Hit & Run

Any SLA Marshall Fans Out There?

|

"It hasn't gone well. We've had almost one year of no progress," Army Maj. Gen. Paul D. Eaton tells the AP. Eaton, who is leaving Iraq next week, has spent the past year putting together and training Iraq's 200,000 army, police and civil defense troops. He says, "We've had the wrong training focus—on individual cops rather than their leaders."

Eaton, a plainspoken officer who didn't shirk responsibility for his role in the problems, said soldiers of Iraq's 2nd Brigade simply ignored U.S. orders to fight their countrymen.

"They basically quit. They told us, 'We're an army for external defense and you want us to go to Fallujah?' That was a personal mistake on my part," Eaton said.

When the uprising broke out in Fallujah, Eaton said he saw a chance to begin transferring the security mission to Iraqi forces. He agreed to allow the Iraqi army's just-created 2nd Brigade to take on guerrillas that had seized control of the restive western city.

The lesson learned was that the soldiers needed an Iraqi command hierarchy. Eaton said the soldiers may have battled Fallujah's Sunni Muslim rebels if Iraqi leaders were spurring them on.