Iraqi security forces unprepared to take over
This one is a Congress-commissioned study on the readiness of Iraqi forces, led by retired Marine Gen. James Jones, former Supreme Commander in Europe and former Commandant of the Marine Corps -- both under Bush, so let's not hear criticisms of him as a "Clinton general" or anything like that.
The conclusion: Four years after our invasion, Iraqi security forces remain unready to take over the country's security, and won't be able to any time soon. Structural progress within the military itself has been confounded by political corruption.
Overall, Jones found that Iraqi military forces, particularly the Army, show "clear evidence of developing the baseline infrastructures that lead to the successful formation of a national defense capability." But Baghdad's police force and Ministry of Interior are plagued by "dysfunction."
"In any event, the ISF will be unable to fulfill their essential security responsibilities independently over the next 12-18 months," the report states.
That bears out what U.S. troops have experienced throughout our time in Iraq, up to and including the surge: American troops can clear an area of insurgents, but Iraqi units are incapable of holding the cleared terrain.
That, in turn, bodes badly for the upcoming progress report on Iraq, because it's an example of political problems stymying military efforts.
The actual Iraqi military gets reasonable marks, though it, too, is plagued by corruption and sectarian rifts. But the report is stinging in its criticism of the police force, which makes up the bulk of Iraqi security forces.
It describes the Iraqi police as fragile, ill-equipped and infiltrated by militia forces. And it is led by the Ministry of Interior, which is "a ministry in name only" that is "widely regarded as being dysfunctional and sectarian, and suffers from ineffective leadership."
In other words, not much has changed in the last nine months. Which does not meet any definition of "progress" that I'm aware of.
Jones testifies before Congress tomorrow. Maybe he'll flesh things out a little then.
Iraq, politics, midtopia