Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Big surprise

The sinister atmosphere at Karmah barracks is not difficult to understand. The marines are convinced that many, perhaps most, of the 140 members of the Iraqi National Guard (ING) they share the camp with are double agents working on behalf of the insurgents holding Fallujah.

In the past week alone the marines have arrested five of the guardsmen, including their commanding officer, Capt Ali Mohammed Jasim.

It is just one example that a Vietnam-era experiment Washington resurrected to form the backbone of an offensive planned by the end of the year to retake Fallujah, the crucible of Iraq's insurgency, is going disastrously wrong. Under the Combined Action Platoon (CAP) scheme, US soldiers train Iraqi guardsmen, live with them in the same barracks and venture out on joint patrols, all steps towards a longer-term objective of the withdrawal of American troops.

The plan was first developed in Vietnam, where US marines cohabited with local militias to defend villages from Vietcong raids. At the same time the marines trained the militiamen with the intention of turning them into an effective fighting force, but they were too ill-equipped and underpaid for the plan to have much success.

Not only should this not be a surprise, it should be be expected. While the wingnuts are mulling over whether they want to nuke Iraqis or give them democracy, they forget one little fact: WE INVADED THEIR FUCKING COUNTRY

I think the most telling thing about this article is that the military is reviving tactics used in Vietnam, because they worked so well back then...