The Iraqi Police

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Police Academy [Chad Sandoe / Flickr]

A strong Iraqi police force is one of the stated “pillars” of the Bush Administration’s Iraq strategy. It’s essential to the country’s stability — and therefore to any plans for U.S. troop withdrawal (about which rumors are heating up again).

So how is it that three years after the fall of Baghdad the police force is exhausted and ineffective — and seems in fact to be at the very root of the country’s simmering civil war? What went wrong and when? What did we learn from Bosnia and Kosovo (and countless other post-conflict countries) about basic law and order that we could have applied here? Why didn’t we do it? And what happens now?

Michael Moss

Reporter, The New York Times

Author, “Misjudgments Marred U.S. Plans for Iraqi Police,” The New York Times

Author, “How Iraq Police Reform Became Casualty of War,” The New York Times

Richard Mayer

Former deputy director, ICITAP, Department of Justice

Worked for Lt. General Jay Garner preparing pre-war plan for development of Iraqi police

Recently retired senior police advisor, Department of State

Former chief of police, Brunswick, Maine

Gerald Burke

Former national security advisor to the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior

Retired Massachusetts State Police major

Andrew Mackay

Brigadier, British Army

Directed the civilian police training in Iraq for the Pentagon in 2004

Was involved in security sector reform in Kosovo

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