As I mentioned in an earlier post, the Iraqi Army is assuming a growing piece of the pie here in our area. It is a welcome development, as it is the first step towards all of our forces going home. At this point, however, it is a mixed blessing. There is a wide variance in the quality of Iraqi Army units. Some are showing espirit d'corps and proficiency that would give some American units a run for their money. Others are lazy, corrupt and unprofessional. This is part of the growth process involved in training any new military force where there has been a power vacuum or power struggle in the past. Any soldier who has trained forces from a developing nation will back me up on this, particularly if they are US Army Special Forces, who specialize in this sort of thing. The next phase is the development of uniform standards of quality and professionalism across these units and eliminating the various warlord fiefdoms that always spring up. Right now we are getting some complaints about one of the units here involving, theft of valuables at checkpoints, apathy to local threats, heavy-handedness, shooting at anything that moves at night, etc. At the same time, another unit here is loved by the locals and taking it to the arhabi(terrorists) as if these Soldiers are invincible. They are known as the Wolf Brigade, and they are the self-styled rockstars of the Iraqi Army. We sure are glad to have them here. One common feature to most new Iraqi Army units and Iraqi Police is a lack of what we in the business call "fire discipline." Fire discipline is the art of using control in how you expend your ammunition, being careful not to waste it by only firing well aimed shots, and then shooting only when you have a reasonbly good chance of hitting your target. Several US Soldiers that have trained Iraqis have told me of the Iraqi Soldier's motto: When there is lead in the air, there is hope in your heart. Eventually, these guys learn the deal, sometimes when they are in their first gunfight and blow off all their ammo with out hitting anything. With the way they like to use guns as celebration fire, they should at least save a few rounds for after they win the battle to celebrate. Like the Wolf Brigade, the other units will grow and develop. Training any combat unit is a continuous process. I look forward to hearing the motto, "when there is no lead in the air, there is hope for the future."