Sunday, March 23, 2008

Comparison between Iraqi Army and US Army

I have spent a total of 19 months in Iraq, not as a soldier, but as a US government employee managing millions of dollars in reconstruction projects. This was a very rewarding experience and allowed me to make friends on the opposite side of the Earth. However, I just want to describe a major difference between the Iraqi Military and the US Military.

Most Iraqi Military bases are co-located with US Military camps. There are many reasons for this, the main ones being security, training, and joint operations. I have noticed though a major difference in the attitudes of the two militaries towards the facilities and thier environment.

The US military goes to great lengths to ensure the well being of themselves and thier fellow soldiers. They keep thier places of living and working fairly clean and tidy. They have respect for thier belongings and the belongings of others. Even though most of the equipment they use is government property, they understand the rewards for taking care of the equipment and the consequences of neglecting regular maintenance.

The Iraqi military on the other hand, has not learned this. A large portion of the problem is the mentality that they grew up with with Saddam Hussein in power and the name of the game was corruption. A weakness of the US is that we went in and starting giving free handouts, like training facilities, repairs to existing ones, and new equipment. Unfortunately, this did not change thier way of thinking. Therefore, when something would break, they would take little to no initiative to make proper repairs. Or, they would take no pride in the new furnishings, and assumed that if it broke, or needed maintenance or repairs, the US would do it.

I am not attempting to stereotype the Iraqi Military, because there are a lot of very good hard-working Iraqi Soldiers that risk a lot to be in the military. However, in general this is what I have observed. I think this underscores a very important lesson for us citizens back home. Giving free handouts and welfare without conditions does not solve any problems, but rather intensifies the problem. We need to study and develop better ways to help the less fortunate and help them help themselves. There will always be those that cannot help themselves, due to illness, mental incapacity, old age and so forth, but common sense has to prevail and we need to help the less fortunate by asking them to earn thier assistance acoording to thier abilities. Just as in Iraq, there are those here in the United States that believe they will be provided the substance they need and they do not have to take responsibility for themselves or for others.

Service to others is one of the most rewarding tasks one can do in this life. However, service must be accompanied by wisdom in knowing how to best serve others.


Littleflame said...

Great job Dennis! Welcome to the blogging world.

4Garrisons said...

Very interesting! It's neat to hear it from someone who has actually experienced it! I nominate you for President!