Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

COIN: How to talk to Iraqi officers

In the April issue of Army magazine, Capt. Brennan Speakes relates that: The Iraqi army officers who spoke to us at the COIN academy said that their biggest problem with the U.S. soldier was the lack of respect we show to Iraqi senior officers. I made it a hard-and-fast rule that an officer was an ...

The U.S. Army/flickr
The U.S. Army/flickr
The U.S. Army/flickr

In the April issue of Army magazine, Capt. Brennan Speakes relates that:

The Iraqi army officers who spoke to us at the COIN academy said that their biggest problem with the U.S. soldier was the lack of respect we show to Iraqi senior officers. I made it a hard-and-fast rule that an officer was an officer no matter what. Don't let your soldiers even start down that road. Use the golden rule -- it works."

I'm a little surprised that seven years into this, such lessons are considered necessary. But better to say them than not.

In the April issue of Army magazine, Capt. Brennan Speakes relates that:

The Iraqi army officers who spoke to us at the COIN academy said that their biggest problem with the U.S. soldier was the lack of respect we show to Iraqi senior officers. I made it a hard-and-fast rule that an officer was an officer no matter what. Don’t let your soldiers even start down that road. Use the golden rule — it works."

I’m a little surprised that seven years into this, such lessons are considered necessary. But better to say them than not.

Meanwhile, the prolific Gary Anderson elaborates in SWJ on his comments here yesterday. Take away:

Some of the Green Zone dwellers think the post-election jockeying between the various political factions will be American style "horse  trading" as we saw in the health care debate; they have sold this line to the Washington Post and New York Times. This is bunk. Iraqi politics is a full contact sport, and blood will be shed. Nor will the battle be primarily sectarian. It will be a Shiia-on- Shiia affair. If it doesn’t end up in a civil war, it will look like a Chicago gang war before it is over."

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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