Sunday, October 02, 2005

Must read:

Nobody knows more about the effort to build up the Iraqi military and police forces than the former 101st Airborne division (Air Assault) commander General Petraeus.

TigerHawk caught up with him giving a talk at Princeton University:

The most impressive thing about the Iraqi units is how tenacious they have become, notwithstanding early reports that they would cut and run. According to General Patraeus, since the January elections, from which the Iraqi security forces “took an enormous lift that still persists,” the Iraqi forces "have not run from a fight, they have not backed down."

Try to find THAT in the New York Times!

Under NATO's auspices, the Iraqi military academy is open with entirely Iraqi instructors. It might have been opened much earlier with foreign instructors, but the Coalition felt that it was important to make it an Iraqi endeavor. General Patraeus noted later that he was very unhappy that this achievement got essentially no coverage in the media given its importance to success in Iraq.

Hey, Lovelady!!! Where was the press on that one? That's a major failure! I didn't know that, and I read Iraq coverage all the time. Think maybe Yost might have had a point?

The progress since the summer of 2004, when General Patraeus assumed command, has been considerable. Fifteen months ago, only six battalions of Iraqi army (less than 2,000 men) were in training, and none were "in the fight." Now, 14 battalions are in training, and 74 are operational and in the fight.

A year ago, there were no special police units. Now there are 27 battalions in the fight, and five more serving as border patrol and emergency response. These are all top-down units, none that have failed “like the homegrown Fallujah brigade.”

The other interesting question involved the "public relations" war. "Are we losing the PR war to the enemy? What are you doing on the marketing PR front?"

General Patraeus said that they have given the media an enormous amount of information, including countless important metrics for measuring progress, but that it is largely ignored. [Lovelady? Rosen? Comment? - ed.] He observed that the enemy “On many days it is impossible to break through the steady drumbeat of sensational attacks occurring in Baghdad throughout the country. The opening of the new military academy got no coverage at all, even though it was a big event with the whole Iraqi government in attendance."

Patraeus is obviously extremely unhappy with the monomaniacal press coverage.

Yep. The evidence of the utter failure of the press corps to adequately and accurately provide balanced coverage of the war continues to mount. Rosen? Lovelady? You can take your heads out of the sand, now. Your proffession needs some leadership.

Read the whole thing.

Splash, out


Brings to mind McCain's recent criticisms of CENTCOM's leadership over the number of IA battalions that can operate "independently". OUR battalions can't operate independently. Our own battalions require such things as logistics, fire support, intelligence, and so many other multipliers.

I have no idea why we even have a category in the reporting of something so ridiculous as the number of battalions that operate independently. We cut our own throats by coming up with this bogus 'metric'.

McCain's a Navy guy. The generals should have asked him how many Navy ships operate independently, then cut out this figure from their reporting all together.

The real metric ought to be how many battalions are sufficiently prepared to assume control of an AO and maintain it or otherwise conduct short term independent operations WITH support either from an IA BDE or from one of ours.
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