Here's a WaPo article built around some rather disaffected and discouraged soldiers manning a police station in a bad Baghdad neighborhood.

"U.S. officials need to get our [expletive] out of here," said the 43-year-old reservist from Pittsburgh, who arrived in Iraq with the 307th Military Police Company on May 24. "I say that seriously. We have no business being here. We will not change the culture they have in Iraq, in Baghdad. Baghdad is so corrupted. All we are here is potential people to be killed and sitting ducks." ...

He once sat at a desk outside, then moved indoors. "Let the Iraqis guard the gate," he said, next to a sandbagged window.

The way Pollard sees it, the Iraqi police should be taking the risks, not his 13 reservists at the station.

"It's not fair to our troops to build a country that's not even ours and our lives are at risk," he said. "They've got to take control. They may have to kill some of their own people to make a statement that we're back in control. No doubt." ...

The neighborhood is dangerous, he said, and fighting crime here might require twice the 86 police officers they still have. But of the 86, he said, at least half should be dismissed for corruption or ineptitude.

"This is a crooked cop sitting here," he said, pointing to a major who didn't understand English.

He walked through the station, leaning into a room with two officers busy at a desk. "Here's a room where they're acting like they're doing real important paperwork," he said. He walked outside to a balcony where three officers were sitting on newspapers and a green burlap sack, one with his shoes off. "This is a couple more lazy cops, sitting down when they should be outside," he said. They all greeted Pollard with cold stares, forgoing the traditional greetings that are almost obligatory in their culture.

I'm sure there's much more to this story than the paper reports, but it sounds like poor leadership among the American soldiers to me. It's discouraging to read about such low morale among troops that have been in Iraq for barely more than a month, but maybe that's to be expected when we are forced to rely so heavily on reservists who are torn away from their ordinary lives.

Nevertheless, people aren't having their ears cut off for travelling without the proper papers and children aren't being executed and tossed into mass graves, so I still call it an improvement. It will take years to get all the details sorted out. Surely the author, Anthony Shadid, must know this, but he managed to find the worst in the situation anyway,



Email blogmasterofnoneATgmailDOTcom for text link and key word rates.

Site Info