The Truth about the Iraqi Security Forces

Earlier this month, the Bush administration delayed the release of its Iraq progress report to Congress. When the documents were finally released, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld decided to keep “one of the main measures of progress” — “the readiness and performance of U.S.-trained Iraqi security forces” section — classified from the American people.

Now the inspector generals of the State and Defense Departments have come forward to reveal that “insurgents and other criminals have infiltrated Iraqi police ranks due to poor screening procedures by U.S. forces.” Furthermore, the joint report does a dual pronged attack on President Bush’s constant harping on the number of Iraqi forces that have been trained.

The report reiterates “the difficulty in defining the number of police who are trained and equipped.” It then goes on to state, “This emphasis on numbers overshadows the attention that should be given to the qualitative performance of those trained. There is a perception that training programs have produced ‘cannon fodder’ — numbers of nominal policemen incapable of defending themselves, let alone the Iraqi public.”

The administration is already pushing back against the findings with Pentagon officials trying to paint the report as outdated — “a snapshot from two to three months ago” — and that “police recruiting has been improving.” Yet, at the same time they are calling the report old news that is already being resolved, officials are admitting that Rumsfeld has yet to have been briefed on the report’s findings…even though a draft copy has been available since May.