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Pentagon Fights Back

Rumsfeld1.jpgThe info war over Iraq and Afghanistan is heating up. On one side, the mainstream media is publishing increasingly bleak headlines: Newsweek's "Losing Afghanistan," for instance. Also, Gannett's military-audience newspapers, including Army Times, are calling for SecDef Donald Rumsfeld's termination. On the other side, the military is cracking down on milbloggers, refusing embeds and firing off angry editorials -- all in an effort to tell a consistent story of success in the so-called War on Terror.The military's latest move is this: a website solely dedicated to rebutting claims made by the mainstream media. Check it out. It's a gas.On the site, the Pentagon takes critics of the Iraqi Security Forces to task for their dour appraisals of the forces:

CLAIM: For two years, American sergeants, captains and majors training the Iraqis have told their bosses that Iraqi troops have no sense of national identity, are only in it for the money, dont show up for duty and cannot sustain themselves.FACTS: Some 300,000 Iraqi Security Forces are risking their lives for their new country. Polls of Iraqis show consistent support among the populations for members of the Iraqi Security Forces. Iraqi forces are increasingly taking the lead in operations against the enemy.
Actually, both claims are (sorta) right. Iraqi forces have no sense of national identity. And they are increasingly capable -- but only as local security forces. On several occasions I have visited Iraqi Army units that have flatly refused to deploy, or have been besieged in their deployed bases by hostile local residents. And even as Iraqi forces improve in a tactical sense, they remain dependent on coalition forces for logistics and most of their air support. That won't change any time soon.And don't get me started on the Iraqi police -- technically a security outfit and a mob that the Pentagon always includes in its censuses of Iraqi forces. These guys are actively evil, grossly incompetent and, in most towns, very nearly insurgents themselves. As for the Pentagon's claim that security forces have "consistent support among the populations," I call B.S. The average Iraqi is actually scared of his local police.--David Axe
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