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Bradley

Iraqi Police lectured

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Hmmm, the lecturer has problems with the "social process" aspect of his delivery. That is, he's not making it easy for anyone he's lecturing to side with his point of view.

He's certainly PO'd, that message is coming through loud and clear.

Thanks for the link Bradley.

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Yeah, thanks for the link. It's tempting to take cheap shots at that MP, but now that the vid is on the web it's only a matter of time before his career gets killed. Unless of course one of those Iraqi cops get him first.

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Yeah, thanks for the link. It's tempting to take cheap shots at that MP, but now that the vid is on the web it's only a matter of time before his career gets killed. Unless of course one of those Iraqi cops get him first.

Hopefully his career won't suffer too much - no doubt he's in a hell of a situation, one problem being that his trainees don't really seem to care whether he's there or not. Or it doesn't matter or sumfink.

Badly fitting hats or odd-shaped heads?

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Hopefully his career won't suffer too much - no doubt he's in a hell of a situation, one problem being that his trainees don't really seem to care whether he's there or not. Or it doesn't matter or sumfink.

Badly fitting hats or odd-shaped heads?

The Internet is an insidious thing, it seems like every time US service personnel get posted there doing something embaressing, the command response is to punish the soldier on the vid. More or less the standard is "you can break the rules, but you can't get video-recorded breaking the rules."

Speaking of pressure, I wounder how much he understands the pressure an average Iraqi cop is under. For instance, at one point the MP says he's ready anytime to walk down a road and get into a firefight in some neighborhood those Iraqi police are according to him afraid to go into.

A question that may well have occured to some of the Iraqis in the audience might well have been along the lines of -

"Yeah dude, take off that body armor and put down that radio where you can get back up ammo and indirect and reaction forces and Apaches and Allah knows what else. Next trade in your $4000 or so monthly salary, for a monthly paycheck of $200. And pass out tickets and visas to about 200 - 300 guys in that nasty neighborhood, so they can live in the States next to your family, and kidnap or kill your kids pretty much any time they please. And while you're at it, make sure back home in the States every judge and public official from the meter maid right up through the mayor is on the take, absolutely corrupt, and the bad guys have tons of money to bribe the officials, and you can't even support your family. Then let's see you walk the walk, tough guy."

But frankly I'm sure the thinking in the minds of the overwhelming majority of that MP's audience must have been more or less -

"Hm, the loud foreigner is hot and shouting again. Well, standing in a ice safe formation while he gets all mad is a whole lot better than walking patrol in some of the neighborhoods around here. Hope he yells a long time. When's tea break?"

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snigger. Yep, and I'd love to know what the translation was coming out as -

"Same old same old, blah blah. Ali, he's gonna kick your ass if you laugh at him again, so cool it, yeah?"

If the MP has no concerns going and doing the job, why doesn't he? And if the squad does have some militia fighters in it, he'll get a chance to mop them up.

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A question that may well have occured to some of the Iraqis in the audience might well have been along the lines of - ...

The impression I've gotten in regards a fair number of accounts about coalition forces working with and/or trying to train local forces -- whether police, militia, border patrol, or regular army -- in both Iraq and Afghanistan is that in plenty of cases the locals seem either lazy, lackadaisical, or corrupt.

I'm no professor with a degree in Middle Eastern studies, nor am I a military expert, but I can understand both the MP's pissed-off-ness as well as the likely reasons for the seeming reluctance/laziness of the Iraqi policemen.

I think the major question that comes out of this video is why do all the Iraqi police have such badly-fitting hats?

Do Iraqis, even policemen, ever wear 'baseball cap'-style hats? If no, were they issued said caps, perhaps? If yes, I guess they just wear 'em differently over there.

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Nobody's doubting his reasons for being pissed off, or the motivations of the Iraqis. I guess we're smiling at the sheer pointlessness of his speech and the 100% not guaranteed to deliver way he's making his point. It actually typifies so many of the misunderstandings, mis-guidedness and futility of the allied effort at re-building.

In this case the number 1 mistake the American is making is the assumption that people would want to fight and die for their country. It seems natural to an American, whose country has a 200 year history of commonwealth, freedoms and advancement born out of a just revolution. To an Iraqi, whose country has a few decades of history of repression, poverty and stagnation born out of former colonial rulers drawing lines on a map, it is totally bamboozling. Their country has done nothing for them, so why should they offer up their lives? It's not cowardice, it's an equation that doesn't make sense for them.

For the policemen, their loyalties lie not with country, but with family, clan and religious/ethnic grouping. These are the units that provide for them and have histories going back centuries. That's why they fight for their militias. Oh, and also the fact that they joined the militia as a way of earning a living when Rumsfeld et al wholseale sacked everyone in the army and police who had any sort of tie to the Ba'athists. ie. pretty much all of them became unemployed overnight.

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For the policemen, their loyalties lie not with country, but with family, clan and religious/ethnic grouping. These are the units that provide for them and have histories going back centuries. That's why they fight for their militias.

That's one of the things that have been on my mind as well. What is the betting that once the US pulls out, Iraq will disintegrate into its constituent parts? When Iraq was brought into being after the First World War, it was a lashed together conglomerate of more or less separate entities with relatively very flimsy ties to each other, and stronger grounds for mutual animosity. It sort of resembles Yugoslavia in this regard and for somewhat similar reasons.

Michael

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That's one of the things that have been on my mind as well. What is the betting that once the US pulls out, Iraq will disintegrate into its constituent parts? When Iraq was brought into being after the First World War, it was a lashed together conglomerate of more or less separate entities with relatively very flimsy ties to each other, and stronger grounds for mutual animosity. It sort of resembles Yugoslavia in this regard and for somewhat similar reasons.

Michael

Sadly, the odds would be pretty high - until another Saddam comes along and unites the tribes. Typically, he'd form a coalition strong enough to defeat the remainder militarily, probably with backing from the US intelligence community. :rolleyes:

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Joining the Iraqi police force is certainly not the best career option for those who wish to live long.

A suicide bomber has killed at least 28 people queuing outside a police recruitment centre in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, police say.

At least 57 other people were wounded in the attack, carried out by a bomber on a motorcycle.

The attack happened at about 1000 (0700 GMT) in "the middle of a crowd outside the [police] academy on Palestine Street", a police official told AFP news agency.

Reports suggest the bomber detonated a belt of explosives as he crashed his motorbike into a line of people waiting at the side entrance to the training centre. Most of the dead were police recruits, while others were serving officers and civilians.

The reported death toll quickly rose, making this the deadliest suicide strike reported in Iraq for nearly a month.

Police recruitment centres have been a popular target for insurgents, and this academy has been attacked before.

On 1 December last year, 15 police and recruits were killed, and another 45 people injured, in twin blasts at the building.

And in 2005 two female suicide bombers attacked the building, killing 40 people.

The BBC's Mike Sergeant says that measures have been taken to try to protect the building, such as setting up concrete blocks and checkpoints nearby.

But he says that with the streams of police and recruits coming and going it is difficult to make it secure.

Iraq has massively expanded its police and military forces over recent years as the government of Prime Minister Nouri Maliki seeks to ensure local forces can provide security amid the envisaged draw-down of US troops.

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As long as there is money to pay the salaries there will be applicants for the jobs.

If it ever happens that the Iraqi police force develops into a halfway competent law enforcement agency, the number of attacks on its personnel will decline; most probably due to a number of successful counter-attacks. I know the myth is that western law enforcement groups find their attackers and bring them in front of the courts; the reality is that this is only true where they themselves aren't the victims. In the case of an attack on the law, they use their intelligence networks to make sure that the counter is well timed and placed, and the miscreants end up dead. Good intelligence also limits collateral damage, leading to less of a backlash. How this is managed without the police force overstepping the mark and abusing it's power is a matter of mystery to me - probably to do with the culture or mythos of the organisation and the oversight by the legislature and courts - the overarching set of values to which the society prescribes.

I don't think there is a group fighting for control of the country that believes it doesn't need a police force, so it is likely that the bombing is being paid for by a criminal element (duh - how about an "ordinary" criminal element?). Are there any reports of accounting discrepancies along the lines of dead recruits' salaries being paid and collected? This would be in line with some practices in the Vietnam War...

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There is also the problem of corruption. What if one or more members of a police station are willing to tell what the police are planning, in exchange for something more valuable than the operational security of the police unit?

Such things might commonly include avoiding getting murdered onesself, avoiding the murder of one's close relatives, avoiding the damage or destruction of one's property, a quid pro quo like a favorable court decision or entrance into a desirable school, and of course simply more cash in one's pocket than the police or more exactly their American paymasters are handing out.

See previous post about police salaries, you pay a man $200 a month, you don't have a real strong guarantee the opposition can't make him a better offer.

If Costard's guess about ghost salaries is on the mark, then that is another motivator against doing one's police job well: why risk your life, when the police station captain's main reason for staying on the job is not crime fighting but embezzlement for personal enrichment? Or just accepting bribes from the private sector, to enforce the law or not depending on what the private sector pays?

Especially if that police captain's superior also is doing the same thing, just on a bigger scale? From the cop's point of view, law enforcement is just a big cash gathering/intimidation operation no more or less moral than the "insurgents."

Compared to these motivators, an impolite and insulting speech by an overfed and not particularly worldly American through a translator is really not a big deal. However, to be fair there is probably a slight chance that the speech maybe helped incline a couple of those cops in the formation a bit more towards ratting out the Americans to the opposition.

The solution of course might well be uncorruptible police throughout the law enforcement structure, able to make sure the laws were followed and that corruption was held down to a minimum. Certainly American MPs would be able to do much of that, they are well-supplied, well-motivated, and skilled at the job. However, detection and prosecution of corruption is not so easy if you are an outsider, ignorant of the language, and the society traditionally lies to outsiders rather than works with them.

If one were to imagine sending a Chinese anti-corruption detective to Bolivia with the goal of eliminating cocaine-connected graft and embezzlement, and the Chinese knows no Spanish and in most cases assumes his Chinese culture is so superior to the Bolivian he has little need to learn from it, this is roughly comparable to the task set that US MP.

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I wonder how many police officers in the US would be as diligent and effective in their jobs (I don't mean that to imply that I think American police personnel are ineffective or corrupt or whatever) as they if their immediate family members or other relatives were in as much danger of getting murdered as any given Iraqi or Afghan policeman's family members and relatives are. (Not that mafia movies in any way reflect current reality, but I suppose a cop who has the misfortune to 'cross' the mafia would be in a not-dissimilar position.)

I wonder to what extent the Iraqi translator edited the MP's diatribe. If I were in his shoes, I'd probably think to myself, "Sheesh, I can't possibly tell these guys 'you're all a bunch of @#$%%$# women'...."

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I wonder to what extent the Iraqi translator edited the MP's diatribe. If I were in his shoes, I'd probably think to myself, "Sheesh, I can't possibly tell these guys 'you're all a bunch of @#$%%$# women'...."

..and I can sympathise with the guy laughing, too. For some strange reason I go into a giggling fit when someone around me is throwing a tantrum. It isn't exactly a survival trait, or at least I haven't come across anyone who appreciates the humour.

As far as the comparison to a US police officer goes - I guess the average US cop is far better educated (s/he can read and write and do maths) and is far less likely to be politically affiliated with a group running around with bombs and guns (apart from the big ones, of course, which tend to do their business in other countries... I digress). Clan warfare is the norm where nationalism hasn't taken hold - what odds the recent upset in Northern Ireland is based along clan lines? - and a national police force trying to enforce a national law cuts no ice with groups that cannot identify with the greater populace. It really is about nation building, it really is a difficult job. May it never need to happen in my country.

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it what it is.. I'm not that down on the US guy... not stirling work but its a heartfelt expression and at least its some sort of communication

I don't pretend to know how much he is on the money but not far off is not out of the question...

the thing is it just highlights how difficult it task it was from the start with the skill set you have.

the us (military) are not renowned for tact or social insight into other cultures never mind trying to fixing them....

on a aside there is concern in kurdish areas that a us withdrawal will trigger civil war between the central gov and kurdistan... from kurds themselves that rumor.

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As far as the comparison to a US police officer goes - I guess the average US cop is far better educated (s/he can read and write and do maths)

Hate to say it but literacy amongst the adult male population in Iraq is 84.1% - It would be hard to find a candidate for the job who isn't literate.

Anyway a police officer can't do his or her job without maths and literacy so all applicants would have to take some sort of test

Iraq is (/was) a pretty well developed country

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Hate to say it but literacy amongst the adult male population in Iraq is 84.1% - It would be hard to find a candidate for the job who isn't literate.

Anyway a police officer can't do his or her job without maths and literacy so all applicants would have to take some sort of test

Iraq is (/was) a pretty well developed country

A bad guess then - thanks for the correction hcrof.

"...the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact."

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"...the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact."

Sorry about that - I'm overworked and have started cutting people down a lot recently :(

I think you are right about clan affiliations though - I think a lot of people in the west (including me) just don't don't understand how tribal/clan bonds can be stronger to that of the state.

I suppose if people get the impression that the state isn't acting in their intrests they will start to fall back on the traditional networks thet were suppressed under Saddams rule. The fact that some of the clans/tribes clash with the State just makes thing more difficult.

I think the average Iraqi policeman didn't grow up wanting to be a cop, just took the job for the money and gets little respect for it anyway. No suprise that they are not motivated. Add the corruption to that mix and the urge to launch a personal campaign against crime just disappears.

Plus people want to kill you and your family which must be a downer...

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I suppose if people get the impression that the state isn't acting in their intrests they will start to fall back on the traditional networks thet were suppressed under Saddams rule.

I think you are right on the money with that.

Michael

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I suppose if people get the impression that the state isn't acting in their intrests they will start to fall back on the traditional networks thet were suppressed under Saddams rule.

As Michael Emrys says, spot on. And fundamentalist religious movements are about as devolved as a political system gets (ok, maybe they're one step above family groups).

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it what it is.. I'm not that down on the US guy... not stirling work but its a heartfelt expression and at least its some sort of communication

I don't pretend to know how much he is on the money but not far off is not out of the question...

the thing is it just highlights how difficult it task it was from the start with the skill set you have.

the us (military) are not renowned for tact or social insight into other cultures never mind trying to fixing them....

on a aside there is concern in kurdish areas that a us withdrawal will trigger civil war between the central gov and kurdistan... from kurds themselves that rumor.

Does it mean the breakdown of current Iraqi government after US withdrawal is not a matter of "IF", but "WHEN"?

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I think you are right about clan affiliations though - I think a lot of people in the west (including me) just don't don't understand how tribal/clan bonds can be stronger to that of the state.

I think it's actually fairly easy for us from developed countries to understand, you just have to look at the goal posts.

There are still plenty of things in the life of a person even in the developed world, that are gotten not by rule of law enforced by the state or some other authority, but rather by personal connections. Narcotics is the obvious example, but there are others: getting into the right school, hooking up with the right job, maybe scoring tickets to a choice sporting event, ditto the right seats at a rock concert, obtaining a good contract for one's company, learning the phone number of a home repair contractor who is more or less honest. All these things are much easier to get, if you know some one. Some people can get traffic tickets fixed, others can't. Some people can get their phone calls taken by elected officials, others can't. Some people get bank loans, others can't. All this stuff is easier if you know some one, and the closer you are to that some one, the more accessible these desirable things become. It's not much when compared against the whole of Western consumer society, but the point is, personal connections are still there in developed nation life, all you have to do is look.

The difference between a country like the US and a country like Iraq is degree. Where in the US personal connections get you something sometimes, in Iraq almost everything you get via personal connections. Protection from crime. Healthy food and clean water. Work. Education. Electricity. A home in a developed section of your city. There are still a few things in Iraq you can get without personal connections, for instance basic food - that is on sale and in most cases families have enough income so that they won't starve.

So if us living over here want to look at a place like Iraq and figure out what life is like, in alot of ways all we have to do is imagine much of the stuff we take for granted - for instance cops who treat you fairly after you've been in a traffic accident - depend not on the government, but what friends you have. And there are places like that in the states, Like, you're black and live in the inner city in some place where the main economic activity is drugs, and some of the cops are on the take, etc. etc.

Unsurprisingly, in a place like that, public enthusiasm for the government and the state and obeying the law is pretty low.

Which brings me back to my analogy of the Chinese narcotics cop not knowing any Spanish, and told his job is get to get the Bolivian police to crack down on the coke trade. Actually, a Chinese cop would have at least the advantage of coming from a society where corruption is rampant, he would know what to expect even if the language barrier would keep him from doing anything about it. The US cop in Iraq has a harder job, he assumes that the society will as a whole respect the law, and his problem is nailing the minority of the society that doesn't respect the rules.

But in a place like Iraq, for practical purposes, there is no law, there is only who you know. Getting police in those circumstances to do the job to a US standard is not so easy, past the salary they have next to no incentive to be good cops. It's much more in their interest to use their weapons and organization to attack their enemies, and protect their friends and relatives.

A foreigner lining these Iraqis up in a formation and yelling at them through a translator isn't going to cut much ice, these Iraqis have lots more serious problems to worry about, and what's worse, as far as the Iraqi cops are concerned the foreigner could help with the things the Iraqi cops think are important, but he doesn't. All he does is pay a marginal salary and demand behavior directly threatening to the Iraqi cops' families and friends.

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Yep - civil society didn't evolve in the west overnight, nor is it just 1 thing - it consists of a vast range of social, legal and even moral underpinnings, and it's hard to see how you could impose it without changing teh target society to include all those things - ie to gut a society and remake it entirely.

Can't se that happening in Iraq in the near future - nor in any of the othermore-or-less autocratic theocracies, monarchies and seriously limited "democracies" in the Mid east.

they have 1300 years of Islamic tradition - if something new can't build on that then i think it has no chance.

Likely they'll just have to evolve themselves - hopefully "we" can give them a good example to evolve into - but it is a long process - Robber Barons are only jsut over 100 years ago, unbridled capitalism has wrecked the global economy only in the last year.....are we so wonderful?

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