Friday, September 01, 2006

... they won't do it


I don't know who the author, "A Marine in Iraq", is, and I don't know who the retired Marine said to have received and quoted the email is, but Soldiers for the Truth doesn't strike me as anything other than what they say they are. The message doesn't strike me anything other than what it appears to be: the assessment of a man on the scene. It would be nice to know the date of the email (the story is dated not quite a month ago). Still...
The biggest lesson I have learned over 6 months here is that the Iraqi culture is incapable of sustaining a western style military. The Arabic style military it can function with is distasteful to western soldiers: officers who hit their men, officer and senior enlisted men who regularly steal from their men, using leadership to openly grant yourself more food and standard of living items while your men go without, taking food from civilians while searching their houses, taking food from crops while searching for weapons caches, and all the while professing to be men of God.
Hat tip: Winds of Change

So after 6 months we've:
  • taught them techniques for planning operations...they won't do it.
  • shown them how to conduct weapons sustainment ranges...they won't do it.
  • we've shown them how to conduct convoys...they won't do it.
  • we've taught them moral and ethical behavior required of soldiers...they won't do it.
  • we've taught them how to manage logistics...they won't do it.
  • we've taught them personnel and administrative management...they won't do it.
  • we've taught them how to operate tactically...they won't do it.
  • we've taught them how to sustain the life support systems on the camp...they won't do it.
Basically we have taught them how to be a self sufficient battalion, but unless the Marines do it for them, they won't do anything. They ALWAYS revert back to the "Iraqi way" when we are not around and that involves DESTROYING and WASTING everything they get their hands on.

But other than all that they say they are "dedicated" to the future of Iraq...should be a bright and wonderful future.


jj mollo said...

This is very depressing, but not so out of line for soldiers in any war. I believe this site is related to a Col. David Hackworth who was very pro-grunt, anti-brass all his career. He slammed Rumsfeld from the very beginning. (Salon article)

Does that mean I'm pro-Rumsfeld? Absolutely not! Does that mean I'm anti-grunt? Not a bit! It's just important to put these kinds of stories in perspective. We actually need more of this kind of stuff, but without the cynical assumption that our leaders intend these results.

Steve said...

I'm not sure if anyone assumes that leaders actually intend these results, but yes.

The thing I remember most about Hackworth was how he predicted 10,000 body bags in the opening days or weeks of Desert Storm. I don't know, maybe he was almost right and we were just very lucky.