January 18, 2005

How Many Iraqi Troops?

Whoa. Trawling through the transcript of Condoleeza Rice's confirmation hearings, I came across this little tidbit from Joe Biden, who's spent some time over in Iraq:
I've gone to the training facility for police in Jordan. With the American head trainer, I said without anybody there and I believe my friend and person who has an ideological bent considerably different than mine, my friend from South Carolina was there. I said, There's no one in the room. Please cut all the malarkey. Is this training program worth a darn? And the answer was no -- from our own trainer.

I asked the head of the Jordanian police force who was there and the Canadian Royal Mounted Policeman who was there as the triumvirate running the operation. I've been back and spoke with a General Petraeus on two occasions. He is a first-rate soldier. He has indicated he's just basically beginning. How many -- and this is my last question. How many security forces do you think are trained that can shot straight, kill and stand their ground? ...

RICE: Senator, I have to rely on what I get from the field. And by the way, I think that the trips that you've made and the trips that the others have made have given us information that we can go back with. And I appreciate your doing that. We think the number right now is somewhere over 120,000. ...

BIDEN: ... I think you'll find, if you speak to the folks on the ground, they don't think there's more than 4,000 actually trained Iraqi forces.
Now obviously 120,000 is wildly off. But 4,000? That's all?
-- Brad Plumer 1:34 PM || ||