Sunday, March 2, 2008

More Is Not Necessarily Better

An old armored plate removed from a car.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is in town for the next 36 hours and staying at Iraqi President’s Jalal Talabani’s compound. We dropped off a media team this morning at the Presidential compound so that it could participate in the loosely scheduled press conference later today.

While driving to the site of the press conference I noticed that the streets were heavily lined with Iraqi security, mostly Army, with no sign of American military. I took this as a vision of things to come when the U.S. military ultimately turns over all security operations to the Iraqis. From a security standpoint, it wasn’t a pretty picture.

The approach to the compound was saturated with Iraqi Army troops scattered about as if they were just randomly placed along the road. They served no purpose other than to stand in the middle of the road and haphazardly wave cars on. It was clear from their appearance and how they handled their weapons that they were barely trained and of little or no use. The Iraqi concept of security appears to be “quantity over quality”, i.e., the more armed people I can litter the streets with the greater security I must have. This is a dangerous and often fatal concept, and I would have expected better of the Iraqi Army guarding their Presidential compound.

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