Thursday, December 01, 2005

Building Iraqi Security, Washington Style

In "Hope over History," Richard Cohen writes in the Washington Post about the disaster that began in 1989 and 1990 when the city of Washington D.C. was required by Congress to quickly hire 1,800 police officers:

The city did what it was told — and crime on the police force went way up.

Within four years, the police academy classes of 1989 and 1990 comprised about one-third of the police force. They also accounted for a disproportionate share of rotten, corrupt and downright criminal cops. Astoundingly, Washington had 185 police officers of such dubious character or outright criminality that prosecutors would not put them on the stand as witnesses. In Washington, for a time, the term "crooked cop" amounted to a redundancy.

Washington's lamentable experience may soon be duplicated in Iraq. The results might be better, but nothing about human nature suggests any cause for optimism. Just as Washington hurried to sign up new cops — cutting all sorts of corners (psychological testing, extensive background checks, etc.) — so is the United States creating an Iraqi security force, and doing so on the double. These are the troops that constitute the entire exit strategy for America in Iraq.

Maybe now's the time to just sign up for the WaPo online...


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