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Thursday, December 01, 2005

Things to piss you off 

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They are not ready


Administration estimates of Iraqi troop strength have been all over the lot, but estimates of their effectiveness tend to be consistent. Gary Schmitt, director of strategic studies at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, recently told the Los Angeles Times that while some Iraqi units have improved, "to get a force that is really effective requires a lot more experience than this army is likely to have for years." Writing in the Atlantic Monthly, James Fallows reports, "Time and again since the training began, inspection teams ... have visited Iraq and come to the same conclusion: The readiness of many Iraqi units is low, their loyalty and morale are questionable, regional and ethnic divisions are sharp, their reported numbers overstate their real effectiveness." And in a new study, Andrew Terrill, a Middle East scholar, and Conrad Crane, director of the Army Military History Institute, agree. They say it's not clear now that the United States can "create military and police forces that can secure the entire country no matter how long U.S. forces remain."

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Same Old

WASHINGTON -- President Bush sought once again to convince Americans he has a victory strategy in Iraq. But the speech was as notable for what he left out.

Mr. Bush said that the number of battle-ready Iraqi army and police battalions has grown markedly -- but didn't address accusations that Shiite and Kurdish security forces are torturing and killing Sunni civilians. He said continued progress means "we will be able to decrease our troop levels" -- but declined to offer a general timetable for when. He said U.S. forces are "learning from our experiences [and] adjusting our tactics" -- but outlined no new administration strategy.

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Murtha Says

LATROBE, Pa. (AP) - Most U.S. troops will leave Iraq within a year because the Army is "broken, worn out" and "living hand to mouth," Rep. John Murtha told a civic group.

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