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

  1. Russ Hunter

    It’s not insanity if Tony Abbott is doing this primarily for political gain. It makes Australia less safe and the subject of terrorist plots/attacks. Then he gets to bang the national security drum and present himself as the tough guy to protect us. All the while taking swipes at Muslims, inflaming these very tensions. Australia cops anti-democratic/libertarian laws out of it all.

    Abbott goes up in the polls and wins the next election.

    Sound familiar?

    Remember we went headlong into Iraq mark 2 without parliamentary debate or any coherent strategy being laid out, and we now know that Abbott considered a unilateral Australian attack.

  2. Bill Hilliger

    From the article you wrote Bernard it appears there has been a great success in achieving failure.

    The organisations that make money from training must be hoping this success of failure continues forever.

  3. Glen

    …But Einstein does appear to have said, many times and in many versions, that “God does not play dice”. In that, of course, he was seriously mistaken. In modern high energy physics, doing the same thing over and over and expecting to get exactly the same result each time would be the stuff of a complete nutter.

  4. ken svay

    What a crock this has always been. This morning we were warned that rogue Iraqis could infiltrate the army and kill our trainers, really? How do they identify recruits? Is there a functioning computer system in the country? Did not all paper records get looted or destroyed? How could the army know who they were recruiting?
    This has always been such a waste of time and money. How many Iraqi speakers amongst the trainers? Any at all?
    We would be better off sending coaches from the Institute of Sport to teach them how to run faster.

  5. Marion Wilson

    Are we selling wheat to IS yet? Andrew Robb is missing opportunities, do they want live cattle. Barnaby Joyce should go have a chat with people who really know how wars can be beneficial for farmers.

  6. Neutral

    “We trained hard — but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams, we would be reorganized. I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganizing, and what a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency and demoralization.”

    Petronius 66AD (for the undergrad philosophy 101 freak: just because there is no evidence in any of his works for this quote does not mean it’s irrelevant:P)

  7. John Ryan

    Just think they stupid Yanks & OZ could have avoided all this by just leaving Saddam in control,now we seem doomed to repeat the same mistake over & over again.
    If the had shot Sykes & Picot back in 1915 maybe all the madness could have been avoided

  8. Luke Hellboy

    At least American training in how to torture prisoners seemed to have paid off.

  9. a commentator from earth

    And didn’t Australia’s inevitable journey into the Vietnam war start with us sending training “advisers” to support the south vietnamese forces in the early 60s?

    I can see history repeating. Compare and contrast. Substitute muslim for communist if that helps.

  10. Lubo Gregor

    @#19 ^^^^ It makes sense why they privatised the war and got rid of the general conscription. Maybe it should be reintroduced so that the government gets a real feedback of the nation on commitments to these ventures.

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