Friday, July 14, 2006

Send in the Advisers

Andrew F. Krepinevich wants to send in more military advisors, especially officers, to bolster and coach the Iraqi army. He aptly notes that the military promotion system tends to place a premium on command while devaluing advisory service. This is not a problem easily solved. Even if the generals declare that service as an advisor equals commanding a company or a battalion, such edicts are soon forgotten by future promotion boards and savvy officers know it.

Even if the Army and marines can find the officers with the requisite temperament, language skills and competence, which is doubtful, the reality is that the civil war that the U.S.-led invasion has unleashed is not going to be ended by sending in the “right” number of advisors, as Mr. Krepinevich asserts.

Perhaps if the U.S. had better understood the realities of Iraq, it would have disbanded the Iraqi army and would have been prepared to send in phalanxes of advisors. That door closed three years ago.

Send in the Advisers - New York Times

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