I distinctly remember a public service announcement that used to run all the time when I was in high school about avoiding drugs. An angry father woul
April 30, 2007

I distinctly remember a public service announcement that used to run all the time when I was in high school about avoiding drugs. An angry father would confront his drug-abusing son, asking where he learned to do drugs. “From you!” the son says. “I learned it from watching you.”

I thought about that TV spot when reading this story about the Maliki government purging senior military leaders.

A department of the Iraqi prime minister’s office is playing a leading role in the arrest and removal of senior Iraqi army and national police officers, some of whom had apparently worked too aggressively to combat violent Shiite militias, according to U.S. military officials in Baghdad.

Since March 1, at least 16 army and national police commanders have been fired, detained or pressured to resign; at least nine of them are Sunnis, according to U.S. military documents shown to The Washington Post.

Although some of the officers appear to have been fired for legitimate reasons, such as poor performance or corruption, several were considered to be among the better Iraqi officers in the field. The dismissals have angered U.S. and Iraqi leaders who say the Shiite-led government is sabotaging the military to achieve sectarian goals.

“Their only crimes or offenses were they were successful” against the Mahdi Army, a powerful Shiite militia, said Brig. Gen. Dana J.H. Pittard, commanding general of the Iraq Assistance Group, which works with Iraqi security forces. “I’m tired of seeing good Iraqi officers having to look over their shoulders when they’re trying to do the right thing.”

Apparently, Maliki has a senior military advisor who believes it’s more important to maintain ideological consistency in the administration than keep qualified, well-trained, successful public servants in positions of influence.

I wonder where they got this idea.

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