Saturday, April 07, 2007

Iraqi police as per Bremer

On October 2, 2003, Lt. General Sanchez gave a congressional delegation headed by Kentucky (R) Senator Mitch McConnell a briefing, where he said that the Coalition had almost 54,000 Iraqi police on duty.

Bremer writes

"After that ... session, I asked Doug Brand, our lanky Yorkshire police officer who was now acting Senior Adviser to the Interior Ministry, to come in with Clay to discuss police training.

"Let's review the situation, Doug. At the end of August, Bernie Kerik said that many of the 35,000 police then on the rolls would have be dropped for incompetence, corruption or previous human rights abuses. Now Sanchez reports that we've got 54,000 police officers on patrol a month later. How the hell could that happen?"

"Apparently General Sanchez is operating under an order from General Abizaid to recruit 30,000 police officers in thirty days," Doug said. "The Army is sweeping up half-educated men off the streets, running them through a three-week training course, arming them, and then calling them 'police'. It's a scandal, pure and simple."

"You know the military, Clay. Can you find me the order they're using to do this hiring?"

"I can get it," Clay said simply.

The military seemed to be proceeding with its plans to replace American combat units with ill-trained Iraqi police. But before I could raise this problem during that afternoon's secure call to Rumsfeld, he asked me to find some positive, newsworthy "interim steps" that we could take to "migrate" political authority to the Iraqis. "We've got to show some forward motion on the political front, Jerry."

That's Feith's Defense policy shop-talking.


"Mr. Secretary, I have to be frank," I said. "You're seeing inflated numbers on police rosters. We shouldn't kid ourselves thinking that the Iraqis are better prepared than they are. We needed a professional police force here, one that's trained to a high standard. That's the whole point of the program in Jordan."

Rumsfeld did not seem convinced. He said that it was better to get the "process started quickly" by having our Army bring in these extra police.

I disagreed. I told him of Doug Brand's description of the Army pulling guys off the street and running them through a short "training" course.

At the end of the call, Rumsfeld seemed to understand, saying he would "push back" on the police in the total-force projection numbers when his office announced them the next week.


We can actually check that:

Department of Defense Briefing, October 16, 2003

Q In the wake of the bombing of the Baghdad Hotel in Iraq, U.S. officials both here and in Baghdad touted the effectiveness of the Iraqi facility's protection force trained by the United States. But subsequent to that our -- CNN's people in Baghdad tell me that, in fact, the people guarding the hotel were contractors from the DynCorp company. Is that the case? And are any of these Iraqi protection forces actually up and protecting anything at this point?



SEC. RUMSFELD: There are site protection Iraqi forces. There are border patrol Iraqi forces. There are some starting in the Army. There are any number of Iraqis in police forces. The total number keeps going up. About a week ago it was 56,000 with another 14 (thousand) in training, up to 70,000 -- 16 in training, 17 in training. And now it's something in excess of that. They have a variety of responsibilities. I would guess that in addition there are contractors hiring Iraqis with -- for the -- to work for the contractor, which would be a different -- still different category.