About that Iraqi Readiness
I don’t have Petraeus’ charts, but Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark) does. He asked: why aren’t there more police units listed to the highest degree of readiness — Level 1 — indicating they can operate independent of U.S. forces?
The answer? Unit poaching. “When a unit gets to Level 1,” Petraeus said, “meaning it meets certain goals, personnel fill, leader, vehicular, equipment [capability], the Iraqis tend to take leaders from these organization and use them to build other organizations, so they fall below. It does not mean that unit may not be in the lead.” Iraq has a “shortage of commissioned and non-commissioned officers.”
Petraeus was kind of sanguine about that — “Peeling units off [from officers] may make sense” — but it seems like a rather serious problem. It would be hard to imagine that separating a unit from a qualified commander wouldn’t affect unit cohesion, which would in turn affect performance. And yet Petraeus treated that as something of an aside, and Pryor didn’t pursue it further.