News reports fingering Iraqi soldiers in the 2004 shooting deaths of two California National Guardsmen have again raised the perennial issues: How reliable are Iraqi forces? And when can U.S. and British militaries fully turn over security in Iraq to native troops?The answers, it seems, are "not very" and "not soon" -- with qualifiers."Restoring Iraq to military self-sufficiency will require at least a decade," says John Pike, a military expert at the think tank Globalsecurity.org. "For that reason alone, Iraq will remain an American protectorate well into the next decade ... [and] I would not expect to see a significant drawdown [of U.S. troops] prior to 2007."Read my full report at Military.com. Check out an Iraqi forces photo gallery at Flickr. And see my graphic novel WAR FIX for real-life scenes from Iraq's dangerous streets.-- David Axe
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