View Full Version : Training Iraqis Isn't Just Guns and Butter

12-18-2005, 12:16 PM
18 Dec. Los Angeles Times Op-Ed - Training Iraqis Isn't Just Guns and Butter (http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-op-iraqtroops18dec18,0,3044951.story?coll=la-news-comment-opinions).

Fighting insurgents is messy and slow. Turning Iraqi soldiers into effective combatants is nearly as difficult. But last week's promising parliamentary elections in Iraq cannot be consolidated and built on unless the Iraqis can secure their country themselves.

The window of opportunity for training them is quickly closing. I trained as a Marine infantryman for nearly two years one year in classes, another on the job before I felt ready to fight. Iraqi forces don't have that much time, so it's vital that their training focus on what is most essential.

Contrary to much of what we hear, training Iraqi troops isn't fundamentally about teaching marksmanship or basic tactics. Nor is the best measure of progress the number of Iraqi battalions capable of fighting on their own. Instead, successful training of Iraqis rests on three pillars: imparting the discipline that guarantees loyalty to legitimate authority; developing forces that will fight well alongside U.S. units; and ensuring that the Iraqi military is a force for integration in society...