Saturday, June 9, 2007

So... About those benchmarks

Here's a story from the Washington Post on cooperation between a Sunni militia and American forces. Official Iraqi federal and civil forces are completely absent from the story (and presumably the area in question).

- It's good to see our military recognizing and co-opting real local power over theoretical federal or state forces.

- It's surprising to see no mention of special forces. Isn't this their bag?

- It's unsurprising to see confusion and reluctance between our forces and the militia. Under the circumstances, neither side has reason to trust the other. The solution is to have minimal involvement- lay down some rules using arms supplies as the carrot and then stay out of the way. You can't provide effective operational support if you can't distinguish friend from foe, so don't try. And don't try to turn them into a scout force to guide our own operations. They want to save their neighborhoods, not watch us blow them up.

- Does anyone care that we're actively undermining some of the benchmarks we just signed into law?
(x) Providing Iraqi commanders with all authorities to execute this plan and to make tactical and operational decisions, in consultation with U.S commanders, without political intervention, to include the authority to pursue all extremists, including Sunni insurgents and Shiite militias.

(xiii) Reducing the level of sectarian violence in Iraq and eliminating militia control of local security.

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