It seems that more and more politicians of both parties are embracing the Iraq Study Group concept that the U.S. should set a timetable to withdraw its combat forces and concentrate on training Iraqi forces to take over security. One obvious problem with that is that the new Plan B was Plan A back in 2004 and we've supposedly been training and equipping Iraqi forces ever since, but they never seem to be ready. But there is a more basic reason why Plan A and Plan B are both really bad plans. Here's Richard A. Oppel and John Elsen in the NYT today:
[M]en wearing Iraqi military uniforms stormed into a village in Diyala Province and killed 29 men, women and children. An Iraqi security official, Col. Ragheb Radhi al-Umiri, said the gunmen surrounded the victims and fired into the crowd. The attack occurred in a remote village north of Baquba, he said, and the bodies of some victims were “desecrated” before the attackers fled.
In an e-mailed response to questions, an American military spokesman in Baghdad wrote that American forces had received a report from the Diyala Provincial Joint Coordination Center about the attack, saying that men “wearing Iraqi army uniforms attacked Adwala village, killing 29 civilians and wounding four civilians,” and that the attackers rode in new Iraqi police trucks.
Now, I'm here to tell you that those guys weren't just "wearing" Iraqi military uniforms, and they didn't paint those truck to look like Iraqi police trucks in their garages. The reason they were wearing Iraqi military uniforms and driving Iraqi police trucks is because the United States gave them those uniforms, and those trucks, and the guns they used to shoot the villagers, and trained them how to shoot the guns (as if they needed it).
The reason the Iraqi forces aren't ready to take over security is not because they don't know how. It's because there isn't any such thing as Iraq any more. The government with which the U.S. is allied represents a minority faction of the Shiite sectarian majority, and does not govern anything, anywhere. When people sign up to join the Iraqi security forces and get those pretty uniforms, and trucks, and guns, it doesn't change their loyalties, which are to one or another faction, which might happen to be that of the Prime Minister or just as well might happen not to be. Note that most Iraqis (outside of Kurdistan) still say they believe in Iraq and want the nation to reconcile. But that's beside the point. I believe in reason and science and I want James Dobson to see the light. That doesn't mean it will ever happen.
Note that the new military strategy for which the generals are claiming success is to ally, not with Iraqi security forces, but with tribal and sectarian militias. The government doesn't like this, obviously, but on the other hand, when U.S. forces do patrol with Iraqi troops, their biggest fear is that the same guys they patrol with during the day are going to try to kill them by night.
So, the more Iraqi forces we train and equip, the more resources they will have to fight each other, and the occupation army, which they all hate. That is not a path to victory.
Here's the way out. Drive south. Get on ships. Leave.