That's just one of the somber conclusions reached by the DOD in its most recent assessment of Iraqi troop development. The report, given reluctantly and most of which is still classified, was forced by increased pressure by a handful of Democrats who seem to have discovered that they are actually a political party with a constituency and a responsibility to the country.
A July 22nd Washington Post article titled, "Pentagon Report Says Iraqi Forces Are Not Yet Able to Defend Country" by Josh White describes the report, in part, as follows:
"The broad outline of Iraqi readiness was provided in an unclassified statement to Congress by Gen. Peter Pace, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He said that only a "small number of Iraqi security forces are taking on the insurgents and terrorists by themselves," and he estimated that one-third of the Iraqi army's battalions are capable of counterinsurgency operations with coalition support and two-thirds are "partially capable"... the "threshold condition" for success is developing Iraqi security forces to a level where they can take over primary responsibility for their security. Pentagon officials said getting troops to that level could take some time... "
Gone are the wildly optimistic numbers of Iraqi troop strength bandied about with such reckless abandon by civilian and military leaders alike. At any rate, the numbers mean little if those that are counted can't, or won't, fight.
It gets worse. Sec. Rumsfeld, once maintaining that he'd be surprised if the conflict went on for 6 months, now seems surprised when people are shocked when he says that it may take 12 years (a little off on the "metrics").
The many rationales for going and staying in Iraq have basically boiled down to, "We'll stay until the Iraqis are ready to fight for themselves." This is generally followed by, "Training is going to take a while..." which, in turn, is punctuated by, "Our troops are fighting for a noble cause- to bring freedom to the Iraqi's".
That means that our troops must continue to fight and die until the Iraqi's are trained well enough to fight for their own precious freedom which would translate into the "threshold condition" for withdrawal as described above.
The language, "We have the best trained troops in the world..." is specifically intended to shut down any line of inquiry by implying that a questioning of the policy is a questioning of our troops' abilities and their commitment to freedom.
It's enough to make most turn their heads from the carnage and hope for the best. But for those willing to take a look at some basic facts, the "talking points" should mean nothing. The following clearly shows that something is awfully and terribly wrong with the current policy in Iraq:
Currently, 1833 American soldiers (all age groups) are reported as being killed in Iraq.
19 of them were only 18 years old; and
110 of them were 19 years old.
129 teenagers. Not to diminish any other deaths in this "Bush Family Iraqi Adventure " but one should really wrap their minds around that number. 129 teenagers- dead.
129 teenage names unknown to all but family and friends.
The ages of our dead young soldiers speak volumes as to the validity of the official rationales/arguments given and show just how disingenuous our leadership can be.
Perhaps there is some good explanation why a presumed irresponsible American boy or girl can be trained to be a part of "the best fighting force in the world" when adult Iraqi men can't even approach "readiness" ability in over 2 years. The "presumed irresponsible" wording is not an editorial comment. It is a reflection of the fact that our society has deemed 18 and 19 year olds as irresponsible by denying them the right to drink alcohol until they reach the age of 21.