Many Iraqis have become infatuated
with the American military. Not just the efficiency with which they fight, but
also how they go out of their way to avoid civilian casualties, and try to help
Iraqis recover from decades of tyranny and terrorism. This doesn't get a lot of
publicity, but it is changing Iraq on a fundamental level.
Iraqi Army wants to be just like their American counterparts. Iraqi military
uniforms look very much like the U.S. ones. The weapons and vehicles are the
same. And the Iraqis are emulating how U.S. troops move, as well as how they
look. In combined operations, it's often difficult to tell, at a glance, who
are the Americans, and who are the Iraqis. More than once, during a firefight,
an American soldier dives for cover next to what he thinks is another G.I. But
when he talks to the other "American", he comes face-to-face with an
Iraqi face talking back to him in Arabic. Fortunately, both armies use the same
hand signals (a form of sign language used during combat, when voice commands
cannot be heard, or when you want to maintain silence.) So the two will
communicate with hand signs and get on with the battle.
noticed that the U.S. concept of "Civil Affairs" (soldiers trained to
work with civilians in a war zone) worked. So now Iraq has its own civil
affairs troops, who usually operate with their American counterparts. This has
worked very well, especially in Sunni and Shia radical neighborhoods where
anti-Americanism is still alive and well. Iraq is still divided by religious
and political differences, and the Iraqi civil affairs specialists see
themselves as having lots to do for a long time.
importantly, many Iraqis are trying to emulate U.S. military bureaucracy. While
these administrators get little respect from the combat troops, they are seen
by Iraqis as paragons of modernity and efficiency. That they are, which is one
reason the U.S. combat troops are so effective. The right supplies tend to get
to the right place at the right time. In Iraq, that rarely happens, not in the
civilian world, or the military. Iraqi commanders have noticed how the American
military support organizations operate, and want to set up Iraqi equivalents.
That's a difficult chore, mainly because of the corruption that is endemic to
the region. But at least there's a trend, an effort to not just look like
Western troops, but to administer the military organizations in the same way.