US signs up Iraqi security men with minimal training
The Hundustan Times
Washington, November 18
Questioning Defence Department claims of progress in Iraq, members of Congress and others are asking how the US military has been able to recruit, hire and train more than 60,000 new Iraqi security officers in just six weeks.
The answer: by speeding up recruiting and pressing many of them into service with minimal training.
After announcing some months ago that it would accelerate the creation of Iraqi security forces to eventually take over from US occupation forces, the Pentagon now says there are more Iraqis in such jobs than there are American troops in the country.
The positive side of the speed-up is that estimated thousands of Iraqis are taking over guard and patrol duties, freeing Americans and other coalition forces for more difficult work like hunting down insurgents, defence officials say.
The downside is that many of the Iraqis weren't screened as well as American officials would have liked and are getting minimal training in a worsening security environment.
"In a perfect world, you'd have a year's vetting process before you included anybody," Defence Secretary Donald H Rumsfeld said recently.
"Unfortunately, we're not in a perfect world. So what we do is we vet
them to the best we can," he added.