Disbanding the old Iraqi Army

I’ve argued before that the decision to disband Saddam Hussein’s army was not the mistake that so many continue to claim it was. For all of the current Iraqi Army’s shortcomings, they are a fairly solid force and are shouldering more of the burden in Iraq every week. Building good professional armies takes a lot of time and patience.

David Axe at Defense Tech is posting on the debate, so head on over and weigh in.


  1. I have a small question. Over the last three weeks the Gov of Iraq and MNF-I have announced recruiting, training and equipping programs to increase the manpower of the Iraqi Army by 37 percent over the next nine months: – 18,000 personnel to replace combat losses, desertions and BCDs. – 12,000 personnel to over-man the IA combat Battalions at 110 percent. – 18,700 personnel to establish 3 Division HQs, 5 Brigade HQs, 20 Battalions and 1 SOF Battalion. The specific stated intent is to provide for a ‘Moble Strategic Reserve’ for the Iraqi Army by the end of this FY. The announcement specifically noted the addition of a fourth Brigade to the 9th IA Mech Division. A three Division MSR. What is its function? – Quick Reaction Forces (QRFs). Who currently fills this role? – Coalition forces. (4 Division equivalents) This is the implimentation of a plan to reduce the coalition’s presense to 1 Division, Advisors and Air by the end-2007. Reduced to 25-50,000 personnel. Replaced by Iraqi Army. Now my small question: – Why am I not seeing the reporting of this? I have only seen mentions of extra troops to the IA in blogs with no connecting the dots. Most of what I have got was from translations of PM Maliki’s announcement and transcripts of MNF-I’s weekly briefs.

  2. DJ Elliot: As usual, you are on top of the Iraqi Army situation. Thanks for the clear outline. As for why we’re not seeing it, the cynic in me thinks that it’s probably because moving forward on the track we’ve been on for some time, especially with a drawdown of US forces in sight, might make some voters think that ‘staying the course’ makes the most sense. ‘Staying the course’ is bad, to many in the media, because ‘staying the course’ lends strength to the idea that maybe those calling the shots know what they’re doing. If they know what they’re doing, why should people vote them out of office? That’s a possible reason why we might not be seeing these developments, at least not seeing them in a context that explains what’s really happening and what it could mean a year from now if it works. For what it’s worth, there’s plenty of reason besides Iraq to vote many folks out of office on Tuesday. My problem is that I don’t really see any alternatives that look any better.