Training our Enemy

TRAINING OUR ENEMY….I’ve always heard that one of the big problems with America’s skyrocketing prison population is that it simply provides an ever bigger training ground for future crooks and drug lords. Makes sense to me. Now, apparently, we’re exporting one of our least successful domestic policies to Iraq:

Iraqi officials also struggle with a crowded system where prisoners can languish as long as two years before getting a trial. But they say the Americans have allowed militants to flourish in their facilities.

“It looks like a terrorist academy now,” said Saad Sultan, the Iraqi Human Rights Ministry’s liaison to U.S. and Iraqi prisons. “There’s a huge number of these students. They study how they can kill in their camps. And we protect them, feed them, give them medical care.

“The Americans have no solution to this problem,” he said. “This has been going on for a year or two, we have been telling them.”

This is a good example of why I don’t think a continued American presence can do any further good in Iraq. (The resurgence of Moqtada al-Sadr is another.) Sure, it’s just one data point, but it’s emblematic of the problem we’ve been fighting the entire time, namely that an American-style military occupation simply can’t address the kinds of problems tearing Iraq apart. It can, however, make those problems worse. And the longer we stay, the higher the odds that worse is exactly what they’ll get.