Support: April 18, 2003


The U.S. Army is sending fewer combat troops and more military police into Iraq. The military police companies, many of them reserve units containing older men and women, and a lot of actual civilian cops, are seen as more effective in maintaining law and order than more infantry and tank crews. Each MP company has 160 troops and 50 vehicles. The key assets are the 32 Humvees equipped with a 7.62mm machine-gun and two to four MPs armed with communications and GPS equipment, as well as pistols and M-16s. The MP companies are trained and equipped to cover large areas. The civilian police training makes it easier for the MP units to set up policing services in rural and urban areas of Iraq. Actually, the MPs are best suited for patrolling the large rural areas. Here there are thousands of villages separated by miles of roads (some of them very primitive roads.) The MPs have to be able to get around and stay in touch with a lot of civilians. Special Forces teams have already been into many of these areas and have been briefing the MPs about who the good, the bad and the ugly (minded) are. In the south you have a lot of local Islamic leaders who have some strange ideas about "foreign devils."


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