Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

The shootout in Baqubah: a response

I love modern communications. Here is a straightforwar dnote from Lt. Joseph Somers responding to an item I had the other day about a shootout in Diyala province between Iraqi Police (IP) and Iraqi Army (IA): I am the platoon leader responsible for this IA company.  The IA on IP “shootout” was due to large ...

576305_091124_IA12.jpg
576305_091124_IA12.jpg

I love modern communications. Here is a straightforwar dnote from Lt. Joseph Somers responding to an item I had the other day about a shootout in Diyala province between Iraqi Police (IP) and Iraqi Army (IA):

I am the platoon leader responsible for this IA company.  The IA on IP "shootout" was due to large egos, not sectarian rifts.

I love modern communications. Here is a straightforwar dnote from Lt. Joseph Somers responding to an item I had the other day about a shootout in Diyala province between Iraqi Police (IP) and Iraqi Army (IA):

I am the platoon leader responsible for this IA company.  The IA on IP “shootout” was due to large egos, not sectarian rifts.

The IA company is fairly competent. Last week we showed them how to clear rooms. A decent amount of them already knew how. One of the IA soldiers even made a correction on one of my soldiers. Today we taught them out to plot points on maps. 

They are making arrests completely autonomous from US forces. Most of the time I don’t even know about the raids they conduct until days after.

Prior to this deployment I remember talking to one of my soldiers who had seen some of the bloodiest days of the surge. He told me how Iraq was un-fixable and how all the IA and IP were corrupt and not to be trusted, and how Iraq was going to unravel. Today I saw that same soldier sit down with a couple IA and train them how to read a map for two hours. I literally had to tell him to stop. Driving back to the FOB he spent the entire time talking to me about what we should train them on next week and how much he enjoyed it.

Iraq is a long way off, but even my most skeptical and jaded soldiers have seen the potential in Iraq in the three months we have been here.

Before I left that company commander today, I asked him how long it had been since he had actually been in a firefight with an insurgent group. He said it had been about 11 or 12 months. He said that he was tired of all the fighting and he was ready to move on.

I left that IA station a little more confident in the future of Iraq today.

AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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