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U.S.-trained Iraqi troops turn on American forces

It’s over, folks. How can anyone doubt this has spiraled out of control when the Iraqis that the U.S. military is trying to train to take over are turning around and injuring and killing U.S. forces on a regular basis? This NYT article is depressing.

But now on his third deployment in Iraq, [Staff Sgt. David Safstrom] is no longer a believer in the mission. The pivotal moment came, he says, this past February when soldiers killed a man setting a roadside bomb. When they searched the bomber’s body, they found identification showing him to be a sergeant in the Iraqi Army.

“I thought, ‘What are we doing here? Why are we still here?’ ” said Sergeant Safstrom, a member of Delta Company of the First Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry, 82nd Airborne Division. “We’re helping guys that are trying to kill us. We help them in the day. They turn around at night and try to kill us.”

Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as bringing them home, because, as Colin Powell said — “you break it, you own it.” The problem is, unless Congress does something with the power of the purse, the president is simply going to let the clock wind down, and the next president or two (and the folks on the Hill) will get to clean up this giant f*cking mess.

One thing that he didn’t count on — if Bush thinks he’s going to stop troops from speaking out, he’s sadly mistaken. Active duty personnel are tired of being pawns in Dear Leader’s Great Military Adventure. More allies turned enemies after the jump.

On April 29, a Delta Company patrol was responding to a tip at Al Sadr mosque, a short distance from its base. The soldiers saw men in the distance erecting burning barricades, and the streets emptied out quickly. Then a militia, believed to be the Mahdi Army, which is affiliated with the radical Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr, began firing at them from rooftops and windows.

Sgt. Kevin O’Flarity, a squad leader, jumped into his Humvee to join his fellow soldiers, racing through abandoned Iraqi Army and police checkpoints to the battle site.

He and his squad maneuvered their Humvees through alleyways and side streets, firing back at an estimated 60 insurgents during a gun battle that raged for two and a half hours. A rocket-propelled grenade glanced off Sergeant O’Flarity’s Humvee, failing to penetrate.

When the battle was over, Delta Company learned that among the enemy dead were at least two Iraqi Army soldiers that American forces had helped train and arm.

“The 29th was a watershed moment in a negative sense, because the Iraqi Army would not fight with us,” Captain [Douglas] Rogers said, adding, “Some actually picked up weapons and fought against us.”

…”Before that fight, there were a few true believers.” Captain Rogers said. “After the 29th, I don’t think you’ll find a true believer in this unit. They’re paratroopers. There’s no question they’ll fulfill their mission. But they’re fighting now for pride in their unit, professionalism, loyalty to their fellow soldier and chain of command.”

See The Dark Wraith’s two diaries, Memorial Day 2007 and Graphics from the Opposition .

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding

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