SECURITY IN IRAQ….A single story provides only a snapshot. But Anthony Shadid and Steve Fainaru provide a pretty discouraging snapshot today about the likelihood that Iraqi forces will ever be able to take over responsibility for internal security from American troops.

There are three perspectives at work here. First, here’s the brass:

Maj. Gen. Joseph J. Taluto, commander of the 42nd Infantry Division…called the Iraqi forces “improved and improving.”….”I can tell you, making assessments, I think we’re on target,” he said in an interview.

Here’s a junior officer who’s actually responsible for training an Iraqi unit:

“I know the party line. You know, the Department of Defense, the U.S. Army, five-star generals, four-star generals, President Bush, Donald Rumsfeld: The Iraqis will be ready in whatever time period,” said 1st Lt. Kenrick Cato….”But from the ground, I can say with certainty they won’t be ready before I leave. And I know I’ll be back in Iraq, probably in three or four years. And I don’t think they’ll be ready then.”

And here’s an Iraqi himself:

“We don’t want to take responsibility; we don’t want it,” said Amar Mana, 27, an Iraqi private whose forehead was grazed by a bullet during an insurgent attack in November. “Here, no way. The way the situation is, we wouldn’t be ready to take responsibility for a thousand years.”

Read the whole thing. It’s not a pretty picture.