By mid-June, the Iraqi forces had been given 306 million rounds of ammunition, roughly 12 bullets for each of Iraq’s 25 million people. But when one senior American officer involved was asked whether the Americans might end up arming the Iraqis for a civil war, he paused for a moment, then nodded. “Maybe,” he said.
But you really should read the whole article for the full flavor of the Iraqi mess:
As Iraq resumed its sovereignty after the period of American occupation, the new American team that arrived then, headed by Ambassador John D. Negroponte, had a withering term for the optimistic approach of their predecessors, led by L. Paul Bremer III. The new team called the departing Americans “the illusionists,” for their conviction that America could create a Jeffersonian democracy on the ruins of Saddam Hussein’s medieval brutalism.
The Illusionists. Sound like a good name for a band. They should open for The Reality Based Community.
But here’s an example of why things are shitty in Iraq:
There have been persistent reports, mostly in Baghdad, of Shiite death squads in police uniforms abducting, torturing and killing Sunni Arab clerics, community leaders and others. In Baghdad, a police commando unit composed mainly of Shiites raided a hospital two weekends ago and abducted 13 Sunni men accused of being insurgents. Sixteen hours later, the bodies of 10 were delivered to a morgue, the victims of suffocation in a locked metal-topped police van in a temperature nearing 120 degrees.
Even the new Iraqi forces, hailed by the Bush administration as the key to an eventual American troop withdrawal, seem as likely to provoke a civil war as to prevent one. The 170,000 men already trained are dominated by Shiites and Kurds, in a proportion even higher than the 80 percent those groups represent in the population. Though there are thousands of Sunni Arabs in the forces, including some generals, Iraqi units that are sent to the worst hot spots are often dominated by Shiites and Kurds, some recruited from sectarian militias deeply hostile to Sunni Arabs.
Oh, remember the days when all of them threw roses at our feet?