Magazine article The Washington Monthly

What, We Have to Wear Uniforms Too?

Magazine article The Washington Monthly

What, We Have to Wear Uniforms Too?

Article excerpt

Two news stories provide hints of the state of today's Iraqi army. One, by Greg Jaffe of the Wall Street Journal, describes how Iraqi army Brigadier General Falah Hassan Kinbar "barely escaped a kidnap attempt by the Mahdi Army, a radical Shiite militia," during which "more than a dozen of the moderate Shiite general's own men betrayed him." An American colonel told Jaffe that the general is "one of the few military commanders up here who refuses to violate his own principles and work with the Mahdi Army. That's why they want to kill him." Brigadier General Kinbar says, "I want to do my duty. But I am very sure my own government will abandon me." He wants the Americans to help him escape and relocate. "Any country," he pleads. "Any country."

In the other story, by the Associated Press, the good news is that the Iraqi army is enjoying recruiting success. The bad news is how they're doing it. Recruits are being promised that they will not be sent far from home. …

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