The Problem With Iraqi Security: More Than a Numbers Game

Philip Barron: Why the surge strategy in Iraq amounts to "clear, hold, and lose."
A critical component of the surge strategy in Iraq - arguably the most important element - involves the ability of Iraqi security forces to actually maintain security. U.S. generals are admitting publicly that that element is sadly lacking:
The U.S. commander of a new offensive north of Baghdad, reclaiming insurgent territory day by day, said Sunday his Iraqi partners may be too weak to hold onto the gains. The Iraqi military does not even have enough ammunition, said Brig. Gen. Mick Bednarek: "They're not quite up to the job yet."
His counterpart south of Baghdad seemed to agree, saying U.S. troops are too few to garrison the districts newly rid of insurgents. "It can't be coalition (U.S.) forces. We have what we have. There's got to be more Iraqi security forces," said Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch.
It would be one thing if mere numbers were the only concern, but an ongoing Time investigation indicates that the performance of Iraqi security is the weak link in the surge strategy, and that the insurgency is eagerly exploiting it:
Philip Barron is a St. Louis writer and author of the blog Waveflux.
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