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February 16, 2005

Militias Rock!

From Today's Papers by Eric Umansky in Slate:

The Journal details the latest craze in Iraqi security forces: ad-hoc forces "commanded by friends and relatives of cabinet officers and tribal sheiks," which usually operate with government funding. A U.S. major explained, "We don't call them militias. Militias are ... illegal. I've begun calling them 'Irregular Iraqi ministry-directed brigades.' " There are an estimated 15,000 of these guys, and though there's obviously the potential problem of command-and-control, they're apparently pretty motivated. "Pound for pound, the toughest force we've got," said an American officer about one unit. Asked about the advisability of keeping them around, top training Gen. David Petraeus said, "To be candid, I would err on the side of fostering initiative. I want to get the hell out of here."
Emphasis added. I'd like for the American military to get the hell out of Iraq too...I'm not sure if allowing national art treasures to be stolen and paying independent militias is the lasting impression I'd want to leave on a country, but that's just me...

Posted by cj at February 16, 2005 9:33 AM

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