Helping to rebuild a dismantled Iraqi army is a daunting task. A former Marine advisor outlines the challenges he faced.
The disbanding of the Iraqi army in spring 2003 will serve as fodder for historians, Beltway think-tanks, newspaper columnists, and pundits for at least as long as the United States maintains a presence in Iraq. But for those assigned to build a new army, literally from the ground up, little time or need remains to debate the soundness of that decision. This task was without precedent for even the most senior uniformed advisors.
Second only to creating a pluralistic system of governance, no other single issue presents as great a challenge to the future of Iraq as creating capable security forces. To date, the Marine Corps has provided hundreds of advisors from the grade of sergeant through colonel toward this mission-a mission earning a now well-worn designation: exit strategy.