is it these people think that bringing a new mission on line and expanding the number of troops somehow translates into the abandonment of the mission of training?
Habit.

Those of us who favored the war were accused of "inventing a new justification everty week" when we argued that the failure to discover stockpiles of WMD’s did not invalidate the entire case for the war.

In fact, it was the Left that made the reductive strawman argument that the whole war was about WMD’s, beginning about the time that Wilson’s op-ed piece came out in the NYT. (Prior to that they had been arguing that it was all about oil).

They are trotting out the same tired warhorse here. It can’t be that there are multiple balls in the air at once (clear and hold, train Iraqi forces, reconstruction, brokering political solutions, strengthen democratic institutions, reform Iraqi police, information war, etc.). If there is more than one simple idea that can fit on a bumper sticker it implies to them that the administration is trying to confuse them into taking their eyes off the important ball.
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
Let me get this straight. The left is calling the lack of expansion and possible curtailment of a government program "abonding" it, and you’re suprised. Why?
 
Written By: Ryan
URL: http://
They are trotting out the same tired warhorse here. It can’t be that there are multiple balls in the air at once (clear and hold, train Iraqi forces, reconstruction, brokering political solutions, strengthen democratic institutions, reform Iraqi police, information war, etc.). If there is more than one simple idea that can fit on a bumper sticker it implies to them that the administration is trying to confuse them into taking their eyes off the important ball.
Look, we know there can’t be multiple balls in the air, because Bu$h is totally too dumb to multitask like that. And we know he’s dumb because there was only one justification for the war and they are constantly using the exact same strategy...which we know they do because Bu$h is totally too dumb to multitask.

You’d think a circle wouldn’t be so difficult to explain to you evil neocon warmongers.
 
Written By: Some Guy in Chicago
URL: http://
Hey, she’s a trained professional. How dare we question her right to write a story drawing conclusions unsupported by facts?

When I was a kid, we called that BS. Now it’s called journalism. The condescending attitude is free.
 
Written By: MarkD
URL: http://
Hey, I was just coming here to show you this article.

 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Hey, I was just coming here to show you this article.
Good to know you thought it was as silly as McQ and I did. Proof you aren’t as close minded and grasping at any evidence you can as some here accuse you of being;^)
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
Right Lance; heh, good one.
 
Written By: notherbob2
URL: http://
"Tell me, does that sound like training has been "abandoned"?"

No, but then again, that is not what she said.

"Military planners have abandoned the idea that standing up Iraqi troops will enable American soldiers to start coming home soon and now believe..."

"Training Iraqi troops, which had been the cornerstone of the Bush administration’s Iraq policy since 2005, has dropped in priority,..."

"No change has been announced, and a Pentagon spokesman, Col. Gary Keck, said training Iraqis remains important."

"But evidence has been building for months that training Iraqi troops is no longer the focus of U.S. policy."

Where does she say that training has been abandoned? Dropped in priority, yes. Abandoned? No. I think you are stretching a bit too far to make a point.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
McQ quoted:

Military planners have abandoned the idea that standing up Iraqi troops will enable American soldiers to start coming home soon and now believe that U.S. troops will have to defeat the insurgents and secure control of troubled provinces

And concluded:

Tell me, does that sound like training has been "abandoned"?

Note she never said training was being abandoned, only the idea that Iraqi troops can handle the job quickly enough to allow Americans to depart earlier. Also, McQ seems to hang a lot of hope on a quote by an American military official — officials whose optimistic assessments have not been too reliable.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Also, McQ seems to hang a lot of hope on a quote by an American military official — officials whose optimistic assessments have not been too reliable.
That’s interesting, Erb, since the supposed sources of information in that article are administration and military officials.

The remaining portions of the article do not support the initial paragraph. The article does not differentiate between the IA and the IP. I have not read in Iraqi blogs about infiltration problems with the IA while the IP has been long noted to have been infiltrated by militia and anti-government forces.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
I can only speak from the perspective of one MiTT team member who is still in training, but from what I have heard from my counterparts in country, I don’t think the article is necessarily that far off base.
 
Written By: John Sheridan
URL: http://allaloneinthenight.com
I don’t think the article is necessarily that far off base.
Could you provide details? Some of us around here are prior service.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
Without getting too deep in the weeds, the discussions I’ve had with the team members my team will be replacing have been consistently underwhelming regarding the unit we’ll be working with. If the team calls ahead to ask the unit to meet them at a location, they can expect IED strikes en route, so they have to keep their movements secret from the unit they’re working with. The unit also appears to have little interest in learning anything from their American counterparts; they talk to the U.S. team when they want money or coalition forces artillery or air support, and that’s it.

Bottom line: I haven’t been there yet, so my comments come with a good helping of salt, but given the fact the Iraqi unit I’ll be working with is considered one of the best in the Iraqi Army, the reports I’m getting do not suggest to me that they’re ready to be a part of the solution in Iraq any time soon.
 
Written By: John Sheridan
URL: http://allaloneinthenight.com

 
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