"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Pigs, Iraqi-Style

CNN reports that the Iraqi Police Dept. is toejam, "dysfunctional and sectarian." Well, duh.

The headline trumpets the failure of the Iraqi police, but the article goes on to indicate that the reformation of the Iraqi army is somewhat less than a disaster. The problem of the police has been noted by any number of journalists on the ground for months and months now---the people trust the army somewhat as even-handed and pan-Iraqi; the police are no more than local militias, and often allied with the Shi'a radical Moqtada al-Sadr.

If we withdrew, would the army collapse? I think so---they only cohere when US troops fight alongside them.

If we withdrew, then, what of the police? Likely, these militias would move against their enemies even more openly than they do. Right now, they fulfill some police function by safeguarding their own. In their spare time, they function as death squads, eradicating their counterparts on the other side.

Now, we see "civilian" bodies pile up, but how many of them are bad guys killing each other? This is a question I don't hear asked.

(Based on the news coverage, I have absolutely no idea as to how much of the murder in Iraq is bad guys killing bad guys. But I confess such murders wouldn't upset me. Sorry.)

What we do know is that it's al-Qaeda in Iraq that targets civilians almost exclusively and indiscriminately---the real civilians, woman and children. If the Iraqi army dissolves with a US withdrawal, and it likely would IMO, only the tribes would battle al-Qaeda, but only piecemeal, and only if they thought they might win. Afghanistan is a nation of proud and courageous tribes, but the greater organization of the Taliban left them only with the option of living under their boot to perhaps fight another day. Piecemeal can't get it done against an organized oppressor, as much as we admire the French Resistance, such as it was.

And so, the police problem of right now as a constant in the equation, stay or go. As always, I might be wrong, but I doubt it.

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