Infantry: December 30, 2004

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In Iraq, as in every war, there are certain key phrases a combat soldier has to learn in order to survive. For Iraq, the key phrases are; Qif! (it means Stop in Arabic. Awgaaf! will also do), Qif te rah Armeek! (Stop or I will shoot, Awgaaf armeek! will also work), Irrfaa e dek! (Hands Up) and, if all else fails, Ibka makonic!? (Stay Back). These phrases will not work on Kurds, who often dont speak Arabic. Kurdish is an Indo-European language. The Kurds (with the exception of a few al Qaeda fans) like Americans a lot. A disproportionate number of Iraqi police and soldiers are Kurds, partly because the Kurds are better fighters, partly because they are more trustworthy. Arabs (or Kurds) who have lost family members to Saddams killers also make good fighters, although they can get carried away at times. 

The U.S. Marines have revived a tactic they used in Vietnam, where they assign an Iraqi combat unit to a marine outfit, with the idea that the marine and Iraqi troops will get to know each other, and thus be able to work together better when the shooting starts. The marines have also found that they get to know which Iraqi troops really havent the training, or stomach, for combat. This is good to know, as you can leave these fellows behind, to guard things, when you go off to fight. Its safer for everyone that way. Unlike in Vietnam, the army is also adopting the marine combined forces technique in Iraq, and having soldiers from both armies get to know one another (by training together) before combat. The U.S. Army Special Forces always believed in this sort of thing, but in Vietnam, most of the army brass thought the marines were wasting their time. They werent. 

 


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