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Mar 3, 2015

Train in vain: the absurd history of training the Iraqi Army

From Iran to Israel to Korea to Romania, the list of countries that have trained Iraqis since 2003 is lengthy. And none achieved anything.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Anonymous, mistakenly attributed to Einstein.

With the government set to re-announce what New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has already announced — that Australian soldiers will be returning to Iraq to help “train” Iraqi soldiers — we’re continuing a long and proud tradition of foreigners who have helped train Iraqi military and security forces since 2003.

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24 comments

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24 thoughts on “Train in vain: the absurd history of training the Iraqi Army

  1. klewso

    Practice makes perfect? Who knows, maybe they’ll actually do it this time?
    On the bright side it will get Toady out of the country for while – when he finds himself in a future mess of his own making – for a photo-op?

  2. Lubo Gregor

    Anybody who hasn’t trained Iraqi forces yet should immediately sign up with Lt. Earnest Goodbody of the 4th Musketeers!

  3. taciturn

    Where is our national interest this? (apart from being a distraction from the imploding economy).

  4. James O'Neill

    An interesting history which nonetheless avoids the obvious truth. We are not there to “train” the Iraqis any more than we were there to install truth, justice and American democracy. This is all about maintaining US hegemony (in league with the Israelis) over the Middle East and its all so important oil and gas resources. It always was and always will be. Hence the answer to your final questions is: almost certainly.

  5. Stuart Coyle

    Apparently training soldiers caught in a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran is a good thing for Australia. I’m not sure that I see how, but much greater minds than mine are obviously on the task, I just wonder when they are actually going to tell me how this makes our country better.

  6. Desmond Graham

    The Iraqi army -So – they are slow learners !! – – don’t be prejudiced – could be funded for accountancy purposes as part of NDIS – this would change public perception and then perpetual funding would not be questioned and everyone would have a “feel good ” feeling – rather than a “we’ve been conned again again” feeling

  7. himi

    I find it quite interesting that the Kurds seem to be having a level of success that’s very different to the official Iraqi army. Presumably this is because they actually /care/ about what they’re fighting for.

    Why aren’t we training and arming the Kurdish troops? At least then we’d have the chance to build on a native success rather than an ongoing failure.

  8. Ozymandias

    The Iraqi forces have recently taken back Tikrit from ISIS. Apparently they did this with Iranian training and support and without notifying the Americans about the offensive. I wonder where this development places our trainers, perhaps in competition with Iran. Wonder what Tone thinks about that?

  9. Richard

    We’ve trained, and we’ve even trained the trainers. But, from what I can gather, we haven’t yet trained the trainer trainers. Am I the only one missing this?

  10. CML

    Didn’t some of the Iraqi ‘trained’ soldiers turn their guns on the Australian ‘trainers’ and kill a number of our soldiers?
    Surely it is irresponsible of this government to be sending more of our troops back to Iraq where this could happen again.

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