Paramilitary: November 19, 2004


For the first time in American army history, an American army training division is being sent overseas. In this case, its the 98th Training Division, a reserve outfit, which is going to Iraq for a year to help in the training of the new Iraqi army. The U.S. Army has seven of these training divisions. In peacetime, they each have 3-4,000 troops (mostly reservists) assigned, and they provide teams of trainers to carry out training exercises for active duty and reserve unit. In the event of a major war, the manpower of the training divisions would be more than tripled, and they would be used to provide basic and advanced training for large numbers of new troops. The 98th division has officers and NCOs who are experienced at training new recruits. They will have to use interpreters in Iraq, and adapt to cultural differences. But the 98th division personnel know how to take care of all the details of training, and will be able to concentrate on the language and cultural problems. One of the key cultural problems is the reluctance to accept the authority of appointed leaders (officers and NCOs.) Iraq is still a very tribal society, and troops are quick to desert if faced with danger, unless they are being led by officers from the same tribe. Even Saddam had to tolerate large scale desertions during times of danger. Saddam thus recruited his Republican Guard largely from tribes that were personally loyal to him. This problem can be overcome, it has been in other Arab countries, but it takes time and a lot of training for the troops in question.


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