Monday, May 01, 2006

Our Tax Dollars At Work

The London Times reports on the growing trend for U.S. trained security forces in Iraq to defect to the militias.
Soon after he graduated near the top of his class at the American-run police academy, Alah defected. He did not bother to inform his superiors. The young Iraqi police officer simply walked into a recruitment office in a rundown neighbourhood of Baghdad and signed on for the Mahdi Army, the private militia run by the radical young cleric Moqtada al-Sadr that has been blamed for some of the most savage atrocities in this city in recent weeks.

The 23-year-old absconder described it as “a career move”. The pay was better, the duties less onerous and there was far less chance of being killed.

Three years after President Bush declared “mission accomplished” in Iraq, young gunslingers such as Alah are what passes for the law across much of this city today.

Nobody knows for sure the strength of Iraq’s militias, but they certainly outnumber the 120,000-strong police force that estimates it is losing several hundred recruits a month. This is the only country where police and soldiers have it written into their contracts that they can leave on a whim without being punished.

Alah’s defection is a blow to attempts to rebuild Iraq. Western money and manpower trained him to replace the British and US forces. But, with young recruits deserting in ever growing numbers, the prospect of a swift pullout recedes still further.

Read it all here.


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