Wednesday, June 16, 2004


Dahr Jamail travels extensively, speaking with members of the Iraqi Security Forces;

officials with both the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps and the Iraqi Police complain they are understaffed, under-equipped and undermined

You may say, what is new with that? What police department anywhere in the world hasn't complained of staff and funding constraints, or equipment and beaurocratic restrictions? Read on to find out how these problems are exacerbated by several different security forces operating, with perhaps several different agenda's, in occupied territory;

"We’ve lost more than 200 policemen in Baghdad in the last two months, and ten high ranking officers who have been assassinated," Hamid said during an interview in the Coalition conference center.

Hamid said he is frustrated by what he sees as Coalition forces usurping his authority. "We are arresting criminals, and the [US] military are coming and forcing us to release some of them, and this has caused many problems for us"

Apparently, after the Abu Ghraib scandal, many prisoners were released, possibly as a public relations exercise;

Hamid noted that in a rush to free prisoners from Abu Ghraib and other facilities, the US is setting loose many people the police believe constitute an actual danger to Iraqi society.

On the one hand US security forces are in serious contravention of basic human rights laid out in the geneva convention, with arrests and interrogations uncannily reminiscent of many a collapsed regime, and on the other hand they are "forcing" release of prisoners while Iraq is rife with abductions. Memories of looting condoned by occupying forces earlier during the liberation (no i won't bother using quotation marks, i'm sure you can sense the irony without them) have not done a great deal either in aiding the image that a US presence might desire.

While these things seem a mess, they are explained a little by the blurred effect on job description that the word "security" has. Soldiers are trained to fight, not to enforce law. Local police have been recruited to fight, complicating their already muddied role. Mix all this with severely damaged infrastructure, frustration and a whole lot of tired, tired people; one hardly needs to take a poll to make predictions.


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