Iraq: A pessimistic assessment

One of our hometown heroes serving in Iraq has written to provide his assessment of the situation there. He writes by way of preface:

It’s not pretty but it is reality. My job as a Human Intelligence collector provides me with uncommon situational awareness regarding, not Iraq as a whole, but much of southern Iraq. I meet with chiefs of police, I have been to the Provincial Security meetings, I have questioned terrorists of all stripes, I run sources, and collect the information to put bad guys in jail. I also read a lot of classified reporting from all over the country. What I say I don’t say lightly and I say with regret. But as someone who has been separated from my wife, friends, and family for 20 months already (with four months to go thanks to the surge) and as service members continue to lose life and limb I feel that I can no longer hold my tongue.

Here is his assessment:

We want to succeed in Iraq. Because we want to succeed we continually look for ways and opportunities to contribute. This desire to succeed also spawns an eternal optimism that maybe somehow someway things will get better. Wanting to succeed though is no excuse to ignore reality, and the reality in Iraq is ugly.
The Iraqi government and security forces are so thoroughly infiltrated by the Shia militias that you could say that the militias are the government and you would not be far off. Iraqi police in Southern Iraq are not in the fight against the militias at all. Top CF targets walk the streets freely in every city. In most cases police stations are manned by JAM members in police uniforms who actively aid the terrorists. On the rare occasion that a Shia terrorist is actually arrested by an ISF unit, he must be turned over to CF immediately or he will be released by the police or courts.
In addition, politicians from the city council to the CoR, if not Maliki himself, make calls and appearances on behalf of the terrorist, often threatening the job (if not the life) of the offending ISF leader with the audacity to actually do his job. Imagine our Congress, and governorships, and police departments staffed with members of the Crips and Bloods. Imagine being a citizen, a victim of or witness to a crime committed by one of these gangs. What would you do? Where would you turn? Ignoring for the moment the systemic corruption, this is the

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