Thursday, March 24, 2005


Iraqi Insurgent base taken in two-hour battle

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- After a two-hour firefight, Iraqi forces and U.S. helicopters captured an insurgent base north of Baghdad, killing 85 rebels, U.S. and Iraqi military officials said Wednesday.

What is significant about this news item, and what was wrongly reported in most headlines, is the composition of the forces doing the fighting. This action was carried out by Iraqi troops supported by US helicopter gunships, not by US troops. The goal all along has been to train Iraqi troops and security forces to gradually take over. It's a slow process. Those who argue that Saddam's Iraqi army should not have been disbanded are simply dead wrong.

Saddam's army, like the old soviet army, was loaded with informants, "political officers" (commissars) and die hard Baathist Saddamites... the very folks who are participating with foreign terrorists and fundamentalists in trying to stave off the emergence of the new Iraqi state. Trying to "retrain" that army, or elements of it, wholesale would have been absolutely futile. The officer corps, in particular, was riddled with persons who should certainly have no place in the new Iraqi armed forces.

Starting from scratch was the only answer. It's a longer, more difficult process. But it was the only realistic course of action.

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