Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Perspective: The Long, Hard Journey Of Training Iraqis To Police Themselves

Most days of the week, a convoy of Humvees leaves the relative safety of Camp Victory, the sprawling American base at Baghdad International Airport, and makes a perilous half-hour-or-so journey to the police station.

Members of the 410th MPs out of Fort Hood, Tex., take up guard positions at the gate and on the roof, and then try to assemble as many Iraqi police as they can for a training session.

Once they've rounded up enough of them, the first and most important thing is to make the policemen remove the clips from their AK47s and nine millimeter pistols, clear the breach and dry fire to ensure there are no rounds in the guns.

"The last thing we need," a sergeant on his third tour in Iraq says, "is an AD (accidental discharge)." He does not add, but implies, the idea of any one of his students with a loaded gun anywhere near him is almost as scary as driving to the police station.

It would be easier if the same police showed up every day, but continuity is more than the U.S. soldiers can hope for, so many times they have to go back to basics.

Read the rest at CBS News