From the 9 August USA TODAY:
"What the soldiers of Headquarters Company, 1st Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division, want more immediately is a gym. And cots that don't sag so much they need cinder blocks for support. Or a system that drains away the human sewage that pools in the street outside their barracks. Or working phones. 'We can lead ourselves. We have the capability,' says Sgt. Zaman Ali, 29, a platoon leader here. 'We just don't have the supplies, equipment or living conditions. Someone is not doing their job.' The brigade is based at Camp Justice in northern Baghdad...U.S. officials say setting up a strong administrative infrastructure — a system to pay soldiers on time, manage bases and perform other duties —will be as vital as weapons training. 'Make no bones about it: One of the biggest challenges we face in building the Iraqi security forces is the infrastructure needed to maintain them,' [coalition training command spokesman] Wellman says. 'If the Iraqis do not have the proper administrative procedure and policy in place, it could undermine everything.'"
Read the entire article here. [usatoday.com]
A (possibly apocryphal) quote from Omar Bradley comes to mind: "Amateurs study tactics; professionals study logistics." If you doubt the wisdom of that statement, read this article carefully. There's a few important things to take away from this:
1. How many times can we make the same mistake? We went to war without sufficient planning for logistics, supply throughput, or even spare parts availability...apparently, we've decided to make the Iraqis go through the same "character-building" experience. Now consider DoD's current plans to outsource much of DoD's logistics support chain to private companies (because it's more efficient, of course), and it becomes apparent that if the lunatics are not fully in control of the asylum, they're at least writing the rulebooks.
2. No doubt these shortfalls will result in a full-court press to try to rectify the shortages; all well and good, unless the rebuilding of civil infrastructure in Iraq suffers as a result. Imagine the perspective of the Iraqi on the street who has intermittent power, little to no clean water and plumbing, and long lines at the gas pump. Now imagine that same man looking at the military compound in the city where his countrymen have all of the above and then some. Think there won't be some social stratification and resentment there? Think that guy won't be a fertile target for insurgents, who tell him that if he can drive out the ISF, he can help himself to their stuff?
3. When it comes to the ISF, numbers don't tell the whole story. It's all well and good to announce that 100,000 (or whatever the number is this week) troops have been trained - have they been equipped? When was the last time they were paid? Are the soldiers living in dusty tents while their leaders live in air-conditioned "super hooches"? More to the point, who's got "the rose" for fixing the above? The answers might surprise (and depress) you.
It's very easy to dismiss the above arguments as mere griping, and to note the historically over-provisioned state of the American soldier. This argument is partially valid; look at the rapid proliferation of Burger Kings and Baskin-Robbins wherever we set up major bases. What we're talking about above, though, goes beyond the simplicity of fast food and internet access, and goes instead to equipping troops with the proper tools to accomplish their tasks. Iraqi or American, is that really too much to ask?
To read more from Ray Kimball and the other Iraq veterans, check out the OpTruth Blog.