Tuesday, February 28, 2006

W. POST. Doing the wrong thing with the army

After two conflicts and consequent occupation, the Pentagon should be realizing that, at this point, a country the size of Texas can't be controlled by some "weekend soldiers" like the reservists, but by either a professional force or a well-trained local police force. Two ingredients missing both in Afghanistan or Iraq to pacify the zone.

Some may argue, and rightly so, that if we're complaining now about the budget, keeping an army made of 100% pros is just not affordable. It would eat up the GOP and we would end like the Soviets, at the end of the USSR, with a virtual bankruptcy. No, I'm not talking about keeping a huge war machinery, but instead an army big enough to face its missions successfully, and still worth enough to be financed.

It's not an impossible goal: the Israelis have quite an experience about it, mainly because it's their last line of defense against terrorism. It's an army of conscripts that spend quite some time in training and have capable commanders. For the U.S Army, I guess the second thing is achieved, but to have a two-bit farmer set loose in Iraq would only end like Abu Ghraib did. Soldiers need to be taught discipline not only towards their superiors, but to the people they're occupying.

Somehow it worked out in Japan and Germany after WW II. Why is it not going so well in the Middle East?

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